Top tips for first-time renters

Moving to your own place? If you’re renting for the first time follow our top tips to avoid the common pitfalls.

    1Don’t pay letting agents fees

    Most fees for tenants are banned. You can't be asked to pay for things like credit checks or references when agreeing a new tenancy.

    2Make sure the place is safe

    Check the gas safety certificate before you move in. Make sure you’re happy with the condition of the property before you sign the contract.

    3Check the inventory before you sign

    It will help avoid tenancy deposit disputes if you check the landlord’s inventory records any damage to the property or its contents.

    4Check if the contract allows you to leave early

    Make sure you know what notice you need to give to end your tenancy. If there’s no break clause, you can’t give notice to end a fixed term tenancy until it has expired. If you don’t end your tenancy properly, you could have to keep paying the rent - even after you’ve moved out.

    5Check your deposit has been protected

    Your landlord has 30 days to protect your deposit after they’ve received it. They must give you full details of the scheme protecting it plus information on how you can get it back.

    6Pay your rent on time

    You must pay your rent in full and on time – even if you are waiting for benefits. Speak to your landlord if you know you'll be late with the rent.

    7Stay mates if you're sharing

    If you have a joint tenancy agreement, make sure you all understand what you are getting into and what happens if any of you want out.

    8Be ready for rent increases

    Your landlord can increase the rent but only at certain times or if they're offering you a new agreement.

    9Report repairs early

    Landlords are responsible for most repairs, but only if you tell them they need doing. Never withhold your rent – you’ll risk eviction for rent arrears.

    10 Know how to get your deposit back

    You may need to ask your landlord directly or contact a tenancy deposit scheme if it’s holding your money instead.

Last updated 30 January 2019 | © Shelter

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