35 Important tips for renting a house
If you are not ready to buy property, there is always an opportunity to rent it. But renting house is not so easy as it seems to be. At least there are some advices you should follow to become a happy tenant. It will help you to avoid rip-offs and pitfalls. It will be especially useful for you if you are moving to a new house for the first time. So look through these 30 tips to make your tenancy time of your life.
1. Bring your papers
The more prepared you are the more chances to win over landlord you have. If you want to get a competitive edge over other applicants, bring the following paperwork on the meeting:
• written references from the first landlords
• references from the previous employers
• current cope of the credit report
• completed application for renting
2. Get everything in writing
Get everything in written form to avoid misunderstandings with your landlord before renting home. Any correspondence should have its copies. Remember that making oral agreement is not enough. Follow it up with a letter, where you can set out your understandings. For instance, if you want to make some repairs, ask landlord about it, and after oral agreement, right the same letter of confirmation to him, and also make copy of the letter to you.
3. Talk to your landlord
Keep in touch with your landlord. If the communication is kept open, you can talk to your landlord if any problem appears. When you are renting a house, there is always probability of something to happen. Staying in touch with our landlord will help to solve the problems faster and easier. For example, if the landlord in very slow in repair, call him and make the process flowing faster.
4. Demand repairs
Do not give up the rights to live in habitable rental house. You should be offered livable premises. It means that you should be provided with the normal weatherproofing: electricity, water, gas and heat. The premises should be sanitary, safe and clean. Therefore your house for rent should be kept in good repair. Otherwise you can withhold the part of the rent or deduct the cost from it, or also call the building inspector and ask about the possibility of landlord making repairs. The other options is to move out without liability for the future rent.
5. Fight the fees
Sometimes landlords try to fool the tenants asking them for some exorbitant fees. If you are demanded to pay money for some non-existing suspicious services, do not agree to do this. It’s not legal for landlord to charge you with any extra fees. Credit checks, checking references, providing inventory, postage and phone calls – when you start renting a house, the landlord can ask you to pay for any of these services which are supposed to be free or already included to your monthly payment. Watch out for late payment and tenancy renewal fees. It’s also considered to be a criminal offence to be charged for list of properties or for registering.
6. Check the protection of your deposit
It’s very important to protect yourself and avoid misunderstandings. To assure yourself that everything is alright, look if the rental agreement or lease is clear to you. Also look through the refund of the security deposit. Do not forget about allowable deductions. Before moving in, make walk-through with the landlord and record to the checklist any damages.
Your landlord should protect your deposit within 30 days since your tenancy started. He should use one of the proposed schemes for it. Your landlord should also explain to you which of the schemes he is using.
7. Check the accuracy of inventory
Everything that is provided with the property is called inventory. It includes furniture, carpets, crockery, curtains and cutlery. The condition of all these things should be recorded. All wears and damages should be recorded as well. Make sure the landlord provided you with inventory. If he did not, ask him to do it. As far as the inventory is necessary and if you did not get it, write one by yourself and ask independent witness to sign it. After the inventory is signed, you can sent it to landlord.
8. Do not forget about the bills
Do not forget about some costs on the top of the rent, such as: TV license, utility bills and costs for the Internet access. Beware that sometimes landlords try to break the law in the following way: they prevent the tenants from switching the energy supplier and make the cheaper deal in this way. Sometimes the renting agreement can state that the tenant should ask before switching it on. But it cannot be refused at all. Be sure that the letting agents do not charge any fees for using firm’s services. It doubtful that you, as a tenant would be happy to know that someone’s is pocketing commission which is generated from your electricity, gas or phone bills.
9. Be safe, secured and insured
Sometimes people decide to rent a big house with several people. If so, whether landlord has license for “house in multiple occupation”. Those landlords who have these license, have some extra responsibilities, such as fire safety. If 5 or more unrelated people plan to rent home, landlord should register this “house in multiple occupation” with the council. He should do the same if the building is at least 3-storeys high. Remember to check the gas appliances. It should be checked by gas inspector every year and it’s landlord’s responsibility to have all gas appliances checked. Carbon monoxide detector and smoke alarm should be installed in apartment for renting.
