This section tells you all you need to know about renting from your perspective.
It’s important to understand the legal aspects of being a tenant. When you become a tenant, you take on certain responsibilities in exchange for certain rights.
TIP for a trouble-free time as a tenant:
- Never enter in to a tenancy unless there is a written tenancy agreement
- Get the phone numbers and email of whoever will be looking after the property so you can contact them if something goes wrong
- Keep a date record and a copy of all correspondence, including phone calls, and keep a copy of the agreement and inventory
- Check the tenancy agreement for any unfair terms, e.g. a clause that allowed the landlord to come in at any time without giving notice would be unfair
- If repairs need doing, be flexible and allow workmen to come in to the property.
- Don’t sign up for a long, fixed-term tenancy agreement unless you really are sure you will stay that long – because if you leave early you’ll probably have to pay until the end of the term
- If you have a problem, talk to the landlord or agent – most will be pleased to help and keep good tenants
- Where you are ‘jointly and severally liable’ with others for the rent, you can be pursued for the whole rent. So pick housemates you trust!
Your rights as a tenant
You have a right to quiet enjoyment of the property and your landlord must give at least 24 hours notice if they want access (except in an emergency). Most lettings agents inspect a property quarterly/six monthly to check everything is in order.
The landlord must also:
- Insure the property
- Look after and pay for the cost of repairs to the structure and exterior, as well as electrical, heating, hot water and sanitary installations unless you cause the damage.
- Return the deposit at the end of tenancy in full, or set out why deductions have been made from it.
- Ensure all soft furnishings comply with the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire) Safety Regulations 1988 and are fire safety compliant. Look for the fire safety label on all furnishings
- Ensure that gas appliances, fittings and flues are safe for your use and that installation, maintenance and annual safety checks are carried out by a Corgi registered gas installer. They must give you a certificate called a CP12 showing everything is safe
- Ensure that electrics are safe, with operating instructions and safety notices supplied, before a letting starts Certain shared houses (called Houses in Multiple Occupation or HMOs) have to be licensed under special rules which also require that the property meets certain extra fire and electrical safety standards. All places built after June 1992 and all HMOS must have mains wired smoke detectors on each floor and licensable HMOS must have a full electric inspection done every five years.
- Before you sign the tenancy agreements, you should:
* Make sure you have seen the gas safety certificate and instructions for all electrical items
* Be satisfied that all the furniture is safe
* Have keys for all exit doors
* Check the inventory carefully and note anything that has been missed or is incorrect.
Budgeting & Finance
Budget carefully – allow for council tax and the cost of all utilities, which you’ll normally have to pay for. You can find out the cost of council tax from your local authority. Information on all Council Tax Charges are available from the VOA website We can help you get quotes from insurers to cover your possessions. Once you think you have found somewhere you like, things to ask the agent are:
- What bills (if any) are included in the rent?
- How much is the deposit and when is the rent reviewed?
- If you are on local housing allowance or a student, will they consider you?
- Will they accept guarantors?
- Will there be a fixed term in the tenancy and, if so, for how long? Is the tenancy extendable after the fixed term has ended?
What if my circumstances change?
- Talk to us.
- Advise of changes in your contact details ~ mobile, email and or landline.
- We can help you and provide you with necessary information and keep the landlord informed.
- Landlords understand problems happen, the worst thing you can do is ignore communication.
What to look for when viewing
- Checking how well the property has been maintained – look at gutters, windows, roofs
- Noting how much storage space there is
- Checking to see how the place is heated and how well insulated it looks – this will affect your bills
- Asking to see the gas safety certificate and operating instructions for electrical items. Are there enough sockets for your needs?
- Finding out which furnishings will be in the property when you move in. Does it meet the fire safety regulations?
- Running the taps, bath and shower, and flushing the toilet. Do they all work? Ask to be shown that the heating and hot water works – and that windows open
- Asking yourself how secure it feels? Is there access from rear gardens and alleys? What are the locks like – many insurers require five lever mortise locks on all entry doors and window locks
- For flats, asking if you have your own secure post box. How clean are common areas – how often are they cleaned and by whom? How are any common grounds maintained? If there is a vehicle space, what’s parked in it now – if there is a rust heap, ask when it will be cleared
- Finding out how close the transport links are – is it an easy commute to work or university and how close are other amenities, shops, etc?
- If the landlord will be looking after the management, asking if you can meet him.
- Other things you may need to consider:
* What the schools are like – essential if you have kids
* Do they allow pets?
* Is smoking permitted in the property?
* When is it available from – and for how long?
What legal paperwork should I receive
A tenant must be given the following;
Before viewing on the advert
- Current How to rent guide
- Gas safe certificate
BEST Practice on move in
- PAT Testing certificate where necessary
- Legionella cert
- Alarm condition report
- ASBO procedure
- Waste & Recycling Procedure
- Complaints procedure
- Nottingham City Selective Licensing – proof of licence –
- Ashgate Counicil Selective Licensing. / Gedling Borough Council
READ your tenancy agreement lists your responsibilities so read it carefully.
As a minimum, it will show:.
- The names of the landlord and tenant
- How much the rent and deposit is
- The address for the landlord or agent who will be looking after the property.
The main things you must do are as follows:
- Pay rent on time – one month in advance
- Pay other bills. In most long-term lets, you’ll be paying council tax, utilities (including water), TV licence and telephone charges
- Respect neighbours – so no making noise, putting rubbish in the wrong place or obstructing common areas
- Look after the property.
