Wednesday 30 November 2016

Tips for renting a house

Since I moved out of my childhood family home where I lived with my mum and sister at the age of 18, I have rented a number of properties. Over the 14 years or so (eeek where does the time go?) I have experienced renting a few different properties from very different landlords.

Thankfully I have never had a nightmare landlord and not had any major issues when renting but the experiences have been very different and over the years I have learnt a lot about renting. My experience with renting has helped me learn how best to rent smartly so that I am aware of my rights and responsibilities which help make renting easier for a hassle-free and happy home.

Whilst I have not had any horrific renting experiences personally I have known a few friends who have had terrible times renting and had nightmare landlords. One friend who was not savvy about renting with it being their first time renting a property on their own had a landlord who did not use Tenants Deposit Scheme and she had him refuse to pay any of her deposit back when she moved out in spite of there being no cause not to return it as she had left the property immaculate and is it was the day she moved in. Another friend had major problems getting his landlord to fix any issues or problems in the home even though the landlord was responsible for fixing them and keeping the house in a good state of repair as per their contract.

Whilst I have never had landlords who do not keep to either end of the contract and follow through with their rights as a landlord, my first landlord was a friend of the family and renting from him was very casual and not very professional. Even though thankfully we had no issues renting from him in hindsight I had not protected my rights very well with a contract, getting receipts for rent or ensuring my deposit was paid into a Tenants Deposit Scheme. Thankfully I know better now and our latest renting experience was very professional and all done correctly -  we have a contract, a thorough inventory was taken before we moved in, we have a record of our rental payments and our deposit was paid into a Tenants Deposit Scheme.

Knowing what I now know and having heard terrible experiences of renting from others I think it is a great thing that all landlords in Wales must register with Rent Smart Wales.

Here are a few things to remember when renting a property so that you can rent smartly and ensure you know your rights and responsibilities -

* Read your contract thoroughly so that you know exactly what your responsibilities are when renting the property and what you landlord is responsible for. If there is something not included that you think should be ask for the contract to be amended. Likewise if there is something you don’t understand don’t just sign before you fully understand it. After signing ensure you get a signed copy of the tenancy agreement.

* Ensure that a full and detailed inventory is taken before you move in. If you notice any issues or damage that is not included in the inventory make sure that it is included to cover yourself and prevent the landlord declaring you caused the damage or problem.

* Make sure that your landlord is part of the Tenants Deposit Scheme. You should get a receipt to show that your deposit is in a scheme so that it is protected.

* Double check safety of the property beforehand so that if there is any issues you can ask for them to be rectified before you move in. Safety check such such as whether appliances have had safety checks (PAT tested), are there smoke alarms and carbon monoxide, and checking gas safety record helps you ensure the property is safe and secure.

* Make sure you have contents insurance so that your belongings are covered. The landlord is not responsible for insuring your belongings, contents insurance is up to you.

For more useful information and advice about your rights as a tenant along with guidance for landlords and lots of information about insurance check out the infographic below created by HomeLet.

* Collaborative post * 

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