Getting your tenancy agreement right

We’ve all heard horror stories of tenants running into huge problems with their landlords; whether they invade your privacy or simply try to squeeze hundreds or even thousands of pounds out of you for “repairs” “fixing the property” and other things you’re 100% sure had nothing to do with you or your rental. Before you look into renting a property you really want to take steps to ensure you understand your tenancy agreement and that your tenancy agreement is completely legitimate!

Before you sign anything you should take the time to READ EVERYTHING. I mean literally sit there and read the entire contract before you sign anything or hand out any money. If you don’t understand anything then you’ll need to find out exactly what it means; you can ask the estate agents, friends or look the information up online. Your tenancy agreement should have clear guidance on;

-          Your responsibilities as a tenant

-          Your landlord’s responsibilities

-          The contract length and conditions for terminating the tenancy

-          Any conditions of the tenancy that may affect you

-          Landlord’s access to the property and notice

Once you are satisfied with all of these details you can get ready to sign a contract and hand over your deposit.

When you are looking at property for rent you will also need to make sure you have taken a complete inventory and that you have a clear grasp of your rights. Generally there should be a check in inspection when you are renting; when the landlord and you can get together to inspect the initial condition of the property before your occupation. When you check in you should be given an inventory of anything that is already within the property; this includes furniture but also smaller items like plates, cutlery etc. When you go through the inventory make sure that everything is accounted for and that any marks and damage to anything already there is already noted. It’s a good idea to take pictures of the property yourself and anything that might be of concern; this way when it comes to check out you can have proof of everything that you can be charged for and, most importantly, not be charged for! If you want to be additionally careful print your photos and send them to yourself via the post so they have a watermarked date! Make sure you understand what condition you are expected to leave the property in as some, less scrupulous, landlords will require you to shampoo carpets and other little clauses that they can charge you for!

Once all this tenancy stuff is out the way you are absolutely fine to move in. However, we’d also recommend that you check that the landlord or agent has registered your deposit within 30 days of receiving it. This ensures that your deposit is registered! This means that it is recognised as a deposit beyond just your receipt for the deposit! If you’re trying to understand your tenancy agreement these steps will help you avoid any problems when you vacate the property and ensure you don’t encounter any nasty shocks!