How to Rent
As a tenant you have legal responsibilities to look after the property you are living in as well as paying your rent. You also have more and more legal rights which landlords and letting agents have to adhere to. Below are just some of the rights and we put this on our website in order to give you somewhere to check, not just the performance of our lettings team but also to allow tenants to check if their current agent or landlord is living up to their legal responsibilities!
Your deposit must be kept in one of the government approved schemes. We use the Deposit Protection Scheme Custodial Scheme, as we believe this is the safest and most transparent way of holding this. There are other schemes available which are insurance backed. These rely on the agent or the landlord paying the annual insurance premium and we would suggest that you check annually that this protection is still in place.
How To Rent Guide
This must be given to you at the commencement of your tenancy at the latest and must be the latest edition. Check that you have received this document and read it as it has useful information.
Energy Performance Certificate
The property you live in must have had an in date EPC at the time that you moved into the property, you should also have been given either a fully colour paper copy or emailed the certificate (a link to a website is not sufficient)
Legionella Risk Assessment
This is now a legal requirement, although there is no legally defined manner in which this should be done, other than it being done by a ‘competent’ person. However, fundamentally in a domestic premises, as long as any water heating appliances are well maintained and any hot water is stored at higher than 50 degrees centigrade, there is little more that a landlord can do. You as a tenant should ensure that any taps and in particular shower heads are kept clean and no build up of limescale is allowed to happen. If the property has been left empty for some time (say a fortnights holiday) it is recommended that the water system is flushed out by running the taps in order to empty any water storage facilities in the property.
Inventory or Statement of Condition
This document is used to record the condition of the property when you move in and will be used as the starting point to check the property for condition at the end of your tenancy. You are allowed fair wear and tear (although unfortunately there is no useful legal definition of this) but you must leave the property as close as possible to the condition which you found it in. This should be clearly recorded in this document and you should be provided with and keep your own copy.
This means that you as the tenant should not be harassed by your landlord. Your landlord or agent does not have the right to enter your home with out reasonable notice (except in the case of emergency) and any management visits should be of a reasonable gap between. The industry norm for this is generally a visit every three months and should only really be more often than this in particular circumstances.
The above list is not a comprehensive list and further information can be found in places such as your local council housing team, Citizens Advice Bureau or Shelter. However it would be remiss to talk about the above without also mentioning some of the responsibilities you have to your landlord. These are not onerous but if considered, will help the tenancy to run smoothly.
When both parties wok together in a mutually trusting way, with response to reasonable requests from either side responded to in good time, then in our experience, a tenancy tends to run smoothly and with the least amount of aggravation or disappointment for both parties.