10. Try to deal with housemate troubles
Sometimes problems with your housemates arise – things happen and you can never tell. Remember that if you all are tenants it means that your rights are equal and one cannot be forced to leave. Moreover, all of you have the responsibility for the rent. It means that is somebody did not pay their part of payment, other roommate should joint liability and then try to get it back from this person. In addition, if you have your name on the bills, it means, that you should pay for the electricity, gas etc. After this, you should pursue people to pay their parts.
11. Review the lease
Before signing a contract carefully read all the conditions of the tenancy. Your rental agreement or lease may include something that is unacceptable for you. Check if there are no restrictions on pets, guests or running home business.
12. Your rights for privacy
A lot of emotion-filled problems and misunderstandings arise over the privacy of the tenant. On one side, the landlord has right to enter rental house, on the other hand, the tenant has right to be left alone. The more you know about your privacy rights, the better you can protect yourself. Of course, if you are renting property, the landlord can come from time to time: to repair something or to inspect the condition of the house. But, it goes without saying, if the landlord want to make “an inspection” he should arrange time with you. Check tenancy agreement to know how much of notice should the landlord give to you. It’s usually stated in the contract. As far as you have the right for privacy, you can ask your landlord to stop entering without arranging time. But if the landlord keeps on doing it, you can consider these actions as a harassment. And, therefore, it’s a criminal offence. If you feel the threat, advise police or your solicitor.
13. Deal properly with an eviction
It’s very important to know when to move and when to fight an eviction. If your landlord is wrong and you feel that it’s right, you can fight the eviction notice. But you should have provable facts and law on your side. Remember that losing your eviction lawsuit can mean a lot of money in debt and, as a result, damage to your credit rating, and, finally, losing the ability to find the property for rent in the future. So, try to make the best decision and think over what is better: to fight the eviction or to move out.
14. Where to get the free furniture if you’re moving into unfurnished house
Moving into new apartment does not mean that you will get it furnished. If you do not want to sleep on the floor, you will probably look for some furniture. If your budget do not allow you to buy brand-new things, you can get it for free. And it’s not a joke. You can get the furniture of top quality if you use such tricky services as Freecycle. Some items are already unwanted to the prevoius owners and they decide to share it instead of selling on eBay and so on. It goes without saying, there are a lot of tear and wear things on these web-sites, but if you search precisely, you will find even high-quality furniture. Just keep your eyes peeled and you will not have to spend lots of money on tables, sofas and a lot of other stuff.
15. Be sure you can get your deposit back
Landlord is becoming very attentive and sharp-eyed when it comes to your moving out. So when you will make a checklist at the end of your stay, you have some chances to get your deposit back.
Be sure that all the inventory is alright, nothing’s missing or broken. The inventory should be checked very thoroughly. If you find any damages, replace the things or fix them. And do it very carefully, try to make the thing look like it was originally. Otherwise you risk to have your deposit docked.
Check your contract for several times. Read the conditions about inventory and how it should look like when you are moving out. Should the floor be deep clean, or you can leave it like it is? Should you remove the decorations, hooks etc or you can leave it there? Sort the stuff in order to your rental agreement.
Remove all the rubbish and make the spring cleaning if you feel that the home needs it.
Make the pictures of the cleaned property which will convince landlord that everything is left in perfect condition. Sometimes it could be stated in rental agreement that the property should be cleaned to professional standard. It does not always mean that you should hire people who can do this and pay money to them. You can do it yourself using some tips and tricks of those who already experienced tenancy.
16. Ask all the necessary questions before moving in
Before signing on the last page of your contract, ask the landlord about everything you are interested in. Written answers, of course, are better than the oral ones. There are some top questions every tenant should ask his landlord.
• What is the duration of the contract?
• Can the rent increase?
• Can you check the reports of gas, electricity and boiler installation?
• Does the tenancy include scheme for deposit protection?
• Who are the neighbors?
• What was the duration of previous tenants’ stay?
• Do they have any space for parking there?
• Are there any communal areas available?
• Is the house for rent furnished or you should bring your own one?
If the previous tenants are moving out when you are in the house, ask them all the questions. It’s a high probability their answers will be more honest.
17. Check for letting agency fees.
Always check for letting agency fees. Factor in all the extra charges and fees if you’re working with letting agent. These costs usually varies from one agency to the other, so searching information about their services is preferable for you. Private landlord or letting agent should clearly list its fees. Otherwise you have the right to complain about it. But, unfortunately, it will be difficult to bring your costs back, anyway, they will help to manage with problem ads. Even though there are no guarantees, but still you can try to negotiate a lower rate. Nothing can stop you from discussing it. But any of these fee reductions should be fixed in written way.
