Renting tips: Crucial things to keep in mind when renting a place
Finding a place to live in is not an easy thing. Most people choose to rent, and sometimes they have to share the apartment with someone else. We’re here to give you some tips and tricks on how to live a happy tenant life. Check out Edinburgh flats for rent if you’re looking for a place to live in Scotland.
Question the fees
We’ve all heard horror stories about tenants that had to deal with incompetent agents that made them pay for additional “services”: always make sure you know all the agent’s fees. Sometimes you might get charged for phone calls, handing over the keys or providing an inventory. Also, you should look for tenancy renewal fees and late payment fees.
You will be asked to give a deposit, which is usually a month’s rent, or even more. You don’t have to pay a fee to register with an agency, and you certainly don’t need to pay a list of properties.
The small print is important
You’re signing a tenancy agreement and you need to make sure you know what kind. If all the people sign one agreement, that’s a joint tenancy. If every one of you signs a different one, then you deal with separate tenancies.
Make sure that the agreement comes with all the relevant info, like rent covers – perhaps it includes bills – or if you can leave before the end of the tenancy, and the sum of money you have to give. Also, read the rules that include pets, guests and even smoking.
If you’re in a joint tenancy, all of you should have the same rights. If one of you doesn’t pay rent, then you’ll probably end up having to pay for him and for other costs, too. Also, if one of you damages the property, your landlord may be entitled to keep the deposit – even if it’s not you who did it.
Is your deposit protected?
It was 2007 when private landlords in England started to use government-approved tenancy deposit protection to take care of the money of the people.
Your landlord should protect your deposit in the first 30 days of your tenancy, and they should also give you details about how they’re using it. If they don’t, you may be able to claim back up to three times the value of your rent.
Help from your family
Some landlords may ask a student to give them a “guarantor”, who’s usually one of the parents, who will cover all the costs if you cannot pay the rent or if you trash the place. You need to make sure that your parents know if they have to deal with a joint tenancy, or a single agreement. They need to know that, in some cases, they will have to cover others’ share, too, because, as said above, the landlord has every right to ask for money if someone else trashed the place or if someone did not pay rent.
The inventory should be accurate
The inventory is simply a list of everything that comes with the property, such as carpets, furniture, cutlery, curtains and anything else you’d find in a house. It should also write the condition in which every good is. For example, there’s an old stain on the carpet – that should be written there.
Ask for an inventory – always. If you don’t get one, it might be best to do yourself one and get it signed by an independent witness. Then, send a copy to the landlord.
Don’t forget about the bills
Besides rent, you’ll have to also pay the utility bills, tv cable and internet. However, if you’re a full-time student, you’ll be exempt from paying council tax.
Be careful at those weird utility bills. A study has shown that some landlords make a contract that prevents tenants from switching their energy supplier, for example, to get a cheaper deal. In a contract, it’s said that you will have to ask a landlord before you switch your energy supplier, but he cannot refuse permission to actually switch.
Safety and insurance
If you want to rent a big place with other people, you need to make sure that the landlord has a “house in multiple occupation” (HMO) licence. By having this, they have extra legal responsibilities to cover things such a fire safety.
Also, you need to make sure that all the gas appliances have been checked by a certified engineer. Landlords have the duty to have all the gas appliances – from the entire property – checked every year. Also, there should be at least one smoke alarm and one carbon monoxide detector. If you don’t have them installed in the house, ask for them.
If you have problems with your housemates
If the situation is that bad, can you force someone to leave? If you have a joint tenant contract, you cannot do that. If you share a flat with someone, you all have the responsibility to pay the rent. If one doesn’t pay, as said before, you have to cover their part of the rent, too. Then you’ll have to try to get it back from them.
Same happens with the electricity and gas bills. If your name is on them, and others don’t pay you, you’ll have to cover their share.
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