It’s a frantic time moving into a new property but follow our guide below, and we’ll make sure you’ve covered all the important bits.
There are 2 key pieces of documentation you must pay attention to; the contract and the inventory.
The contract will detail everything expected of you, from the amount you must pay each month (and when), through to the standard of cleaning and repair you must attain at the end of your tenancy. Be sure to read both properly and ask your landlord or agent any questions if you don’t understand something.
The inventory lists every item in the property (which could be a lot, or a little, depending on whether the property is furnished or not). If you can, be present at the time the inventory is taken (with your landlord or agent) and take photographs of the items. At the end of your tenancy, anything missing or damaged on the inventory will be deducted from your security deposit – so take care to agree on the list completely.
If you’ve given your landlord or agent the tenancy deposit, they must provide you details of the government-backed scheme they have used within 30 days. Be sure to check and follow up with them; you’ll need the details of where your deposit has been stored at the end of your tenancy. If you don’t hear back, you can check with the 3 main schemes (MyDeposits, Deposit Protection Scheme, and Tenancy Deposit Scheme) and enquire individually if your deposit is lodged with them.
Ensure that your landlord or agent provide you with an up-to-date gas safety certificate, as well as an energy performance certificate.
And we mean everything—the taps, the toilets, the smoke alarms, the oven, the heating, the lights. You want to be sure that everything works – preferably at the inventory stage – so that the landlord has an opportunity to put it right, and there can be no suggestion that you’re responsible.
Take meter readings
Your gas, electric, and water readings at the beginning and end of your tenancy will define exactly how much you are responsible for, and your utilities providers (though companies providing those services) will use those numbers to charge you. So be sure to make a note (take a photograph if easier).
Know where the important stuff is; if you have a water leak, or a problem with the electrics, be sure to know where they can be accessed. In some houses, it’s obvious, but in others, perhaps hidden in cupboards or places you’d not expect. If you wake up in the middle of the night with a water leak, you want to know how to turn it off!
With different councils having different approaches to refuse and recycling, be sure to find out the specifics for your new property. Different bags for different recycling, sometimes on different days on alternate weeks. If your landlord or agent don’t know, you’ll be able to find the answer on the local council’s website.
And finally, don’t forget the council tax and a TV licence! Easily done amongst the commotion of moving day, but if you’d like to put the TV on for a rest after a long day of unpacking boxes, you’ll need a licence. You’ll also need to ensure you’ve notified the council that you’ll be paying the council tax (assuming your contract doesn’t state anything different).
Renting a property can be a wonderful experience. If you follow our simple guide, there shouldn’t be anything left to ruin your enjoyment of your new space!