Why do people rent?
Renting today is a popular lifestyle choice for three reasons. 1) Many people prefer not to be tied down to the long-term obligation that comes with owning a property. 2) If you like to travel, having a shorthold tenancy means after 6 months you have the opportunity to move. 3) Property prices within city centres can be expensive; renting provides a cheaper alternative to live in those desired areas.
Looking for a flat
When looking for a tenancy, you need to know exactly what you require from the property: the size of the rooms, how many rooms you require and in which area you would like to be situated. You also need to find out whether the property is a HMO (house of multiple occupancy) or whether you are the sole tenant. Many landlords accept families, especially in larger properties, but some do not agree with the keeping of pets or even having children in the property. Always make sure that the property is exactly what you require and the agreement states exactly what you have discussed with the landlord.
Assured shorthold tenants
You will be an assured shorthold tenant if your tenancy is for a fixed period of not less than six months. If you were not given a Notice of an Assured Shorthold Tenancy or were given it after the tenancy started you will be an assured tenant. An AST can be granted for a fixed term, or periodic (rolling contract month to month). If a replacement fixed term is not agreed when one fixed term expires, the tenancy will continue as a periodic tenancy by law.
All tenancies include a contract that both you and the landlord sign. Always read all clauses and make sure that before signing anything you are happy with the terms and rules of the tenancy.
Rights of assured shorthold tenants
As an assured shorthold tenant you have the right to stay in the accommodation until the fixed term ends, unless your landlord can convince the court there are reasons for eviction: rent arrears, damage to property, or if one of the other terms of the agreement has been broken. You can stay on after the end of the fixed term even if the agreement is not renewed, until your landlord gives you notice.
Generally, your landlord is responsible for repairs; this could be structural repairs, or repairs on appliances he has previously installed. These include:
· Any external repairs: Windows, doors, drains and guttering, the roof and walls.
· Toilets, Baths, sinks external and internal pipework.
· Water and gas pipes, electrics, boilers and radiators and fires and heaters.
As a tenant, you are responsible for repairing any of appliances you have installed, for example a shower, washing machine.
In regards to minor repairs, you as a tenant are responsible. This could be anything from changing a lightbulb or a fuse, to unblocking a toilet. You need to keep the home reasonably clean, and make sure that any visitors you have do not cause any damage, because this also is your responsibility if anything does happen.
Most tenants have to ask permission from the landlord if they want to make improvements and changes to the property. You also need to ask permission from the landlord if you decide to sublet, get a lodger or pass on the property to someone else; this is for insurance purposes mainly, but there are more grounds for the Landlord to reclaim the property if you do not inform them of changes.
CPM Lettings Tenancy Service
If you are having trouble finding the right property in your area, or find it hard to contact Landlords, having a Lettings agent can be a great way to find properties as they can contact you as soon as something comes onto the Market.
We at CPM offer a comprehensive service, in which we not only help tenants to understand the renting progress, but by finding out all the required information, we can let you know what property is best for your budget, find a tenancy suited to you, and help you to resource everything you need to take the next step in finding a tenancy.
Danielle Laity is our Lettings and Sales Negotiator at CPM, with over 8 years’ experience. If you have any further queries, or are looking to find a tenancy suited to you, call us on our office number below and ask for Danielle.