Renting for the first time? Here’s our top tips

Written by
Tahir Farooqui
CEO
Renters
September 16, 2019

Moving into your first rental property can be an exciting yet challenging experience. From making sure you choose the right home to knowing and understanding the legal process and your rights as a tenant, there’s certainly a lot to consider.

That’s why it’s important to have a reputable letting agent or landlord by your side to guide you through the renting process. Here at Canopy we present the key tips to first-time renters for before, during and after your tenancy.

Before your tenancy

You will need to be financially prepared before embarking on your renting journey. This means ensuring you can cover the cost for the rent and other permitted payments, such as the holding deposit and security deposit or deposit-free alternative.

It’s also important to consider how long you want the tenancy for. By establishing your criteria for your rental property, your search can be more productive.

When budgeting for your tenancy, make sure you take the following costs into account.

• Your monthly rental payments

• Your council tax payments (sometimes these may be included in the rent)

• Your utilities (gas, electricity and water). Sometimes these may be included in the rent

• Broadband and TV bills

Arranging your tenancy

The tenancy application process can be a long one, so ensure that you read your written tenancy agreement carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities and ensure you seek advice if you have any concerns before you sign.

There is also an inventory (or check-in report) that you and your landlord will need to agree on before the tenancy starts. As an extra safeguard, try to take photos of the property before you move in. This will make things easier if a dispute about the deposit crops up at the end of the tenancy.

Don’t forget to take meter readings when you move in to make sure that you don’t pay for the previous tenant’s bills.

Lastly, ensure that you have the correct details for the landlord or agent for safekeeping. Although, it’s your landlord’s obligation to give these to you.

As there are a number of documents that your landlord or agent must provide you, double-check with the list below to make sure you receive a copy of each.

• A copy of the government’s ‘How to rent’ guide.

• A gas safety certificate (provided each year or if there is a gas installation).

• Deposit paperwork (must be protected by the landlord in a government-approved scheme).

• The Energy Performance Certificate.

• A record of any electrical inspections (all appliances must be checked every five years).

During your tenancy

As a renter, your top responsibility is paying rent in full and on time and enjoying living in your new home. However, you will also need to treat your rental property like you would your own, ensuring you take care of any furniture and appliances provided.

Avoid attempting any repairs or decorating without contacting your landlord or agent first. If you notice any issues, contact your landlord to arrange a repair, as failure to do so can lead to outstanding repairs becoming major problems which can, in turn, affect your deposit and living conditions. If you are renting deposit-free, issues or damage you’ve caused over the course of the tenancy could result in additional charges for you to pay.

It’s also a good idea to get familiar with how the boiler and major appliances work, locating the stop cock, fuse box and meters in case of any emergencies.

Of course, your landlord has responsibilities too, such as insuring the building to cover any damage, maintaining appliances and furniture they have provided, carrying out repairs, arranging annual gas safety checks, and many more. All in all, fostering a good working relationship with your landlord is key to having a smooth-free renting experience.

After your tenancy

If you wish to end the tenancy, it’s absolutely crucial that you give the correct notice as stipulated by your tenancy agreement. On the other hand, if your landlord wants to end the tenancy, they are legally required to give you at least two months’ notice.

Regarding the return of deposit, try to be present when the property is inspected to check whether any of the tenancy deposit should be deducted to cover any damage or cleaning costs. If you disagree with the deductions, first try to come to an agreement and then contact the relevant deposit protection scheme if no solution can be reached.

If you are renting deposit-free, you won’t have any money returned to you. However, your landlord could still charge you for repairs or damage – charges which you can dispute in the same way as with a traditional deposit.

What’s more, ensure that your rent payments are up to date and that you haven’t left any bills unpaid, as this could have an impact on your future references and credit rating.

Lastly, you will need to give the rental property a thorough clean, take metre readings, return all the keys and give a forwarding address. The landlord is entitled to dispose of possessions left in the property after, typically, 14 days, so ensure that you remove all your possessions from the property.

Luckily, with Canopy’s smart technology to simplify the rental process, you can say goodbye to upfront cash deposits and welcome a more efficient way of renting.

Our RentPassport, for instance, provides instant referencing and information on as and when your references have been approved, while our RentTracking gives renters the ability to secure the best deals on credit.

For more information about our services, contact us on: 020 3966 3850 or email us at customerservice@canopy.rent.

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