Whether it’s your first time renting or you’ve rented all your life, the tenancy agreement acts as the binding contract between you and the landlord and is something that you want to pay special attention to.
It outlines what you can and can’t do, what your landlord expects from you, how long the tenancy will last (so you know when it’s time to start looking for a new place), and whether bills are included in the monthly rent.
Let’s take a look at some of the most important things to keep an eye out for in the tenancy agreement.
To prevent disputes or issues from occurring further down the line, it’s in your best interests to scrutinise your tenancy agreement before you sign it. You need to know exactly what your obligations are as a tenant and what rules and conditions you must abide by.
For example, some landlords have specific rules on whether pets can stay at their properties because of the potential risks involved. Although most don’t allow dogs and cats, some are more lenient and simply ask for a higher deposit to cover cleaning costs. Alternatively, they may stipulate that you need to arrange a professional clean once the tenancy terminates.
It’s also worth bearing in mind that it’s unlikely a landlord will permit smoking inside their rental. But all of this should be written down on paper to reduce confusion.
Your tenancy agreement will include details of the required deposit amount and how it will be protected.
Landlords in England and Wales are legally obliged to secure it within a government-approved protection scheme. Letting agents, like Easylet Residential in Warrington, use the Deposit Protection Service (DPS) to protect tenants deposits and to make disputes easier to resolve. However, there are other schemes available – including My Deposits and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Another reason why it’s crucial you carefully read your tenancy agreement is that it will include reasons for why the deposit will be partly or fully withheld (e.g. damage to property during the tenancy, late payments, etc.).
Bills and monthly rent
Sometimes, bills are included in the price of rent, allowing you to budget better, but it varies from tenancy to tenancy.
In most cases, tenants are responsible for utility bills, such as gas, electric, and water, as well as broadband. Unless they live in a house with multiple occupants (also known as an HMO), they must pay council tax too.
Another thing to be mindful of is how much the rent is and how it needs to be paid. Will letting agents collect it on behalf of the landlord or will you pay them directly? This should all be made clear within your tenancy agreement – so make sure you check!
Repairs and decorating
Although it’s unlikely for something to go wrong whilst renting, knowing who is responsible for carrying out minor repairs and improvements is key.
Whilst some landlords are happy for tenants to carry out DIY tasks, others would much prefer to do such jobs themselves or to ask the letting agent to organise the repairs on their behalf.
Whether you’re thinking of adding a new lick of paint to the walls in the hall, hanging posters in your bedroom or bringing in your own furniture, landlords have strict rules on whether or not you can redecorate their rental. Of course, it’s always worth asking for their permission beforehand, but this should all be explicitly stated in the agreement.
Most people are so eager to move into a rental home that they skim read their tenancy agreement without a second thought. But this isn’t recommended.
Take your time to read over everything. If there’s anything you’re unsure about, don’t be afraid to ask your letting agent or landlord to explain. And if there’s something that you’d like to change within your agreement, this must be discussed with your landlord.
It’s illegal for a landlord to discriminate against you because of your age, gender, race, religion, or sexual orientation. Plus, if you have a disability or are pregnant, there are laws in place to prevent discrimination on these grounds. For instance, if you are blind and need a guide dog – but the landlord doesn’t allow pets – they must have a compelling reason not to change the terms in the tenancy agreement.
The beauty of renting is that you can move without worrying about being part of a chain – however, you will need to give your landlord notice if you have plans to move out before your tenancy ends. Details of how much notice can be found within the tenancy agreement.
Often, you will still need to pay the rent for the fixed term, unless your landlord agrees to end the tenancy early – usually if there is a break clause in the agreement. So well worth going over your agreement with a fine toothcomb so you know what your rights and obligations are as a tenant.
And there you have it.
We appreciate that there is a lot of information to digest, but taking the time to read your tenancy agreement – and looking out for the aforementioned things – will make you aware of what’s expected of you whilst renting.
If you have any further questions or would like some assistance finding a property to let in Warrington, get in touch with letting agents. Always on hand to help, they would love to hear from you!