We have all experienced that exciting feeling when you find that one property you can imagine yourself living in after your viewing, and all you want to do is move in immediately. That one property that offers everything you need at the right price!
However, you need to stop and think a little before diving into such a commitment. We are sharing some useful tips that would benefit all tenants and how these can also be applicable to landlords to promote the best outcome for both parties when it comes to agreeing a tenancy.
Tip 1 – Always read your contract
We understand that reading such documents can be time-consuming and at times dull, however knowing the ins and outs of what your landlord is expecting of you and their property during your tenancy is paramount. It is also useful to be aware of the landlord’s responsibilities during your tenancy.
For example, if the property comes furnished, the landlord will include a clause expressing how they expect their furniture to look and be treated during a tenancy, and what would happen in case of any damage. It might also outline whether the furniture can be stored so you can add the furniture you already own or are hoping to purchase. In this case, your contract should include whether any furniture in storage should be put back where it was before you leave the property.
Landlords, the more elaborate your lease agreement the less likely it is that things will be missed or not outlined fully to your tenants. Ensure everything is detailed so that in case of any misconduct or dispute, you can turn to your contract.
With TenEnt you can access your lease agreement prior to signing this digitally via e-signature, and this will continue being accessible to you throughout your tenancy if you need to refer to this at any point.
Tip 2 – Take photos of everything
Landlords should take attractive photos of their properties for advertising reasons. However, taking detailed photos of everything within and outside your properties prior to a tenant moving in would support in the case of any damage (existing or new during a tenancy). If there is any existing damage to the property that was not sorted prior to a tenant moving in should be shared with your tenant, this could be as small as a crack in the wall.
Tenants should do the same when they move in, preferably on the first day. Take photos of everything to be able to refer to in case you are expected to return furniture back to where they were and if there is any existing damage. If you notice any damage upon your viewing or on the first day you move in, you should immediately tell your landlord so this can be sorted but also to minimize the chance of your landlord charging you for any damage not caused by you.
Both parties are also advised to take pictures of the fuse box, stopcock, and the meters on the first day of a tenancy. Landlords should support their tenants in familiarising them with the boiler and share any contacts if this requires maintenance.
TenEnt allows you to save photos of your properties and these can be stored under your account for reference as and when required.
Tip 3 – Can I make any changes to the property?
If you wish to hang pictures, mirrors, mount a TV on the wall or even paint a wall of your rental property, you should check with your landlord if this is allowed. Such alterations could be included in your contract as well so you should always refer to it before making any changes. There are contracts that can be very specific about what can be done to the property, and some might even include rules about using Blu Tac or tape on the walls.
Better be safe than sorry!
Tip 4 – Insurance is a Must
As a landlord, you should ensure your property and furnishings are all insured so that any damage that comes to your property that is not the fault of your tenant, i.e. due to an earthquake, flooding, burglary, etc. can be covered and repaired without you having to pay a penny. The fact that your property is insured and what is covered by your insurance should be outlined within the tenancy agreement.
Tenants are advised to have all their belongings insured (contents insurance) for the same reasons, however, it is best practice to also include cover within your insurance for any accidental damage that might occur to the rental property’s fittings and fixtures. If you do have insurance or are planning to get insurance, it is advisable to inform your landlord of this.
When it comes to choosing the right insurance package for you, ensure you choose one that best fits your needs at an affordable price.
Tip 5 – Utility Bills
Within the lease agreement, landlords should include whether their property includes any utility bills in the rent asking price. Certain properties will include some utility bills but there might be ones, like broadband, TV license, etc. that will not be included. If a property does not include any or some bills then tenants should ensure they sort these out as quickly as possible.
Tip 6 – Clean property = Happy Tenant
Respecting one’s environment and keeping it clean can boost one’s mental health. One of the most important pieces of advice we can give tenants is to make sure that their rented property is always kept tidy and clean.
Prior to tenants moving in, landlords should ensure their property is deep cleaned, especially during the current pandemic. Tenants should raise any issues regarding this with their landlord on the first day/week they move into the property so that the landlord can then make the required arrangements to clean parts of the property not found up to standard.
We hope you find these tips helpful and TenEnt is always here to support you throughout your tenancies.