Looking for a rented house is a big job. It is not just find-a-property and get-in process. You should be aware of few things along with your rights as tenants. Here are few tips and tenant rights that you should consider before renting a house.
Sharing with someone
If you are planning to share the accommodation, don’t be hast in finding a flat mate. Before getting someone in, find out all the information about him/her. Usually disputes arise in money matters. So be sure about your shares of bills, before staying together.
Look for Independent Agents and Private Landlords
Instead of walking into High Street estate agents, you can try finding properties listed by independent agents or private landlords. You can search online for such property listings. This way, you can reduce the brokerage charges.
Your budget matters
Look for the properties that you can afford. Single bed room or double bed room, furnished or unfurnished, etc. all depend on your budget. Instead of paying late rentals, it is better to avoid the properties that are even slightly over budget.
Talk to the agents about their commission before heading to see the property.
Inspect the property
Take your time in inspecting property. Find out what are the facilities available like centralized heating system, refrigerator, dishwasher, and washing machine. Find out the distances to nearest supermarkets, bus/train station, schools, hospitals, etc.
Research about the area
Go around on foot and know the near by places. Find out from someone about the distances to nearest supermarket, bus/train station, schools, hospitals, etc. Find out if there are any thefts/crimes occurred recently in that area.
Bargain on the price
Though there may be no reduction on the rental, giving a try on it is not a crime. So, ask the agent/landlord if there is any negotiation. Sometimes you may be lucky.
Review the lease
Read the rental agreement thoroughly before signing it. There may be few provisions in the rental agreement that cause disputes in future. For example “No pets”, “No guests”, “No home based businesses”.
Landlord’s insurance doesn’t cover your losses. It is always suggested to take insurance. What if a valuable thing is stolen or what if you accidentally spill tea on the carpet.
It is landlord’s responsibility to handover an inventory to the tenant, while moving in. If not given, ask for one. Note down anything that you find bad in condition, e.g. broken cabinet. If possible take a photograph and mail it to the landlord. Tenants should check the conditions of the items listed in the inventory, sign it and give it back to the tenant. If something is not listed, you can write it down and write to the landlord about it. It is suggested to keep a copy of it.
Know your privacy
Know about your privacy rights. Landlords have their version, saying that they have all rights to visit their property at any time. But it is not true. Though there are exceptional cases like to check repairs and emergency (e.g. fire), the landlord should intimate the tenant prior to his arrival. Another exception is, landlord can visit the property frequently to check for repairs and safety in the absence of tenant (e.g. tenant is on holiday).
Demanding repair rights
You have all the rights to demand for a repair e.g. washing machine stopped working or leakage in the toilet. The landlord/agent should respond on time. If not you can talk to the concerned authority near by.
Saving on your deposit
This is the saddest part of rental agreement. Though the property is properly taken care, there may be few damages happen, which you need to pay for. But, don’t let it go easily. Landlords should prove the exact cost of the damage; else it is not acceptable legally.