Things to Check Before You Say YES

So you’ve found the perfect flat for private renting, but what should you double check before signing your lease? And what safety measures is your landlord required to put in place? 

Tenancy Agreement 

A tenancy agreement is an agreement between you and your landlord. You have the right to have a copy of your agreement in writing and it should include:  

  • State any conditions or restrictions to the use of the property  
  • The start date of the tenancy 
  • The amount of rent to be paid and when 
  • State who is responsible for repairs and decoration 

You also have responsibilities as a tenant and if you don’t adhere to these you could be evicted. These might include: 

  • Keeping the property clean 
  • Maintaining furniture and appliances 
  • General maintenance such as changing lightbulbs, replacing batteries in smoke alarms.  
  • Keeping the property warm enough that the pipes don’t freeze in winter.  

Deposit 

A deposit is a sum of money which you will have to pay upfront when renting your property, different from rent money. The deposit acts as a guarantee against any of the following. 

  • Any damage to the property 
  • cleaning bills if you've left the property messy or unclean. 
  • bills that are left unpaid, like fuel or telephone bills 
  • unpaid rent 

If you do any of the above, the costs can be taken from your deposit to cover it. Otherwise, your deposit must be paid back to you in full at the end of your tenancy. 

Your deposit is usually one months rent but can sometimes be more. It’s worth noting that a deposit can’t be more than two months rent.  

Make Sure the Property is Safe 

The landlord has the responsibility to make sure that the property is wind and watertight while being safe and comfortable to live in. They are also responsible for general repairs to the property which should be listed in your tenancy. Your landlord cannot get out of doing repairs by adding a clause in your tenancy agreement. 

By law, your landlord must provide fire detection devices in your property: 

  • at least one smoke alarm installed in the room most frequently used  
  • at least one smoke alarm in every circulation space, such as hallways and landings 
  • at least one heat alarm installed in every kitchen 
  • all alarms should be ceiling mounted 
  • and all alarms should be interlinked. 

Landlords must also carry out electrical safety checks at least every five years and provide the tenant with the most recent safety report before the tenancy begins. 

Find out more about Private Renting by heading to the New Digs page