Top tips from solicitor for a Tenants when renting a property from a Landlord

November 13, 2012 by  
Filed under Moving House, Renting

Top tips from solicitor for a Tenants

According to solicitor there are many points a tenant should consider before taking a tenancy some of which are listed below:

solicitor

What length tenancy is being offered is the first question you should ask according to solicitor? 6 months/1 year and what are the renewal options at the end of the fixed term?   If the landlord has an agent it may be that if the tenancy is renewed the agent will require a new tenancy to be signed up and will require payment of an admin/renewal fee from the tenant.

Also if the landlord has an agent there are likely to be regular inspections by the agent –solicitor said you should enquire as to how often these are to be and at what times they can be – will they fit in around you or are they office hours only? It is advisable to be present during an inspection as any problems can be highlighted at the time.

How much money is required at the start of the tenancy and also ask for it in writing we are told by solicitor – one month’s rent and deposit? Deposit can be up to 2 months rent. Administration fees? Credit Referencing fees?

Is the landlord requiring a deposit?

If a deposit is required enquire as to which of the Government protection Schemes the landlord is a member of and where your deposit will be held for more advice ask a solicitor.

Once you pay your deposit the landlord must provide you, within 14 days of receipt, full written details of where the deposit is held, the relevant reference numbers, the name, address and contact details for the Scheme.

Once the deposit is protected you should receive written confirmation from the Scheme provider confirming the landlord has protected the deposit and giving you a Tenant Repayment ID number.

If you do not receive this it may be the landlord has not protected the deposit and enquiries should be made either with the landlord, the landlord’s agent (if applicable) or if you were told which scheme was going to be joined you can telephone the Scheme and make enquiries.

Ask the landlord to provide you with an Energy Performance Certificate [EPC] for the property – this will assist you in deciding how energy efficient the property is and will give you some idea as to what your heating, gas, water bills etc might be.

This is a legal requirement as of 1st October 2008 and as a tenant you must be provided with a copy.

Check that the landlord has had the gas checked each year by a Corgi registered engineer and ask for a copy of the current certificate.  This again is a legal requirement.

Does the property have carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and are these checked and maintained regularly?

Check what sort of heating the property has i.e. electric storage heaters or gas central heating.

Ask whether the electrics have been checked regularly? Although this is not a legal requirement for landlords at the current time as with gas certificates, they do have a statutory duty to ensure all electrical appliances meet the current safety standards.

Check what council tax band the property is so that you can check what your council tax might be.

When viewing the property carefully view each room and look for damp or damage to the property or carpets/curtains or fixtures etc.

If you do decide to take the tenancy ensure that any problems are highlighted to the landlord/landlord’s agent so that you are not held responsible for it at the end of your tenancy.

Who are the neighbours? Are they tenants or home owners?  If tenants are they students and if so how many?

Does the landlord know the landlord of the next door property?

If they are professional sharers what age are they and how many reside there – these questions should be asked so you can try and ascertain the type of person your neighbours will be – this should be considered in light of the ever increasing problems tenants can have with noisy or abusive neighbours.

If you do move into the property and find out there are problems with the neighbours your landlord is not obligated to let you out of the tenancy early nor are they obligated to sort out the problems for you.

Your options are to contact the Environmental Health Dept of the local Council and report the problems to them. Also keep a diary of disturbances, this will assist the Council if they are to take anti social behaviour action against the neighbours.

If the property is more than 3 storeys and there are 5 or more tenants who are not related (i.e. a group of students or friends) then check that the landlord has obtained a licence from the council for a “house in multiple occupation” this is a legal requirement following the Housing Act 2004 we are told by solicitor.

Once a decision is made and a tenancy agreement is produced tenants should request a copy of the tenancy agreement in advance so that they can carefully check through the contents.  Many tenants do not check the terms they are signing up to and realise too late sometimes that provisions are included that may not have been clear before.

A tenant is also entitled to seek legal advice from a solicitor before signing up to a tenancy agreement.  Once an agreement is signed it is a binding contract and the usual consumer rights about ending the contract do not apply if would like to know any more information about this then we recommend asking a solicitor.

Therefore it is essential that a tenant is sure of what is contained in the agreement before signing it.

 

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