Property Rental Guide
Renting a property has never been more popular, as more people find it harder to get on the property ladder, need to be more mobile to take up work opportunities, or simply don’t want to tie themselves down to one location. Whatever their reasons for renting, understanding the basics of what’s involved will help potential tenants know what to expect, and what costs they need to cover.
The first step towards renting a property is understanding the finances and figuring out your own budget. There are various costs involved in taking out a tenancy, especially if your landlord uses an agency service. These may include pre-tenancy admin fees such as:
· Your tenant reference and admin application fee. This covers the costs incurred in checking credit histories, employment records and bank statements, and drawing up the tenancy agreement.
· A guarantor fee, which may be required if you need a guarantor. People who may need to provide a guarantor may include people who’re renting for the first time, for instance moving out of the parental home.
· Deposits and security bonds are also likely upfront expenses, and could be as much as a month’s rent in advance or more.
· If you’re taking a pet, there could be additional insurance costs to cover the added risk of damage to the property.
Once you’re living in the property, there may be occasional admin fees on top of the monthly rental amount. Things that may have charges attached include:
· Amendment fees if you want to make changes to your original rental agreement.
· Renewal fees should you wish to extend for a further fixed term.
· You may also be asked to pay a check out fee when leaving, to cover the cost of property inspection.
As you’re investigating potential rental properties, ask the agents or landlords about these additional costs so there are no unhappy surprises later on.
DIY and Decoration
Most landlords won’t let you alter the decor or undertake DIY jobs without their express permission, possibly in writing. This may seem unfair when you’re living in the property and it is your home but, seen from the landlord’s point of view, if your taste in decor is extreme or your DIY skills are a little lacking, the landlord could be left with expensive corrections to make when you leave. Always discuss your plans with the landlord or agent before undertaking decoration work.
Both the landlord and the tenant have a responsibility towards maintaining the property. For the tenant, this extends to taking reasonable care to look after the property and being responsible for any damage they cause directly. Make sure you know who to contact if anything goes wrong or a fault develops in any of the fittings or fixtures. Repairs are usually the landlord’s responsibility, but make sure you know who to contact. Never try to hide or ignore any damage. Most landlords are sympathetic to accidents and will work with their tenants as long as the tenants are honest and open about what happened.
Taking Your Pet
Some landlords will allow pets, but don’t assume it as a right. It is up to landlord discretion whether they allow pets or not. If pets are allowed, you may be asked to pay additional insurance or a higher security bond to cover any damage done by the pet.
Paying Your Rent
Some agencies make additional charges is you miss a payment or go into arrears. Occasionally a tenant may have trouble, such as if they become unemployed or fall ill and in these circumstances it’s important to let the landlord or agency know as soon as you can. It may be possible to come to a mutual arrangement so you don’t incur extra charges, and it might also be worth considering insurance against illness or unemployment.
A landlord will want to know their property is being looked after during the course of the tenancy agreement, and will arrange regular, routine inspection visits. These are nothing to fear since they can offer benefits to both landlord and tenant. As the tenant, it gives you the opportunity to discuss any concerns, and reassures the landlord that you are a good tenant.
Leaving the Property
With many properties let on a fixed term basis, leaving before the term is finished will still leave you liable for the rent up to the end of the contract. Once the fixed term contract has finished, many tenants stay in the property on a rolling contract basis which may run from month to month. Alternatively, if you and the landlord agree, you may draw up a new tenancy agreement that would give you another fixed term contract. Some tenants like this as it gives them some security for a foreseeable period.
There’s more to renting a property than simply finding a place you like and deciding to take on the tenancy. We can help if you need some advice on how to go about renting and where to start.