18. Get the permission before redecorating
Usually it’s written in your rental contract that you should give back the property in the same condition you got it. So it’s better for you to avoid any wear and tear, and if you have it, try to get rid of it. Anyway, there are some unavoidable things, like slight wearing of carpets. Put back everything you redecorated. The property is not yours – that’s the key point. For making permanent changes you should get the permission of the landlord, of course, the best thing to do is to put it in the rental agreement on the very beginning.
Or, if you did not write it in your contract from the outset, you can just ask your landlord if you allowed to make some actions. Always ask for written permission. The document will be the proof you can show while moving out. Nobody knows how long the landlord will remember what he said about coloring the walls and changing the floor when it will be time for you to leave.
19. Keep in touch with the landlord
Save the phone number of your landlord to call him in case of emergency. There can be a lot of cases when you need to get the help which can be given only by landlord. You can lock yourself out. In some cases you may regret not getting his contacts earlier.
20. Take the pictures of the property before choosing among different options
When you are choosing what property to rent and looking at different houses, take snaps of it to compare it after the search. Take our word for it, after a couple of apartments, all of them will blur into one. Here is the time when you will need to look through the pictures of the property again. But as far as it’s private property, do not post it in social media or in the Internet.
21. Water meter is important
Keep in mind that you can switch to water meter when you are renting a house. Switching to can help you to save a lot of money. Consider getting it if there are more bedrooms than people in a house. But let your landlord know it before you switch on the water meter. Consider that fact that in some countries it’s not free of charge to install water meter, so expect some extra money on it.
22. Money overhaul
Moving to a new place is a good time for money overhaul. Make sure you grab everything cheapest, because you will need a lot of money on signing up to very new service. So try to cut your bills if there is such a possibility. Google some tips for helping you to save money on the bills. Pages about cheapest home phone, haggling for TV costs and money makeover can help you a lot.
23. Removal costs comparing
If you are moving from your parent’s house and do nit rake a lot of stuff, you can be sure that they will support you – one car or friend’s help can be enough. But if you are taking a lot of furniture you can use the service of removal firm. There are even some “Remover associations” which help people to transport their things from one place to another. But look after your stuff very carefully, because sometimes these people do not have any insurance for the damages which can be caused while transition. It’s beneficial only when you need lower price and do not care to much about the service quality. Consider if you do not have overweight, because otherwise you will have to pay for excess. Sometimes small damages like scrapes can cost you a pretty penny.
24. Check the transportation and its cost
Transport is one of the major factors of your normal daily livelihoods. Scope out transport links and transportation expenses. Check how frequent the public transport is, how many buses, trams and stops are? How far is the nearest transport stop? Ask the landlord, which types of tickets exist and how to save money on transportation. If you want to test some routes, use journey planner, which can be easily downloaded on your mobile phone. There are also a lot of websites which can provide you with timetables for your route. Make these handy tools work for you.
25. Check out the neighborhood
If you think that the location does not matter, you’re completely wrong, because it’s one of the main factors of your comfort living. So before buying a house check out the neighborhood! Your little research can go a long way, especially when you plan to live in the property for rent for a while. Check how safe the area is. There are some crime maps, which can help you to check the safety of the district and the street. If there are any recorded crimes you will get the information on these websites. Anti-social behavior, burglary and robbery – things happen. Just be sure that it happened not on your street.
The information about the environment should be useful as well. Check the level of air pollution and how noisy the district and the street are. Rent a home for one day, if you are a total newcomer – it will help you to feel what you will experience for a while during your tenancy. The locals can show you those things which you will hardly get from your landlord.
26. Get in your perfect place as fast as possible
If you found your perfect place and want to make it your shelter as fast as possible, follow the next rules:
• Know your budget. Do a proper budget, using the Internet budget planners, or use the help of letting agents.
• Get good references. Trustworthy tenant is more likely to rent a property, so prepare some proofs of your decency. It should be the references from your previous landlords, chiefs and colleagues.
• You will never have the second chance to make the first impression. Yes, this saying is absolutely right. So try make a god first impression, otherwise after renting house to some other tenant the landlord will never give you this chance again.
• Be ready to act fast.
• Look through your contract.
• Your rent money and deposit should be always ready.
