When you become a tenant, you take on certain responsibilities in exchange for certain rights. Your tenancy agreement will typically be 4-5 pages long and very detailed. It will list your responsibilities, so be sure to read it carefully. As a minimum, it will show:
- The address of the landlord or agent who will be looking after the property.
- The date the rent will be received.
- How much the rent and deposit is.
- The names of the landlord and tenant.
The main things you must do are the following:
- Pay the rent on time – normally one month in advance.
- Look after the property.
- Respect neighbours.
- Pay the other bills; council tax, utilities, telephone charges etc.
The agent’s job is to market the property, arrange signing of the agreements and payment of the first month’s rent and deposit.
After that, you may find yourself only dealing directly with the landlord. The landlord will oversee the management of the property, but sometimes they will hire a letting agent to manage any issues you may have. The good news for you is that you are not expected to maintain the building as that will be down to the landlord. However, you should behave in such a way the building is cared for.
For example, you should:
- Let your landlord know if you are going away for longer than 14 days – as this can affect your landlord insurance policy.
- Keep your property secure – make sure doors and windows are locked.
- Tell your landlord if something breaks or needs to be fixed.
- Carry out basic maintenance yourself; change lightbulbs and smoke alarm batteries.
- Alter the property in any way, including hanging anything on the walls, painting without permission.
- Use the property as a business.
- Sub-let – unless your landlord has given you permission to do so.
Your landlord has the right to access the property to perform maintenance and repairs. Your landlord should get your permission first, and give 24 hours’ notice before a visit. However, if you refuse access, it should be made on reasonable grounds, but you can’t simply bar the landlord from entering the property without a good reason; it is their property after all!
Renting a property is becoming a preferred way for many who are looking to move out, and it can be a great way for those who are looking to have their own space. Being a tenant can be a good way to repair your credit score, which many of us struggle with due to recent economic difficulties.
People who have a low credit score can find it very difficult to buy a home, so even if it’s your long-term plan to purchase, you can spend time renting whilst your credit history recovers. It can sometimes take a number of years to get rid of certain blemishes on your credit file, and during the time renting, you can re-establish your creditworthiness.
If you are looking to become a tenant, we have some fantastic properties for rent in Barnstaple, which can serve as the perfect opportunity to help you fly the nest.