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Questions to Ask a Landlord Before Moving In
With recent months seeing demand for rental opportunities across the UK skyrocket as the cost of housing increases at its fastest pace in over a decade, this race for rentals is only set to persist as the average property price rests just over £276,000. With this spurring many new renters into the market we have prepared a series of questions to ask a landlord, getting your rent ready!
What Should I Ask My Landlord Before Moving In?
Is the Property Furnished?
Generally speaking, landlords that offer a furnished rental opportunity for their tenants will command a slightly increased rental charge. However, this will save the occupants of the property the tremendous upfront expense of decorating their new home during a period where they will be expected to hand over multiple deposits and their initial rent payment.
With this being said, this does not mean that if a tenant chooses to rent an unfurnished property their new home will be completely baron as owners will still be legally required to provide basic amenities such as bathroom and kitchen fixtures, alongside some white goods such as a fridge freezer.
How Long Is the Fixed Term?
Simply put the fixed term is the length of time the rules of the tenancy must remain unchanged, typically coinciding with the period over which a tenant will remain within a property. The fixed term of a tenancy will commonly run for between 6 to 12 months, seeing the amount the tenant pays each month in rent and the duration over which they have the legal right to remain within the property.
With this being said, although the practice is less common a tenancy can be brought to an end during the fixed period providing an agreement is reached between both the landlord and the tenant. This outcome is referred to as a mutual surrender of the tenancy, seeing the keys returned to the landlord, and the tenant’s obligation to pay rent come to an end.
Are Bills Included in the Rent?
Unfortunately for renters, there is no clean-cut answer here and individual tenancy agreements will need to be inspected. It is entirely possible that a tenant will have their utility bills included within their monthly rental payment to the landlord, however, this is not always the case. If the occupants of the property are liable to arrange for their own utilities, with the account being held in their name and not their landlord’s, the tenants will be able to switch providers after finding the best available tariff. It is also important to keep in mind that utility providers will need to be given meter readings on the first and last days of the tenancy to ensure that you are not billed for usage outside of the appropriate tenancy.
Do Tenants Have to Pay For Parking?
Perhaps more applicable to those that are searching for a new home within a bustling town or city centre location, but it is likely that tenants will be required to pay for their parking. If this is the case then landlords will commonly issue their tenants with a parking pass for a small fee, whilst ensuring that use of the space is prohibited by those that do not hold a valid parking pass.
Can I Rent With a Pet?
With the introduction of the new model tenancy agreement, the UK government has confirmed its stance against landlords that wish to advertise their rental opportunities whilst upholding a blanket ban on pets. Since the introduction of the tenant fees act in 2019, preventing landlords from charging tenants many of the historical fees that came with a tenancy, alongside placing a limit on the amount they can take for deposit, causing the amount of pet-friendly rentals within the UK to plummet.
However, the new model tenancy agreement prohibits owners from upholding this blanket ban, instead only allowing landlords to refuse the addition of pets to the tenancy if they are able to provide sufficient justification, for example a lack of space, or other tenants being allergic.
When Is Rent Due?
It goes without saying that tenants will be aware of rent as their main monthly expense and their legal obligation to pay the amount agreed with the landlord on the due date each month. When going to view a rental property the aspiring tenants should already know how much the landlord is requesting, they pay for rent, however, arranging for a direct debit with the landlord will ensure that rent arrears don’t start to mount, leaving the landlord without an income and the tenant in debt and potentially facing eviction.
How Energy Efficient Is the Rental Property?
Before the tenant moves into the property landlords will be legally required to provide their tenants with a valid energy performance certificate. This informs the potential future occupants of how energy efficient their new home will be, alongside estimations as to how much it will cost to run. In order for a rental opportunity to be presented on the market it must have first achieved an EPC rating of at least an E grade. If this is not the case the landlord will need to make significant improvements to the overall efficiency of the property before it can be let out.
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