27. Consider your tenancy type
Remember that your right depend on the tenancy type you have got. So it’s obligatory to check this type before signing the contract. When you are renting with a private landlord, it’s probably that you will have the agreement of “assured short hold tenancy”. When you have this tenancy type, you will have your contract sign for half a year and your landlord can make some repairs. After the end of this tenancy the month-to-month tenancy starts. It can be very tricky finding your tenancy. Depending where you moved in, who you live with and how you pay for renting. There are some tenancy checkers available online, which can help you to define your tenancy type. After answering some questions about the place of living, the time of starting your rental period. The program will give you the type of your tenancy and the information about the rights provided. You can also find the information about your action after the end of fixed term tenancy.
28. Get all the important answers for your questions
Before moving into new property, you should clarify all the misunderstandings you have. Ask your landlord as much as you can to be sure you made the right decision and to avoid future problems. Ask about:
• the location of the fuse box and water stopcock
• the location of thermostat, electricity and gas meter
• the instructions for the electrical items
• the days for collecting recycling and rubbish
• the location of phone line sockets
• the provider of home phone and of the Internet
29. Be happy and satisfied with what you are signing
Always read carefully the contract you plan to sign. It should include the information about the amount of deposit and rent. You should know when it’s due, what it covers and what it does not cover. It can be bills for utility, council taxation etc. The rental agreement should contain the information about smoking and pets allowance and all the similar things. If you do not understand some points or disagree you can discuss it with your landlord. He can say that you cannot change it, but do not take these words for true. Before signing the contract you can change everything you’re not satisfied with.
30. Check rental opportunities on the go
If you want to find house for rent immediately, you can always do it using some instant services which shows the opportunities for renting in the nearby area. There are some Rightmove‘s free applications which help to find the rentals on the go. GPS technologies, used in these apps, help to find the list of all the pads for rent. You can see the prices and also the map which will help you to compare the values of the district and the prices of these houses.
31. Responsibility for the actions of your roommates
Be ready to take responsibility for the actions of the other tenants. In case it’s joint tenancy each of tenants can be responsible for the actions of the other one. That’s why it’s very important to carefully choose your roommates. You should trust them and these people should be honest, otherwise when somebody does not pay their part of rent, somebody will have to cover the expenses, because it’s joint tenancy. Not only you will have to pay for those who did not, but you are also responsible for their actions, as they are responsible for yours. So make sure nobody will set fire to the kitchen, you will have to pay for.
32. Lock the door to your room
Always remember to lock the door to your room, because the insurance will not help you in case of the theft. only if it was in a violent forced way. So lock the door when you are leaving when you do not want to come back to the empty room.
It’s a bit dangerous when there are no lockers in the shared apartment. Because your stuff can be stolen in non-violent way and you cannot prove after this it was a theft, not losing your properties on your own. In any case, get tenants’ home insurance.
33. Getting TV license
Sometimes people can wonder if every renter should have his own license for TV. It does not matter which property you are renting: the whole one, or the separate room – in both cases you will have to pay for the TV license to watch TV programs, broadcasted on TV. Always ask the landlord about it before coming in . You may do not know that the landlord already has the license and you will arrange it on your own. You will share the license with your co-tenants, or will have to owe your own one, if you are renting your separate apartment. In case of lodging you will use the same license as the homeowner does. But signing separate tenancy agreement while lodging means you need your own TV license.
34. Separate phone bill for each of the tenants
Living in a shared apartment can bring some problems for your budget, especially when it’s concerning the phone bills. Get an itemized bill for calls while sharing property. Because you can never tell when your co-tenant will decide to call his daddy’s old friend in Japan or Australia. Just request your itemized bill while contacting your provider. Ask your landlord about the provider, maybe you are not satisfied with the services of their company, so you can change it. But remember that changing provider means extra costs from your budget on buying and maintaining the wiring. If you do not want to pay the installation expenses, stay with the same provider.
35. Compare the benefits of buying house with the advantages of renting it
If you are not still sure if you want to rent property, think about the pros and cons of it and compare to the opportunity of buying it. There is always a question when and where to buy property. Owning can be a nice goal, so if you are a bit tired of tenancy and feel that you want to have something more permanent, you can consider buying home.
When everything is said and done, it’s up to you if you would love to rent a house or buy your own one. But, in any case, if you are not ready to move into your own apartment, these tips will help you not only to rent a house safely and cheaply, but also to choose the right home, to land a bargain and to get your deposit back.