What to expect if you’re a tenant looking to rent


Normally, I only write from the landlords perspective. This week I am looking at things from the tenants point of view.

If you are a landlord, as a minimum you should look to make sure your properties are legally compliant. Then you can look to build a strong relationship with your tenant. This will make things a lot smoother. A win-win for everyone involved.

How to … rent

This is a checklist for renting in England: How to Rent Guide

This is a checklist I had no idea existed until very recently. Being a landlord of 18 years, I should know about this checklist. On the other hand, I am very focused on legal compliance: DUFFMONEY and legal compliance

Part of the how to rent guide includes some key questions for the tenant to consider:

  • How much is the deposit? From my experience, this is usually about 1x months rent. Your landlord should protect your deposit. I use DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme) and notify tenants to ensure they know where their deposit is
  • How long is the tenancy for? Landlords normally offer tenancies for a fixed term of 6 months or 12 months. Initially, I will offer 6 months. If I am happy with the tenant (e.g. rent is paid on time and house is in a good condition) I will then offer 12 months. Unless I get a nightmare (Nightmare tenant), I explain to the tenant that it is their house for as long as they want it and look to build a lasting relationship
  • What can you afford? This is important. You can look at your budget to see if the rent is affordable. I wasn’t on top of my budget for years and it caused me issues. It only takes 5-10 minutes per week and this will help you to keep on top of your personal finances

Check the paperwork is a useful section:

  • Tenancy agreement – make sure you have a tenancy agreement and that you read it. Read it carefully so that you understand your rights and responsibilities
  • Inventory – this is a check-in report. The landlord will take photos and this is relating to the deposit. A bit of security if you like. If you leave the property in a poor condition, the landlord will look to use the inventory to ensure you don’t see your deposit money again. In case of any disputes, it might be worth taking some photos yourself
  • Meter readings – this has caused me serious pain. With a recent rental, I didn’t take meter readings and neither did the tenant. Based on estimated readings, the energy supplier informed the tenant that they owed around £1400 after 1 month of moving in. This took me about 15 hours on the phone to resolve.

Some must’s and should’s worth knowing

The tenant must …

  • Pay the rent on time. If your rent is more than 14 days late, you could be liable for a default fee
  • Pay any other bills
  • Look after the property
  • Be considerate to the neighbours
  • Not take in a lodger

The tenant should …

  • Know how to operate the boiler and other appliances like the electrical distribution board
  • Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Report the need for repairs to the Landlord
  • Get your contents insured
  • Get a smart meter installed to save money on your energy bills

Landlord must …

  • Maintain the structure of the property
  • Ensure the property is free from serious hazards
  • Fit smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms
  • Deal with any problems with the water, electricity and gas supply
  • Carry out repairs (within reason)
  • Arrange an annual gas safety check
  • Arrange a 5-year electrical safety check
  • Seek permission to access your home and give at least 24 hours notice
  • Ensure the property is a minimum of EPC energy efficiency band E

Landlord should …

  • Insure building to cover costs of any damage from flood or fire
  • Ensure blinds are safe by design and they don’t have any looped cords

This how to rent guide is 100% worth reading. In fact, I would recommend any tenants or landlords keep a copy as a reference. If both parties play the game and stick to their must’s and should’s, everyone involved will benefit.

Book of the week:

How to be a Landlord, by Rob Dix. This book will tell you all you need to know in terms of being a landlord. And if you’re a tenant, will tell you all you need to know in terms of what to expect from a Landlord.

For a hard copy visit the excellent Imagined Things Bookshop: https://imaginedthings.co.uk/

Leave a Reply