Tenants and Landlords Golden Rules of Renting Property

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Good location and Tenant referencing play Golden rules for renting property Good location and Tenant referencing play Golden rules for renting property

So you’re looking to rent a property? A few golden rules apply and renting is a happier process for landlords and tenants alike.

The dynamic of the tenant / landlord relationship is often fraught with frustration but following these steps will help to ensure the tenant understands his rights as well as his obligations. Moreover, following this advice could prove particularly valuable where it counts most, money saved and maintaining a good credit profile.

Michelle Dickens, Managing Director of TPN, advises majority of tenants that have a proven track record indicating a history of Good Standing tenant behaviour. Landlords should always carry out a thorough tenant check before signing a lease agreement. “Successful landlords match quality tenants with their carefully selected rental stock. Tenants require good value, good location, and neatly maintained properties,” she continues.

Firstly, there are processes for tenants to follow to ensure that they are protected against unscrupulous landlords and enjoy a hassle free renting experience. “Know your agent or landlord. Never hand over cash, rather make an EFT. Always see a copy of the estate agent's fidelity fund certificate,” Dickens cautions.

Tenants should read through the lease agreement before they sign anything, taking note of details such as the date the rent is due and the extra costs they are liable for, such as water, electricity, refuse and sewerage. The lease agreement is also the appropriate place to record any maintenance issues which the landlord or his agent has promised to attend to. Non-maintenance by the landlord is one of the most common reasons which lead to tenant frustration and often the withholding of rent. Unfortunately, withholding rent is an act of breach by the tenant which will negatively impact the tenant’s credit profile.

It’s important to put a budget together. Tenants need to calculate the rent that they’re able to afford on a monthly basis and ensure that they include extra costs such as electricity in the calculation. The cost of electricity has spiralled significantly over the last few years with further hefty increases in the years to come.

An incoming inspection in the presence of the landlord is a must to make a record of pre-existing defects. While the landlord is not required to repair the defects, he will not to hold the tenant liable for them at the end of the lease. The same goes for reporting maintenance issues immediately. The sooner they are repaired, the less costly it is.

It is equally important to perform an outgoing inspection with the landlord. If no damage is found, the deposit must be returned within seven days. In the event of damages, what remains of the deposit will be returned 14 days after the damage has been repaired. The best way for tenants to avoid being held liable for damages is to treat the property as though it is their own.

In order to maintain a sound credit profile, tenants must pay rent and electricity at the right place and time. Remember there is no seven day grace period. Rent must be paid in full on the date stipulated in the lease agreement, usually the first. Communication with  the landlord is important: tenants should notify the landlord in advance if there is going to be a problem with paying the rent in full so that a payment plan can be devised, which the tenant must stick to. The landlord does not have to accept the proposed payment plan, but most landlords are open amicable resolution so long as this is not an on-going pattern of behaviour or abuse.

Finally, tenants may not withhold the last month’s rent and request that the agent use the deposit for this purpose. “This is a breach of contract and will result in a default on the tenant’s credit profile,” Dickens warns.

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