Ask Tenants blog
Looking for a new place to live is stressful for everyone. While some things are unavoidable, the relationship between renter and owner doesn’t have to be so bad. This article aims to clarify the expectations for both parties moving forward. It’s vital to learn the ins and outs of renting. Here are some things you should consider – things that could spare you from a nightmare scenario.
Finding the Right Home
How does one find the right home? Do you look at neighborhood safety or proximity to work, schools, shops, or fun locations for recreation? After checking the most important boxes on your list, there’s the consideration of how much to spend. Thankfully, many people accomplish the goal of finding a home within budget that meets at least a few essential qualifications.
One of the most vital things you should be looking for is a peaceful neighborhood, but don’t let your preference for a location push you into signing a lease without first screening the apartment and the surrounding area thoroughly.
Deposits are an unavoidable reality of renting a home, but different owners will ask for different amounts. Some, unfortunately, request an entire year’s worth of rent when you sign the lease. You probably see these kinds of practices a lot and have experienced enough to know there’s no way around it. In some instances, you may find your dream home, only to find out that the deposit is too much to handle.
Incomplete Refunds of Deposits
Paying a deposit comes with the promise of getting your money back if you follow the established rules and maintain the property. However, sometimes the tenant only gets partial reimbursement for their security deposit, even if the apartment is as clean as it was when they moved in. One piece of advice is to investigate thoroughly, taking as many photos as you can of damage you find around your new home. If your landlord tries to cite such damage as the reason they’re keeping your deposit, you can show them the evidence.
As a renter, you’re entitled to your privacy, but the owners of the property may not see it that way. Landlords may stop by to get an update on the house and check to see how things are going. As it is the owner’s property, tenants are left feeling helpless in this situation. That said, if you feel like your boundaries are being crossed, it’s okay to speak up.
Although a landlord retains the right to kick you off their property, landlords are required by law to give tenants prior notice. That does not, however, make an eviction any less dreadful. If you signed a lease, there’s no way around it. Sometimes, the only thing it takes to get you to move out is the owner’s family needing a place to stay. In some cases, “revenge eviction” can occur when a tenant either makes a complaint about the building or requests repairs that aren’t within the owner’s budget. Especially if you file a complaint in an official capacity with the environmental health service, your landlord might seek retaliation.
Rent inflation is common in larger cities—prices in the UK rose 1.3 per cent in the last year. While on a £700 lease that only equates to just under £10, those small increases can add up over time, and your landlord may increase your rent beyond the standard inflation rate.
One of the most frustrating things about rent inflation or significant deposits is that it doesn’t matter how structurally sound your potential home is. Older homes and apartments tend to have slightly lower rent, but that comes at the cost of impaired structural integrity. Check out Rightmove reviews of your next home, or do an inspection yourself to see what you’re getting. Your landlord likely won’t disclose everything.
Tenants often face health concerns like black mould and pests. You may experience an infestation so bad you have to lock up your food and take extra precautions to ensure everything’s sanitary. Bathrooms are a breeding ground for both pests and mould, so be sure to prioritise them.
Security goes beyond living in a safe neighborhood – sometimes, it depends on how cautious your landlord is. As a tenant, you’re entitled to your sense of security – although it’s not guaranteed. People paying a standard rate aren’t immune to issues stemming from a lack of security. Some, for instance, have encountered problems with broken locks or doors not shutting all the way. Even worse, landlords may show a reluctance to repair these things, leaving you vulnerable.
Basic Repairs Go Ignored
Did you know that more than one-third of British renters struggle with getting their landlords to make essential repairs? Failing to fix things like door or window locks means you and your family are at risk for unwanted visitors.
What Should a Renter Be Responsible For?
As a renter, you are solely responsible for paying your rent promptly. It may be pretty frustrating, given the reality of rent inflation, but landlords don’t often give a lot of wiggle room. Bills such as gas, electricity, telephone, and internet also end up in your mailbox and not the landlord’s. Most apartments or houses come with a set of rules that must be abided by if you want to continue living in them. It’s up to you to ensure that you and the members of your household or visitors respect these rules. That means no harassing or causing a nuisance to any of the owners or neighbors.
Do Landlords Have a Duty of Care to Their Tenants?
Landlords also bear a substantial amount of responsibility when it comes to maintaining the property. Under UK law, landlord negligence occurs when the disarray of the home is either actively encouraged or ignored by the owner, making them partially or wholly responsible for damages. If a landlord rents out their property as a music venue, for instance, a noise complaint will fall in the owner’s lap rather than the band performing.
In conclusion, both landlords and potential tenants need to focus on the details. For the renter, follow the steps mentioned above to ensure the home is up to your standards, investigating and documenting any potential hazards and damages. As a landlord, keeping up with maintenance is your responsibility and setting guidelines as to what the expectations are for the tenant. If a renter neglects the home, keep in mind that you do bear some of the responsibility.
Lastly, there are websites like Asktenants.co.uk where tenants can leave a landlord rating which can help future tenants learn from the experience of previous tenants who lived in the property. The concept is similar to TripAdvisor for Tenants.