Here are several things you need to think about before renting a property:
CAN YOU AFFORD IT? You should never agree to rent a property if you are unsure you can afford it; not paying your rent can result in court proceedings against you and eviction from the property—not things you want on your permanent record!
CHECK THE CREDIT LIMIT: Checking your credit limit is also important. Your credit limit is the maximum amount of credit a lender will extend to you. The higher your limit, the more attractive you are to a lender. It’s also important to have a copy of your credit report when you start looking for a rental.
REVIEW THE LEASE: Managed communities and individual landlords both have their pros and cons, so you should review all conditions for the tenancy before signing. Also check on any restrictions, like whether or not you can light candles or paint the walls.
EVERYTHING IN WRITING: It is best to get everything in writing in order to avoid any disputes with the landlord. A clear statement of your rent is and the responsibilities of you and your landlord is a must. Your deposit must also be protected by a Tenancy Deposit Scheme, and you should be notified of the scheme details within 14 days from the beginning of the tenancy. Always get a receipt for your deposit from the landlord.
THE INVENTORY: Make a list of anything that does not work or is missing in your apartment and of every item contained within the property when you arrive. Photographic evidence helps avoid any sort of disagreement at a later stage, especially with things that were already damaged.
TENANCY AGREEMENT: A tenancy agreement is a contract between a renter and a landlord. The agreement gives you right to occupy the accommodation and the landlord the right to receive rent. Both you and your landlord have rights and responsibilities given by law. The responsibilities of both parties should be detailed within your tenancy agreement, although some conditions may vary between properties and landlords.
DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION: Landlords must provide a rent book or a similar document; it’s a criminal offence if they fail to do so. If you experience any problems in obtaining documents or information from the landlord, an consult an experienced adviser.
YOUR RIGHTS: The Fair Housing Act prohibits landlords from discriminating against tenants on the basis of race, gender, religion, national origin, familial status, or color. In nearly every state, it’s illegal for a landlord to retaliate against a tenant who is acting within his or her legal rights. As a tenant, you have the right to:
- Live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
- Have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends – and in some circumstances have it protected
- Challenge excessively high charges
- Live in the property undisturbed
- See an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
- Be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
- Have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years
HOW TO END YOUR TENANCY: If you want to end your tenancy you must give 28 days’ notice. If you have a fixed term you may have to pay the rent till the end of the agreement, unless it contains a clause allowing you to leave early.
THINGS TO REMEMBER
Know your rights when you rent a house or apartment.
Bring your paperwork.
Review the lease and go for a credit check.
Get everything in writing.
Protect your privacy rights.
Talk to your landlord.