In the UK, the cost of owning a house outstrips the wage of an individual, making renting the best option as it is more flexible than owning property. There are currently approximately five million tenants in the UK. Renting is deemed a contractual agreement; thus, being a tenant in the UK requires you to be fully aware of your rights. Knowing your rights allows easement during the renting process and protecting your relationship with your landlord. There are various types of properties a tenant may rent. They include apartments, maisonettes, duplexes, studio flats, converted flats, detached houses, semi-detached houses, cottages, bungalows, mansions, and terraced houses.
1. Ways to rent a property.
There are two ways to rent in the UK. The first one may directly rent from a landlord. If tenants choose this option, they should look for landlords who belong to an accreditation scheme. Having such a landlord assures a tenant that the landlord has all the necessary training and support in fulfilling their legal and ethical requirements. Such accreditation schemes include the Guild of Residential Landlords and the National Landlords Association. When landlords belong to an accreditation scheme, a tenant is sure that the landlord is licensed. Landlords are mostly responsible for the property’s upkeep as they ensure the property maintenance to a specific standard. Most landlords are responsible for repairs for walls, windows doors, plumbing, gas appliances, and wiring. Moreover, ensure that the landlord has the necessary documents in his name, such as a Gas Safety Certificate, Energy Performance Certificate, and Deposit Protection Scheme Paperwork.
The second option is involving a letting agent. When engaging a letting agent, one should ensure that he/she is a member of a redress scheme. You can verify an agent is a member of various redress schemes, such as the National Association of Estate Agents Association of Letting Agents, Association of Letting Agents, or National Approved Letting Scheme. This consideration is of great assistance, especially when there is an unresolved dispute, for they have acquired the necessary training to keep up with upcoming complex legislation. Agents also provide a sense of security as some schemes such as Client Money Protection backs them. Such backing ensures your money is secure. Such a protective measure is unavailable when you directly rent from a landlord, thus makes agents more reliable.
It is essential to consider a property’s location before renting it. The property’s location determines school districts, nearby facilities, security, accessibility, and the rent charge. Properties in more urban are more expensive. For example: In Greater London, the rent is approximately 1700GBP while in London the monthly rent for a similar house is around 1000 GBP
3. Give notice.
If you are looking to be a tenant in the UK, you are required by law to give a landlord a minimum of 24 hours’ notice before dropping by. This regulation is under the Housing Act 1988.
4. Apartment inspection.
After one drops a notice, one should engage in a full inspection of the apartment. An apartment inspection allows a tenant to ensure that things are fixed firmly and to one’s tastes and preferences. Additionally, having an efficient apartment inspection restrains a landlord from claiming that various things are off or dismantled, thus blaming the tenant. Therefore, an apartment inspection helps to point out a landlord’s responsibilities and faults.
There are various things a tenant should look out for during an apartment inspection. First, a tenant should inspect the walls. When doing so, one should look out for faults such as wall fissures, proof of water leaks, structural holes, and holes made from mounting. By pointing out these faults, a landlord is made aware of the pre-existing damages. Moreover, one should remember to inspect the paint job and ensure that it is professional with no drips or chips. One should also remember to be conscious of the ceilings.
Secondly, one should carefully inspect the electrical outlets. You should ensure that all the plugs in the apartment function accordingly. You should also look out for burns around the electrical outlets and cracks in the covers.
Thirdly, remember to inspect the cable hook-ups. You should ensure that all cables and fiber optics are safe to use and fixed in the right areas.
Some apartments have smoke detectors. It proves to beneficial when you test all the sensors to ascertain that they function accordingly. You should also verify that they are at the right points in the house, such as front doors, kitchens, and in the bedrooms.
You should not forget to inspect the windows and doors. One should ensure that they properly function by closing and opening them. Additionally, you should ensure that they lock completely and ensure they do not have leaks or drafts. Doing so assures you of the apartment’s safety.
5. Check your finances.
Rent in the UK are monthly and wavers, depending on the various areas. In areas such as Greater London, the rent is approximately 1700GBP.In a region such as London, the monthly rent for a similar house is about 1000 GBP. If you consider going for a furnished unit, expect a 20% raise for the same unit.
Therefore, before searching for a house, you should consider your amount of income. This assists in knowing the amount of rent you can afford. Hence, budgeting the income allows financial preparedness for units that you may like. You should also consider the payment methods and permitted payments of specific properties before engaging. Once a landlord approves you to be a viable tenant, you will be required to pay a security deposit and probably an advance in a month’s rent. As a tenant, you should be aware of the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. This scheme provides that a landlord should put a tenant’s deposit into a program within 30 days of getting it. In case a landlord does not put the deposit in a scheme, a tenant can head to the Small Claims Court, where the judge orders that either the deposit be sent back to the tenant or sent to a Tenancy Deposit Scheme with a penalty of three times the value of the deposit. There is an added benefit to a tenant when the deposit is in protection in a scheme. First, it assures you of the reimbursement of the full deposit when the tenancy period reaches completion, if you followed the terms of the tenancy agreement.