Our job for some landlords is to market the property, arrange signing of agreements and payment of the first month’s rent and deposit. After that, you may find you are dealing directly with a landlord who will look after the management.
You are not expected to maintain the building. But you should behave in such a way that the building is properly cared for.
For example, you must:
- Tell your landlord if you are going away for longer than 14 days – because this will affect his/her insurance policy
- Keep the property secure at all times – so lock it when you go out and don’t give keys to anyone else
- Tell your landlord when things need fixing to avoid bigger problems later – e.g. a leaking pipe, if not maintained, could make a ceiling collapse
- Do basic maintenance – e.g. change light bulbs and smoke alarm batteries.
- Decorate yearly if stipulated by the tenancy agreement.
You must not engage in any illegal activity at the property and nor can you:
- Alter the property in any way, including hanging anything on the walls or re-decorating without written permission from your agent/landlord (email permitted)
- Use the property as a business
Assured Shorthold tenancy
Most new tenancies today are Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) which is similar to Short Assured Tenancies in Scotland. These usually include a ‘fixed term’ of 6 or 12 months. Where there is no fixed term, the tenancy is called a ‘periodic tenancy’. If annual rent is more than £25,000, the tenancy is in a company’s name or the landlord lives in the property, a different form of agreement will be used. Under an AST, as long as the terms of the tenancy have not been breached, the landlord cannot regain possession until after six months (or longer if the fixed term is longer) – unless you agree he or she can. However, after the fixed term has ended (or six months if there was no fixed term), he or she can regain possession by giving you two months notice in writing. You can leave this rolling or apply for another fixed term.
If you want, you and the landlord can agree to extend the tenancy so it becomes what’s called a periodic tenancy, without needing to issue a new agreement. This can also occur by both landlord and tenant not making any arrangements at the end of the term of tenancy, resulting in the term automatically lapsing in to a periodic tenancy. On a periodic tenancy, if your landlord wanted the property back, he or she would still need to give you two months’ notice. Or if you wanted to leave, you would need to give notice – which would be a month’s notice if the rent was paid monthly or four weeks if paid weekly. If you rent a room from a live-in landlord, you have very few rights and your stay can be ended without the landlord having to give two months’ notice.
Some landlords insist a tenancy remains on an AST the agency reserves the right to renew the tenancy at any time in respect of the landlords wishes, at any period. The charge for the tenant on these occasions is £50 . Minimum tenancy AST 6 months. Some landlord will allow longer tenancies but initially all tenancy are subject to a 6 month AST.
Deposits and inventories
The deposit will be 5 weeks.
The pay agent can keep some or all of it if you cause damage to the property (beyond fair wear and tear)
If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in England and Wales, which started on or after 6th April 2007 where a deposit was taken, that deposit must be protected in one of the government approved Tenancy Deposit Schemes (TDS). The deposit is administered by the scheme throughout the tenancy and will be returned in full shortly after the end of the tenancy, providing the property is returned in the same condition as you found it at the start of the tenancy. Usually, no interest is paid on the deposit.
- Return the property and everything in it in the same condition at the end of the tenancy. Although charging for professional cleaning at the end is banned. Charging for cleaning by a professional to being back to the standard of check-in is allowed. However it is not stipulated to be professional it must be as clean or charges will be deducted fairly from the deposit.
- You may be required, as a condition of the agreement, to have carpets professionally steam cleaned
- At the end of the tenancy, you’ll have to repair any damage you’ve caused and replace items that cannot be made good or you can expect to be charged for them.
- If the landlord removes anything from the property during the tenancy, get them to sign for it.
Moving out day & deposit refund
Before you move out, there are lots of things to do! To make sure you get your deposit back.
Here’s a quick checklist:
- Allow lots of time to clear everything out
- Get large, bulky items disposed of – some councils need up to a month’s notice
- Put furniture back in its original place.
- Thoroughly clean the property back to its condition when you moved in E.g. windows / skirting boards / blinds / soft furnishings / defrost the freezer / clean the cooker / redecorate back to original colours unless the landlord has given you permission to leave it.
- Tidy gardens, remove garden waste.
- Repair damage you’ve caused or replace items that cannot be made good
- Be careful not to cause damage when removing your property
- Clean the flooring. keep receipt of any carpet cleaner rental. we can tell if a carpet has been hoovered and or wet cleaned as per your contract. You can equally hire a professional it’s your choice.
- Be there when the check out / inventory is being done if you can. Itemise everything and its state and condition. Take photos where possible. Sign and date the inventory and send it to the landlord or agent.
- Keep receipts for cleaning and any items that you have had replaced
- If you have marked the walls the best thing to do is paint the whole wall. Patch painting is classed as damage and the whole wall will be charged to repair at approx. £50 per wall.
- If you have sued screws and marked the wall, you must fill, sand and repair the whole wall. patch painting is not considered acceptable.
- Unblock the sinks and drains. Don’t forget to do the washing machine drawer and filters these are your responsibility too. Unblocking drains is expensive if charged.
- If the deposit is not returned or if you feel deductions are unfair, contact the administrator of your tenancy deposit scheme.
Our biggest issues that tenant argue about:
- Its cleaner than when I moved in. Often on checking photos frankly it isn’t. Plus everyone has different standards of cleaning it why an inventory is used.
- Not had time to clean the cooker. It wont clean. Yet it will there are many products on the market that cheaply and easily clean shelves / racks and the base.
- Staining to grout – its your job to keep it clean, all tenants are given a sheet on mould and condensation help. Please read it. Do not get caught out not maintaining the property to have it deducted form your deposit.