As many prospective students are moving to their university cities this September, the National Landlords Association (NLA) have advised on becoming tenants for the first time.
Chairman of the NLA, Carolyn Uphill, says: “Entering the lettings market can be daunting, particularly for those renting for the first time.
“As a student landlord myself, I am aware of the common problems and pitfalls experiences by first time tenants.
Ten Points for First Time Tenants
“To ensure things go smoothly, it is essential that tenants are up-to-date with their rights and responsibilities.”1
To aid with the letting process, here are ten helpful tips to remember:
- When searching for accommodation, ensure that landlords are members of a certified organisation, such as the NLA. Looking at the online register can check memberships. If going through a letting agency, always use one that is part of the UK Association of Letting Agents, or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
- When you have found a suitable property, enquire about any extra fees, such as check in costs. Letting agents particularly use these, and you should be aware of any additional costs before signing the contract.
- Read over the Gas Safety certificate to ensure that it has been updates in the past year. This is a legal obligation.
- Study the property’s Energy Performance Certificate to indicate how much it may cost you in bills. This must be provided when the property is advertised.
- Think about the whole cost of living in the property, not just the rent. Bills should be low if the house is energy efficient. If not, you can ask the landlord to consider low cost improvements, which could save you money.
- Take your time over reading the contact, and understand each point before signing.
- Do not give the deposit until you have carefully looked at the inventory and ensured that it is accurate. If there are no photographs included, request these to be taken before you pay the deposit.
- When you give your deposit, always know which tenancy deposit protection scheme is being used by your landlord. Legally, landlords must protect deposits in a Government-approved scheme and send the prescribed information to the tenant.
- When living in the property, always report accidents, breakages, or damage to the landlord or letting agent as soon as possible.
- When you move out of a property, leave it in the same condition as it was when you moved in (apart from general wear and tear). Leave the property clean and remove any rubbish.