Advice for tenants when renting a new property

July 2017

There was a recent article in London Economic which suggested, that according to the English Housing Survey, there are more people renting now than there have ever been. This number is only set to rise and with so many people in the letting market, it is essential that renters are well equipped to avoid common mistakes.

The article suggested the following tips for renters:

Meeting the landlord

86 per cent of tenants want to meet their landlord face-to-face before they move in, according to research from Mortgage Solutions, who the landlord is, matters more to tenants than the location of the property.

Forming a professional relationship with the landlord carries numerous benefits:

Renters can get answers that only the landlord would know by having the ability to address queries directly to them, rather than having to go through a letting agent.

This can help improve lines of communication between tenant and landlord. By creating an open conversation, it can result in an open negotiation on rent, deposits and other conditions, and can therefore lead to potentially lower tenancy fees compared to high-street agencies.

Know what you’re signing up for

It goes without saying that you should never sign a contract without reading it first. However, it is essential that you understand all the terms and responsibilities set out within the contract to avoid any nasty or costly surprises.

It can also be helpful to know what your landlord is responsible for, for example, should you have an infestation of mice or any other vermin, it is important to know whose job it is to resolve this. In accordance with common law, landlords have a contractual duty to ensure that the property is in a suitable state for it to be habitable, which will include ensuring there is no vermin infestation.

This applies not only to the state of the property, but also how it affects your health and safety as the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently extended its regulations for privately rented properties, stating: ‘Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) makes provision for relevant health and safety legislation to apply to landlords to ensure a duty of care is shown to their tenants’ with regard to their health and safety.’

It is key to know what you can legally and contractually expect from your landlord to keep both you and the property in top condition.

Sean White, Senior Partner of Courtyard Solicitors, said “Tenants should also ensure that there is evidence as to the condition of the property so that there are no arguments at the end of the tenancy as to whether damage has been caused by the tenant. Tenants should also ensure that the rent deposit is placed with the authorised holders.”

If you feel that you have grounds for complaint over issues raised in this article please have a read of Courtyard Solicitors advice for tenants http://courtyardsolicitors.co.uk/solicitors-who-specilise-in-landlord-disputes or simply call us or email us so we can try and help you.