More people than ever are now renting property. With house prices at an all time high, private, rented accommodation is a much easier option than trying to jump onto the property ladder for graduates and young professionals.
Although moving into a rented property is exciting, and you can more or less call it home, it is important that you don’t get caught up in the new move and forget to check important documentation.
Here are our tips for moving into rented accommodation:
Read the Small Print
It’s easy to get swept away with the excitement of moving and flip to the last page of the tenancy agreement to quickly sign it. You need to make sure you know what you are signing though and take some time to read the small print.
You need to understand that if you are living with someone else and you sign the same agreement, then you are signing a joint tenancy and are jointly responsible for the property and any problems you may have.
Read the contract carefully and work out what your rent covers – is it basic or are some bills included? Determine how long the tenancy is – can you move out after 6 months or do you have to wait for a year? And check on any rules, such as pets, smoking and notice periods.
Protect Your Deposit
Chances are you will be paying quite a large deposit for your rented property, so you need to know it’s going to be protected once you have signed the tenancy agreement.
As of 2007, landlords have had to sign up with a government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme in order to protect a tenant’s money. Your landlord should therefore protect your deposit in a scheme within 30 days of you paying it.
There are three main deposit schemes used in England and Wales and four in Scotland. They all offer you a dispute resolution service, which allows landlords and tenants to sort out any disagreements they may have when it comes to returning deposits.
Your inventory is important, as it lists all the details of the property and any furnishings that are included. It also records the condition of the property including marks on the walls and any existing damage to carpets and appliances.
Use the inventory to your advantage and go round the property on your moving in date to note down any comments you want to make about the property. Every little detail counts, so just take your time to go round each room.
When you come to moving out, your landlord will go through the inventory to check whether anything is missing or if there is any new damage to the property that needs to be considered when returning your deposit, so don’t let this pass you by.
Once you're ready to move in, make sure you choose a good removal firm, or ask your family and friends to help out - moving on your own can be quite a struggle. Try and avoid moving on Fridays, as these thend to be the busiest days of the week.
Pack all your things in an organised way, so you know what goes where when it comes to unpacking. Research into the best utility providers for your new house, and try and get your post redirected.
Once you are all settled, you need to think about insurance. As you are only renting, your landlord will pay for the building insurance, but it is a good idea to take out your own contents insurance to make sure your possessions are protected.