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Key questions to ask landlords when looking for a place to rent
10:53am Thursday 15th November 2012
Renting is becoming more and more popular, but before committing yourself to a tenancy it is vital you know what to expect from your landlord and the home.
Knowing the right questions to ask of your potential landlord can avoid a lot of confusion in the long-run. Here are key question that any landlord should be able to answer, according to the National Landlords Association.
* What is the rent, what is included and when is it due? This is very basic information, but it is essential that there is no misunderstanding. Many landlords will expect you to set up a standing order to pay the rent on a certain day every month. This is easy to do and can save time and effort.
* How long is the tenancy and what happens afterwards? Most will be for six or 12 months, but may be allowed to continue indefinitely if there have been no problems during the fixed term.
* What about repairs and maintenance? Landlords have a responsibility to maintain the fabric of their property and certain facilities. But it is worth asking how to contact them if an issue arises and how quickly they aim to respond. If there is outside space, such as a garden, it is a good idea to check who will be responsible for this.
* Is there a deposit, and if so where will it be protected? Most landlords will require a deposit against possible damage to the property. It is usually approximately equivalent to one month’s rent and is returnable at the end of the tenancy if no issues arise. Since April 2007 any deposit taken against an Assured Shorthold Tenancy must be registered with one of three government recognised schemes.
* Will you make an inventory? While not a legal requirement, a thorough inventory of the condition and contents of the property agreed by landlord and tenants is very useful for the avoidance of doubt and potential disputes in the future.
* Can I see the gas safety certificate? If the property has gas appliances or heating, the landlord must have an annual gas safety check, conducted by an engineer registered with ‘Gas Safe Register’. A copy of the certificate must be made available to tenants by law.
* Can I see the Energy Performance Certificate? An EPC is a document outlining the energy efficiency rating of a property. These certificates are valid for 10 years and are legally required for property marketed ‘to let’.
Renting property is now more popular than ever
Dubbed ‘Generation Rent’, it seems that nowadays more Britons are renting than buying property in the UK.
With this in mind, it appears that the idea of renting from ‘cradle to grave’ is becoming ever more likely.
According to a study by the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), tenants are staying longer than ever in their rental properties, with the average tenancy in the UK now at a record high of 20 months.
Meanwhile, many letting agents have seen an adjustment in the type of tenant enquiries they receive. No longer just attracting young, single people, ARLA discovered that around 55 per cent of enquiries now derive from couples or young families.
And a report commissioned by the Resolution Foundation and Shelter claims that over the past
five years there has been a massive 86 per
cent increase in families with children renting their homes.
However, it’s not just families who are settling for rental accommodation. HomeLet, the UK’s largest supplier of referencing to the lettings industry, recently discovered that the percentage of tenants aged between 66 and 70 who have moved into rented accommodation from home ownership
has increased by 41 per cent compared to a year ago.
It seems as though people’s attitude towards home ownership is shifting. Data compiled by SpareRoom.co.uk recently showed that 48 per cent of people admitted they would be happy to rent long-term if only there was less pressure in the UK to own a home.