During the last 12 years we have rented a few properties through letting agents, all new builds, and all have been a dream, until something goes wrong. Thankfully nothing major has ever gone wrong for us, although the alarm was once sounding full volume for hours and hours whilst we waited for the company to turn up to fix it. We have always used well-established letting agents who vet landlords and act as a middleman.
Renting is such a ‘norm’ today, but it’s so important to make sure you’re with a reliable company. I hear so many horror stories about landlords not bothering with the upkeep of their properties and occupants being left in life threatening conditions. You really need to research your rights as a renter and source out trustworthy letting agencies who are very transparent.
We always went with well-known letting agents and landlords, and we have not had a bad experience.
As a tenant it is important to know your rights, you have the right to:
- live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
- have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends – and in some circumstances have it protected
- challenge excessively high charges
- know who your landlord is
- live in the property undisturbed
- see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
- have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years
But, also as a tenant you have responsibilities too:
- You must give your landlord access to the property to inspect it or carry out repairs. Your landlord has to give you at least 24 hours’ notice and visit at a reasonable time of day, unless it’s an emergency and they need immediate access.
- take good care of the property, for example turn off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather
- pay the agreed rent, even if repairs are needed or you’re in dispute with your landlord
- pay other charges as agreed with the landlord, for example Council Tax or utility bills
- repair or pay for any damage caused by you, your family or friends
- only sublet a property if the tenancy agreement or your landlord allows it
Your landlord has the right to take legal action to evict you if you don’t meet your responsibilities.
And don’t forget to get the right insurance that covers you as a tenant!
Leading landlord and tenant insurance providers HomeLet have released the fourth in their series of landlords advice eBooks and it includes some interesting facts and figures from a recent survey which asked tenants exactly how happy they were with their landlord or letting agent.
- Overall 86% of people were either very happy, quite happy or somewhat happy with their landlord or letting agent
- 75% of people surveyed claimed to be happy with the response to maintenance requests
- 43.6% of tenancy agreements do not allow pets
- 12.5% of people surveyed have had their deposit withheld with 39.1% of these down to cleaning and 19.3% down to re-decorating costs
So, whether you’re considering renting or currently renting, research your rights and your responsibilities, and get the cover you need.