Tips for New Tenants

Fancy a new start and looking to move into a new rental home? As a tenant you have certain rights and obligations that you may not be aware of so read on for our tips on what you need to know.

Finding the Right Location for Your New Rental Home

People say “location, location, location”, and we agree. Where you put down your roots is so important, so have you decided exactly where you want to live? How far away do you want to be from your work or where you study? What sort of things do you like to do at the weekend and will you be able to do these near where you are thinking of living? Do you drive so therefore need somewhere safe to leave your car or do you need to be close to public transport links so that you can get around easily? By asking yourself the location, location, location question over and over again, it will mean that you will be happier in your new home the next time you move.

Your Rental Budget

Once you have decided where you would like to live, you then need to consider carefully what you can afford. The rent for your dream home may seem achievable but have you considered all your other monthly expenses before deciding how much is left to spend on rent? Some landlords will include certain bills in their price, but others will expect you to pay utilities separately, so be aware of this pitfall. Drawing up a monthly expenditure budget will help you realise what is realistic and don’t forget to allow for putting aside a pot of savings for a rainy day, as you never know when you may need it.

What Sort of Rental Home Are You Looking For?

There is no point looking at flats and houses that will not allow pets if you have a small zoo to bring with you. Be realistic on how you live your life and make sure that your rented accommodation allows you to relax without worrying that the landlord may spot pet hairs on his next visit. There is the right accommodation out there for everyone, it just takes a bit of time to find it. So be patient in your search and remember that a letting agent can help you in the search.

Tenant Safety Considerations

Make sure your landlord is looking after his or her tenants and keeping the property you are considering renting in good repair. Landlords have specific duties to fulfil and keeping their tenants safe is one of them.

Fire Safety in Rental Accommodation

The smoke and carbon monoxide alarm regulations of 2015 say that your landlord must have installed a minimum of one smoke alarm on each storey of the property. While looking round, it is worth making sure that this has been done. Feel free to ask if any furniture that is left in the property meets the Furniture and Furnishings Fire Safety regulations too.

Gas, Electricity and Water Safety in Rental Accommodation

If there is gas in the property, your landlord will need to check this once a year with a Gas Safe engineer to be compliant and give you peace of mind while living there. Electrical appliances will also need to be checked before you move in so be prepared to give access to the property so these important tasks can be done to keep you safe.

Rental Accommodation Maintenance and Repairs

The Landlord and Tenant Act 1985 states that a landlord must keep the property in good repair, make sure it is structurally sound, take action to prevent damp, allow natural light into the property, and install adequate ventilation along with other requirements such as making sure it is energy efficient. It is worth knowing what you are entitled to as a tenant to ensure you are living in a safe and comfortable home. Our letting team at Residential Estates are fully up to speed with what good quality rental accommodation should be like so if you want to discuss any concerns, you always have somewhere to turn to if you let your home through us. If you rent a property directly with a landlord, you do not always have that peace of mind.

Maintaining the Property – Being a Good Tenant

Your landlord has responsibilities to you, but you also have responsibilities to your landlord. In a nut shell, you need to treat the property with respect and leave it in the same state that you found it when you moved in, including only “reasonable wear and tear”. We know accidents happen in homes, but it is down to you to inform your landlord if there has been any damage so that you can agree how to fix it. By being honest if a problem has occurred, you are more likely to get a good response from your landlord who will be as keen to get things repaired as you will be.

Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement

It is likely that you will need to sign an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement when you agree to rent a property and the main thing you need to do is read it before you sign! Make sure you are happy with the agreement as this will detail the do’s and don’ts about living in your new home. Don’t skip corners by just glancing through this document and if you need help understanding anything on it, just ask. If you rent through Residential Estates, we will be more than happy to talk you through anything that does not make sense. The AST is a legally binding document so half an hour or so going through it in details will be well spent.

Your Tenant Rights

When you have chosen your new home and agreed a rental price, make sure your landlord puts your deposit in a tenancy deposit protection (TDP) scheme to cover you should there be a dispute about the deposit being given back to you at the end of your tenancy.

Within 30 days of receiving your deposit, your landlord must tell you certain facts too:

  • The address of the rented property
  • How much deposit you have paid and how the deposit is protected
  • His or her (or the letting agency’s) name and contact details
  • In what situation he or she would keep some or all of the deposit  
  • How to apply to get the deposit back at the end of your tenancy
  • What to do if you can’t get hold of the landlord at the end of the tenancy

Want to Rent Through an Expert?

Residential Estates has in-depth knowledge of the property market and some exceptionally well-equipped homes that are looking for good tenants. Why not take a look on our Lettings page to see if we may be able to match you to your perfect new rental home?

If you would like to speak with an expert member of our lettings team, we will be happy to assist you make your next move a great one. Please contact our lettings department by calling 01244 343 355 or using the form on the lettings page of our website.

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