You should also keep in mind ongoing costs that are associated with various apartments. Such charges may include monthly rental payments, council tax payments, payments of utilities such as water, gas, and electricity, phone bills line rentals, and broadband. Moreover, if you want to ensure you save coin when you rent from a landlord has insured the building. The building insurance covers the house itself as it is the landlord who is the property owner.
6. Furnish and decorate in bits.
Getting an apartment is usually exciting. You suddenly have an urge to decorate the unit per your tastes. When you slowly paint and furnish, you can compose excellent decor for your home ass you avoid impulse buying. Having a well decorated and furnished home allows the blending of the rooms’ décor, which is more important than having unnecessary furniture and incohesive décor.
7. A landlord should ask before entering.
It is imperative to create a healthy tenant-landlord relationship. A landlord may pay visits to the property from time to time for purposes of repairing or inspection. However, a landlord should give ample notice to a tenant before visiting. Legislations provided state that landlords are required to provide a 24 hours’ notice and visit during a reasonable time of the day. Tenants’ rights violation occurs if the landlord visits without such notice and is considered a criminal offense of harassment.
8. A tenant should be aware of their rights.
On an occasion where the tenancy is a fixed-term tenancy agreement, a tenant has the right to live in the fixed term property. Being aware of your tenant rights comes in handy, most notably in an occasion eviction should arise. Usually, a landlord is required to provide you with adequate notice and in writing. After such an announcement, there are choices you can make. First, you may opt to comply with the eviction notice and evacuate the premises. You may also choose to fix the flaw the landlord has continuously complained about and follow up if the landlord will continue with the eviction even after the faults were corrected.
There are various tenant eviction notices you can receive. One may receive a “Pay Rent or Quit” notice. This notice is issued when the agreed number of days to pay rent exceeds. Here you get a grace period of about three to five days to pay rent or move out. Another eviction notice you may receive is a “Cure or Quit” warning when you have breached a term in the lease agreement. Here, a tenant will have a grace period to fix the problem, such as bad behaviors, smoking, pets, or late payment of rent. Failure to mend these problems, you must evacuate. Finally, one may receive an eviction notice called an “Unconditional Quit.” Here, a tenant is not offered any grace period to mend the problems at hand, nor is the landlord considerate at the moment. The notice is issued when a wanting situation, such as continuous late payments, ongoing breach of term agreements, and conduction of illegal activities, are repeated multiple times.
Therefore, as a tenant, it is crucial to be fully aware of such notices so that the landlord does not infringe on your rights through unlawful eviction. Other rights a tenant has included.
- The right to have your tenancy deposit protected.
- The right to live in the property without disturbance.
- The right to live in a secure property which is in a good state of repair.
- The right to have your deposit returned at the tenancy’s completion.
- The right to know your landlord’s identity.
9. A tenant should be aware of their duties.
To foster good relations between a tenant and a landlord, or a letting agent, a tenant needs to carry out their duties and responsibilities.
There are various responsibilities a tenant has:
a. Preserving the rental property.
A tenant has the responsibility of maintaining the property. The tenant can do so by:
- Discarding the trash in proper ways.
- Preventing rust of the house structures.
- Maintaining fixed appliances.
- Using fixtures and fittings properly
- Keeping the home reasonably clean
- Conducting minor repairs such as light bulb changes.
b. Grant access for repairs and inspections.
In a tenancy agreement, there is an implied condition that a tenant must give access to repair. The requirement applies in circumstances where the contract is oral or written. Before granting access for the needed repairs, remember that the landlord must give you at least a 24 hour written notice and visit during a reasonable time of the day. However, landlords disregard such notices during emergencies.
c. Provide trustworthy and reliable information about yourself.
On most occasions, private landlords call for tenants to avail references from their previous landlords. A tenant should practice the concept of uberrima fides. Providing such information allows proper conduction of the tenant’s background check, fostering good relations between the tenant and landlord.
d. Acquire a renter’s insurance.
A landlord’s building insurance is inadequate to cover all losses that take place at the property. Having a tenant’s insurance safeguards your belongings while renting. It protects your belongings against theft and losses accrued from fire, flood, water leaks, burst pipes, and storms. There are renter insurance policies that pay for a place to stay for their insured during repairs after damages.
Renting is both exciting and a challenge for both first time and experienced tenants. For most renters, being a renter is deemed not only a responsibility but also a right of passage. Therefore, it is crucial to be aware of various issues that promote a safe and healthy environment to live in and ensure a healthy landlord-tenant relationship. For tenants to have a quiet time during scouting for apartments and living in them, the above-discussed facts need to be on their fingertips.