Property Renting Guide
How to find a place on Rent?
First of all, think carefully about the type of property you’d like to rent and which best suits your lifestyle.
For example, if you are only there during the week, a small place might do just fine. If security is important, then a ground floor flat may be out. If you have a car, then a parking space is a must.
Do you want furnished or unfurnished accommodation or would something that’s just part-furnished be okay? Often it doesn’t make much difference to the rent.
Where should I search?
It can be difficult to find good property to rent. Sifting through adverts in newspapers is hard work and the time from print to publication often means that by the time you see the ad, the property has long since been rented to someone else.
Most listings on Ghandhara Estate have additional information, such as extra photographs, virtual tours, floor plans, so you can really get a good idea of what the property is like. To make your search easier.
Renting privately or through an agent
Dealing directly with private landlords can be worrying…
You’ll have to meet a total stranger at a property and, of course, landlords are unregulated . Lettings agents offer greater peace of mind and security. Some belong to bodies such as the Association of Residential Letting Agents.
Here are some tips to get the most out of agent:
- Once you have found a property that interests you, contact the agent who is marketing the property to arrange a viewing. If it doesn’t suit, they will be able to help you find something else that does.
- Help your letting agent by telling them what sort of property you want – and don’t want!
- Keep calling your agent or they may assume you’ve found somewhere
- Ask the agent if you need to pay a reservation fee to hold the property (get a receipt for it) and ask what other charges the agency makes.Having an inventory done.
Viewing of the property. Make the most of this opportunity by:
- Checking how well the property has been maintained – look at gutters, windows, roofs
- Noting how much storage space there is
- Checking to see how the place is heated and how well insulated it looks – this will affect your bills
- Are there enough sockets for your needs?
- Finding out which furnishings will be in the property when you move in.
- Running the taps, bath and shower, and flushing the toilet. Do they all work? Ask to be shown that the heating and hot water works – and that windows open.
- Asking yourself how secure it feels? Is there access from rear gardens etc? What are the locks like ?
- For flats, How clean are common areas – how often are they cleaned and by whom? How are any common grounds maintained? If there is a vehicle space, what’s parked in it now – if there is a rust heap, ask when it will be cleared
- Finding out how close the transport links are – is it an easy commute to work or and how close are other amenities, shops, School, College, Hospital etc?
- Visiting at different times to establish how safe/quiet the area is
- Talking to existing tenants (if they are still there) and neighbors. Ask them what it’s like to live there.
- Ask tenants what the landlord is like
Good places go fast, so here are our tips for getting ahead of the rest to secure the best property:
- Start viewing in good time. A lot of property to rent won’t be available to move in to for at least four weeks.
- Have a cash reservation fee ready (and get a receipt for it)
- Be ready to sign a tenancy application form.
- If you think you may need a guarantor, get this set up in good time (and check if the agent or landlord will accept one).
- If you like the property, you may be asked to pay a reservation fee or holding deposit. Normally, you will lose this if you change your mind and decide not to take the property.
Once you think you have found somewhere you like, things to ask the agent are:
- What bills (if any) are included in the rent? Are there any charges for the cleaning of communal areas etc?
- How much is the deposit and when is the rent reviewed?
- Will there be a fixed term in the tenancy and, if so, for how long? Is the tenancy extendable after the fixed term has ended?
- If there is lots of property available to rent locally, you may be able to negotiate the rent down.
Even before you start searching for a property to rent, it’s important to understand the legal aspects of being a tenant.
- When you become a tenant, you take on certain responsibilities in exchange for certain rights. Your tenancy agreement will typically be 2-3 pages long and very detailed. It lists your responsibilities so read it carefully. As a minimum, it will show:.
- The names of the landlord and tenant
- How much the rent and deposit is
- When the rent will be reviewed
- Notice period from both sides( Tenant & Owner ) for vacating property
- The address for the landlord or agent who will be looking after the property.
What is a tenancy?
A tenancy is a contract between a landlord and a tenant that allows the tenant to live in a property as long as they pay rent and follow the rules.
A tenancy agreement is the document agreed between a landlord and tenant which sets out the legal terms and conditions of the rent contract. A tenancy agreement should be prepared before anyone rents the property.
Tenancy agreements can be either written or verbal, but you should use a written tenancy agreement where possible. This will avoid any disputes at a later date as all the tenancy information will be in writing. Check that you understand any terms before agreeing to them.
