Renting a Home Frequently Asked Questions

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Top Questions asked by Renters/Tenants
Below are the top questions we've been asked about renting a home - so we thought it would be helpful to publish them! Don't forget you can email us on enquiries@designsonproperty.co.uk or call us on 0845 838 1763 if you need support during your property rental or letting period.

How do I find property to rent?
You can find rented property on-line on property portals, such as at a local letting agent as well as in the local property paper and in places like the post office and supermarket advertisements.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off your tenant application!

Does it matter who I rent from?
It certainly does! Although we tend to fall in love with a property quickly, it is essential to rent from an independently recognised source. For example, renting from a letting agent that is a member of NALS and renting from a landlord that is a member of a landlord association such as the National Landlords Association.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off your tenant application!

What are the rights of the tenant?
Tenants have many rights as long as there is a legal rental agreement and they abide by the rules of that agreement. As long as tenants pay the rent they have the right to ‘quiet enjoyment' of the property; that the property is well maintained; it is safe to live in; if something goes wrong it is fixed within a reasonable time frame.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

What are the responsibilities of the tenant?
These will be specified in the contract, but typically the tenant is responsible for paying the rent at the agreed rate on the agreed day and by a specified method, for example, direct debit. The tenant must also not disturb neighbours, must keep the place tidy as well as let the landlord/letting agent know if they have any problems with the property (eg a leak or fire). When the tenant leaves the property, they need to leave it in the same condition (bar fair wear and tear) as they moved in.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

What are the rights of the landlord?
These will be specified within the letting agreement but are typically to receive the rent agreed on the date set out in the agreement; that the tenant takes care of the property and advises if there are any problems; that the tenant doesn't disturb the neighbours and moves out on the date specified in the agreement, or advises the landlord if they want an extension or to leave earlier than planned.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off your tenancy agreement or letting agent fee!

What are the responsibilities of the landlord?
The landlord's responsibilities are laid out in the letting agreement, but are typically to make sure the property is safe, abide by the legal rules and regulations set out for letting a property such as having an annual gas safety certificate and to maintain the property properly.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off your tenancy agreement or letting agent fee!

Do I need to pay for an inventory or can I do it myself?
With the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme in place it's advisable to have an inventory done by a third party as if there is a dispute, the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme company or a judge is likely to look more favourably on an independent inventory. If you do carry one out yourself make sure there are lots of photographs and even a video recording in case of a dispute. Inventories however don't cost that much versus the time they take, so doing it yourself (unless you really enjoy it) can be a false economy.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off inventory fees!


What charges will letting agents make?
Lettings agents make a variety of charges including some or all of the following. Make sure that you understand all the charges upfront and know when to repay them. Costs include a deposit (returnable)equivalent of 4-6 weeks rent and EITHER a reservation fee for the property which can cost from £30 to several hundred pounds OR an administration fee which can be £100 plus, then you need to have tenant referencing to prove you have a good credit rating which could be included in the fee or additional fee of £30. Sometimes there is an agreement fee to pay which could be around £25 but one of the most important things to pay for - even if the agent/landlord won't pay insist on an inventory of the property that will cost from £50-£100. If you want to re-sign an agreement to rent the property for longer than agreed be aware you may also have to pay a renewal fee which could be around £25.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant charging service!

Is it OK to pay cash for rent?
There is no reason why you can't pay cash for rent if the letting agent/landlord are agreeable, however it is better to pay via a bank as each payment can then be independently tracked in case of a dispute. If you pay your rent weekly, cash or otherwise, make sure you have an independent record via a rent book which records your payments.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

When do I need a rent book?
You should have a rent book if you are paying cash for rent, or are paying rent on a weekly basis.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!
 
What other costs do I have to pay above the rent?
As a tenant, depending on the type of agreement you have signed, you are likely to have to pay for all utilities (gas, electric, broadband , telephone, cable etc) and sometimes the water bill too. You are also likely to be responsible for a TV licence, any cleaning required and the council tax.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant charging service!

