Moving into a new rental property can be an exciting time, but it can also be stressful and there is a lot to do. If you’re not careful, you could make mistakes that end up costing you big, both in terms of your finances and your stress levels. To help ensure that the transition to your new property is smooth and hassle-free, and to avoid unnecessary costs and complications further down the line, it pays to ask yourself the following four questions.
1. Do you understand the terms of your tenancy agreement?
Tenancy agreements set out the rights and responsibilities of tenants and landlords, and as it states on the specialist insurance and tenant referencing website homelet.co.uk/tenants , these agreements should be co-signed by you and your landlord before you move in. Although most tenants don’t have a legal right to have a written agreement like this, it’s wise to ask for one if your landlord doesn’t offer, because this document can help to prevent confusion and disagreements between you during your tenancy. The agreements are legally binding, so it’s crucial that you understand the terms of this document before you sign it. It should include details such as the sum to be paid in rent and when the payments are to be made, what your rent covers, the duration of your tenancy (if it’s a fixed term arrangement) and the length of notice both parties have to give to end the tenancy.
If you’re not happy with the conditions in the agreement or you don’t understand any of the clauses, it’s a good idea to get advice from a trusted source, such as an expert at your local Citizens Advice Bureau. Ironing out any problems with your tenancy agreement before you move into your rental property could help you to avoid a whole range of problems in the future.
2. Has your deposit been put in a protected scheme?
The chances are, you’ll be expected to pay a deposit before you move in – and this could be a substantial sum. When you do this, make sure you get a receipt and check that your landlord puts the money in a recognised Tenancy Deposit Protection (TDP) scheme. They are required to do this within 30 days of receiving the money, so follow the issue up with your landlord if you don’t hear back within this time. TDP schemes help ensure that, as long as you meet the terms set out in your tenancy agreement, you pay your rent and bills, and you don’t damage the property, you’ll get your money back when you move out.
3. Is the inventory accurate?
You’ll probably have lots on your mind when you’re moving into your new home, but it’s essential that you take the time to check the inventory. Most letting agents or landlords carry out an inventory before tenants arrive or on the day they move in. This document details the condition of the property and its contents, and it could have a big impact on how much of your deposit you get back at the end of your tenancy. Ideally, you should be present when the inventory is conducted, but if you can’t be, at least make sure you check all the details contained within it to ensure they’re accurate. If you disagree with any of the information, contact your landlord or letting agent immediately to raise the issue. If you don’t do this, you might end up paying for damage you didn’t cause. Many letting agents now provide photo inventories, it might be worth checking to see whether a photo inventory is a viable option, after all, as the old saying goes a picture says a thousand words, and could prove an invaluable resource in any tenant/ landlord disputes.
4. Do you have suitable insurance in place?
Last but not least, it’s important to have appropriate contents insurance in place. Although this isn’t a legal requirement, it’ll mean that should your possessions be stolen or damaged, you won’t be left counting the cost. Bear in mind that it’s possible to get specialist insurance when you’re renting a property that can provide you with extra protection. Tenancy liability cover for example, pays out if you accidentally damage your landlord’s furnishings, fixtures or fittings.
Going through these details can seem like a chore when you’re in the midst of a property move, but it will give you greater peace of mind and it could save you a considerable sum in the long term.