Whether or not a tenancy agreement is in place, landlords and tenants still have certain rights and obligations.
What are your rights and obligations under a tenancy agreement?
All types of tenancies include the following rights and obligations.
Your rights and obligations as a tenant
Tenants’ rights include:
- freedom to live in the property undisturbed
- the right to live in a property in a good state of repair – your landlord should make repairs and maintain the property
- the right to access information about your tenancy at any time
- protection from unfair eviction
You also have the right to protection from unfair rent, to challenge excessively high charges, and to have your deposit returned when your tenancy ends.
If you fail to pay rent or breach other terms of your tenancy agreement you can lose your legal rights as a tenant.
Your rights and obligations as a landlord
As a landlord, you also have rights. You can:
- repossess the property when the tenancy ends
- take back the property if it gets damaged
- access the property by giving 24 hours’ notice
- take legal action to evict your tenant in some instances – like non-payment of rent
You may have other rights and responsibilities specifically included in your tenancy agreement.
Types of tenancies – private renting
Types of tenancies
Landlords and tenants may have other rights and responsibilities depending on which type of tenancy they have. Tenancies can run for a set period, normally of 12 months or longer (fixed-term tenancy), or on a month-by-month basis (periodic tenancy).
How to set up a tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement should include:
- the rental price
- the deposit amount and how it will be protected
- the property address
- the start and end date of the tenancy
- any tenant or landlord obligations
- which bills the tenant is responsible for
You could also include information on:
- how to pay rent
- whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done
- who is responsible for minor repairs
- whether the property can be let to someone else (sublet)
Once finalize, you should both sign the agreement and check that the other party has also signed it. You will receive a copy of your agreement and should keep it somewhere safe.
Contract obligations for landlords
If you are a landlord, you should ensure that the contract terms:
- are fair
- do not go against legal landlord duties
- are balanced between the two parties
- cover rent payment
- cover deposits
If you are unsure of any terms in the agreement, you should get legal advice before signing
Commercial property: responsibilities of landlords and tenants
If you are the landlord or tenant of commercial premises, it’s important to be aware of the responsibilities you have for maintaining the premises and for the health and safety of occupants – particularly in areas such as gas and fire safety.
Some responsibilities are laid down by statute and others have the force of law because they are set out in a lease.
In some areas these responsibilities will be solely yours. In others they may be shared with the other party – the tenant or the landlord.
This guide explains how these important responsibilities are divided, either by the law or by the terms of the lease. It also sets out the key duties that people whose business is acting as a residential landlord have towards their tenants.
Responsibilities for maintenance of commercial properties
When taking on a commercial property lease it’s important that you understand your responsibilities for the repair and maintenance of the building you are renting.
Tenants are typically responsible for internal repairs and maintenance. In some cases you will also be responsible for external maintenance. This is more likely if you’re the sole occupant of a building.
Ultimately, however, the division of maintenance responsibilities will be determined by what’s agreed in the lease. As a result it’s important to check a lease carefully before you sign.
In particular, before you sign the lease you should check what your liability is with regard to repairs needing to be done. If you’re not careful you could end up having to pay for them.
You should consider having a survey done and insisting on any alterations, repairs and redecorations being completed before you sign the lease.
When signing a lease it’s important to be clear on the repairs the landlord may require you to pay for at the end of the agreement – known as dilapidations. This can often be a problem area, so it’s important to take it seriously.
You may be responsible for reinstating the premises to its original condition. As a result it’s important to get professional help from a chartered surveyor, who will record the state of the premises when you took on the lease to prevent the landlord from making unjustified demands later on.
The main things you must do are as follows:
- Pay rent on time – normally one month in advance
- Pay other bills. In most long-term lets, utilities (including water), TV license and telephone charges
- Respect neighbors, putting rubbish in the wrong place or obstructing common areas
- Look after the property.
- The agent’s job might be to market the property, arrange signing of agreements and payment of the first term rent and deposit.
- After that, you may find you are dealing directly with a landlord who will look after the management. However, most landlords tend to leave the management up to the letting agent.
- Keep the property secure at all times – so lock it when you go out and don’t give keys to anyone else
- Tell your landlord when things need fixing to avoid bigger problems later – e.g. a leaking pipe, if not maintained, could make a ceiling collapse
- Do basic maintenance – e.g. change light bulbs etc