What is in a rental contract?
This is a contract that sets out the agreement between a landlord and a tenant to rent part or all of a property. There are different types of agreement. The two most likely ones are an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST) or a Rent a Room Licence agreement. The AST gives you more protection than the licence agreement as you have more rights to remain in the property versus renting a room where there is a live in landlord.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

What shouldn't be in a rental contract?
Basically no clauses should be in the contract which are perceived as ‘unreasonable'. This could be not having friends to visit at anytime, or allowing the landlord access to the property whenever they want. Or clauses that expect you to cover costs such as fair wear and tear. A good tip is to read the contract thoroughly, especially if you are renting directly from a landlord and if it doesn't make sense, isn't easy to read or mentions a letting agent at anytime, then the agreement is likely to be outdated or invalid. Take a contract to the Citizens Advice Bureau or to a letting legal specialist and ask them to check it out for you.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

Is it OK to sign a rental contract straightaway?
No and anyone that insists or pushes you to do so, even if they threaten that you will lose the property, then it's worth walking away. You should have at least one if not two working days to read and check out the contract. Never sign it immediately and get independent advice from Citizens Advice Bureau or a lettings legal expert. 

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

How can I get a rental contract checked? How much will it cost?
You should check your letting contract with an independent person such as a legal lettings specialist or a support service such as Citizens Advice Bureau. To get a legal contract checked with a legal lettings specialist, would cost from £50-£75 and would certainly be worthwhile as it could save you a lot of problems trying to get your deposit back or end your agreement etc.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

How long can I stay in a rental property?
On average, most rental contracts which are Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreements and are for six months to a year, usually with a six month break clause and you can then extend them on a monthly basis, if the landlord agrees or sign up to another six months. Some contracts however are for shorter periods of times, such as three months, but these are usually for very expensive short term lets.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant application fee!

What household bills do I have to pay?
This depends on what you have agreed with the landlord/letting agent and is usually explained in the contract. If you are renting a room in a property, then all standard bills such as utilities and council tax are normally included, bar the telephone bill. If you are renting a whole property, then you are likely to have to pay all the bills, such as council tax, utilities, TV licence etc.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off your utility bills!

What paperwork do I need to rent a property
You will need to show the landlord/letting agent that you are who you say you are, so some form of identity such as a passport/driving licence. Other requirements are official paperwork that proves you live where you currently live, which might be a recent (within months) utility bill. If you are renting for the first time, you may need a guarantor for the rent - and they must be someone that can afford to pay if you default on the rent, such as a parent. Other paperwork you may need will be a reference from the bank to state that you have enough money to pay to rent and your bank details so that you can pay the rent by direct debit.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

How long will it take to rent a property
It can take from as little as a few days to a few months, depending on the type of property you are looking for. If it's just you and you have no children and/or pets, then it's a lot easier to find a property, but it is worth giving yourself a month to six weeks to find somewhere so you don't put yourself under pressure. If you have pets or children or are on social security benefits, then you should leave yourself three months at least to find the right property as many private landlords either can't (due to lender's restrictions) or won't rent to people with pets, children etc.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a letting application fee!

How much deposit will I pay?
The rental deposit is usually four to six weeks of the rental payments. So if your rent is £1,000 per month, it would be £1,000 to £1,500 per month. Make sure you don't hand over your deposit until you have it in writing which Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme your landlord/letting agent has signed up to. This will ensure that if there are problems getting your deposit back, then there is someone independent who will review your case at no cost.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

What do I do if my landlord keeps disturbing me/entering the property?
The first thing you need to do is to check your contract to see what rights of access your landlord has to the property. If you are renting a room, then your room is private and there should be agreed access. This might be once a month, while you are there, for example, to check your room is tidy. If you are renting the whole property, then the landlord should give at least 24 to 48 hours notice - depending on what is in your rental agreement. If your landlord is entering your room/home without any notice, then speak to the letting agent or write to the landlord and request that they give notice, referring to the terms of the contract. If this doesn't work, seek help from the Citizens Advice Bureau and/or from a letting legals specialist.

Need to find out more? Try our Renting a Home store or join as a member of Designs on Property and receive support throughout your property project including all our factsheets and ebooks for free. We will even save you £££s money when booking services such as off a tenant contract checking service!

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