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Tenant Insurance -Tips for Tenants when searching for a rental property.

INFORMATION FOR TENANTS (also see our Tenants Advice Guide for much more detailed information)

Use an Agent - Or go to a Private Landlord direct

Many people find the agent by an looking on the Internet. They also visit the area they are thinking of moving to andf buying a local paper and calling in at Letting and Sales agents.

Many agents belong to professional organisations:

  • ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents) 

  • NALS (National Approved Letting scheme) 

  • NAEA (National Association of Estate Agents) or

  • RICS (Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors)

You will normally have to pay administration fee to the agent (For much more detail see our Tenants Advice Guide

WHEN TO LOOK

Rentals are now like buying a house or booking next years summer holiday. The majority of property is available immediately or within the next couple of months. If you are looking for a property several months ahead you will not normally be able to find anything. In towns offering student accommodation this does not appear to be the rule as you can often tie up a deal for rental to start in July/August/September several months in advance.

CLEAN PROPERTY & PRESENTATION

The property should be clean and tidy and have a reasonable standard of decoration. In many areas of the UK there is an excellent choice of property and as so many beople have gone int the Buy-to-let businness, a lot buy brand new so standards are high. Landlords of older properties are now realising that they must update their properties and present them well. Unfortunately not all landlords do this.

FURNISHED OR UNFURNISHED? 

You will normally find property that can be let fully furnished, part furnished or unfurnished. Which of these is appropriate to you will depend on your circumstances. It is always a good idea to ask if the owner will provide or take away items, although quite often this is not possible particularly when they have to be stored somewhere.

NUMBER OF BEDROOMS

This will largely depend on tenant situation - Single person - 2 people - thinking of bringing others in to share etc? You need to sort this out before searching.

RENTAL PRICE CAN I AFFORD IT?

You need to check out what rentals prices are like in the area you are going to move to. Initially do a search on the Internet and then work out your budgets. Many agents and landlords use a credit search company for referencing now. They work on a formula - Rental X 12 X 30 e.g £600 per calendar month. £600 X 12 X 30 = £21,600 or alternatively Rental X 30 - £600 X30 = £18,000. (The difference is that one major UK company uses the first formula and another one the other one). This will mean that someone wanting to rent a £600 per calendar month property on their own will have to earn over £18,000 per year.

COUNCIL TAX, SERVICES ETC see our Tenants Advice Guide

PROPERTY INFORMATION FOLDER

It's very useful if you ask the owner or agent if there is a folder of information at the property for tenants. This might include: 
details of rubbish collection days, nearest schools, shops. Photocopies of any manuals/ instructions for appliances, location of fuse boxes/ meters/ stopcock- useful and emergency contact numbers (plumber, handyman, electrician etc.)

WHAT ABOUT INSURANCE? 

You should take out insurance. What happens if your lap top or bike is stolen? What happens if you spill coffee or wine on the landlord's new carpet or 3 piece suite?

Take a look here for much more information it is something often overlooked by people renting including students.

INVENTORY 

A suitably detailed Inventory or Schedule of Condition for the property its contents is absolutely essential. If there is not one there you should ask for one. If you are not happy with something when you move in - e.g. broken kitchen unit, then take a photo and send a copy to the agent/landlord.The inventory should be provided to the ingoing tenants on the commencement date of their tenancy. Ideally the tenants should check, sign and return a copy of the Inventory to the landlord or agent to confirm their agreement with it. Without a good inventory a landlord is, legally, in a very vulnerable position if he subsequently tries to deduct money from a tenants deposit for alleged damages. 

SAFETY MATTERS 

A landlord has a legal obligation to provide a safe property for the tenants to live in. Specifically, this means that any electrical equipment provided, plugs, sockets etc must be safe. You should also ensure that all equipment is serviced regularly and provide instructions or user manuals so tenants know how to safely operate appliances and equipment. When there is gas at the property, the landlord in the UK must by law, provide a Landlords gas safety certificate annually.


MAINTENANCE AND REPAIRS

The owner / landlord will generally be responsible for maintaining and or repairing the fabric or structure of the property normally including dometic appliances, but not normally TVs and Video/DVD equipment provided.

DEPOSITS

N.B. From April 2007 under the 2004 Housing Act Landlords will no longer be able to hold deposits with AST tenancies unless they have them registered with a specific scheme. See Tenancy Deposit Scheme

N.B. This information should not be relied on for accuracy and is presented here without the responsibility of jml Property Service and the website it is being displayed at. ©jml property Services 12-04

 

The top five tenantís contents claims - August 2010


New to letting or renting?

Take a look at our landlords advice - Tips for landlords and tenants advice and Tips for tenants guides

Why do I need Landlords Insurance? and Article on Landlord Insurance


DO YOU HAVE A RELATIVE / DEPENDANT AT COLLEGE OR UNIVERSITY IN THE UK? Did you know that they can get insurance for their rental room, flat or house? CLICK HERE for more information

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