If you are new to renting, there are a few things you need to know about your responsibilities as a tenant – ten, in fact!
While a difficult landlord is every renter’s worst fear, the relationship works both ways and tenants can be big trouble too. More often than not, problems occur because of a lack of communication, which lets minor issues escalate, creating a difficult situation.
A good landlord/tenant relationship is great for everyone. As a tenant you may find your landlord eager to respond when there’s an issue and happy to keep you in the property for as long as you wish. The landlord will also benefit from a longer-term tenant, who will look after the place.
If you’re new to renting, there are a few responsibilities in your tenancy agreement that you really need to know about, from being on time with your rent to getting on with the neighbour. Read on for our ultimate guide to becoming the tenant that landlords love.
1. Always pay your rent on time
Your number one duty as a tenant is to pay your rent on time. If you pay by standing order, make sure you have funds to cover your rent on the due date. If you fail to pay, your landlord can take steps to evict you and reclaim the money that’s owed. You need to make sure you pay any other charges, as agreed with your landlord too – council tax or utility bills, for example.
2. Look after your home
It’s generally a condition of your shorthold tenancy agreement that you keep the property in good order.
While your landlord is responsible for carrying out repairs to the structure, plumbing, electrics and heating, you’ll be expected to complete small tasks to keep your home running smoothly – checking smoke alarms, changing lightbulbs and keeping the place well-ventilated, to prevent damp.
While not everyone is a Mrs Hinch, you’ll need to keep your home clean and tidy, and take reasonable steps to prevent problems occurring – not flushing wipes down the loo and turning off the water at the mains if you’re away in cold weather.
Always report repairs to your landlord promptly – small damp patches could become a big deal if not treated. If further damage is caused because a problem wasn’t fixed, you could be liable.
3. Allow your landlord access
Unless living in the property, landlords don’t have the right to come and go as they please. Your landlord must give you at least 24-hours’ notice before visiting and should visit at a reasonable time, apart from in an emergency.
You do need to allow them access, however, to carry out repairs and maintenance and to make fire and gas safety checks. It’s in your interest to be as accommodating as possible – being flexible, by offering a choice of dates and times, will help you to a good relationship and make sure repairs are completed in a timely fashion.
4. Don’t make alterations without permission.
Rental properties tend to be decorated in neutral tones, which suit most tastes. Avoid the temptation to personalise your space with something more radical. Unauthorised redecorating, or drilling holes to hang pictures, is likely to result in the landlord withholding your security deposit, so they can make good after you’ve gone.
5. Don’t sublet
Subletting happens when an existing tenant lets part or all of a property they rent to another person. There are genuine reasons why it might suit you to sublet. You may be struggling to pay the rent alone or need to be away from home for a short period but want to make sure the rent is covered. If you have a good reason, your landlord is likely to be sympathetic, but will want it all made official so you must get their permission first.
6. Be a good neighbour
Your behaviour in the property reflects on your landlord, so don’t create a nuisance. Keep your music to a reasonable volume and avoid noisy parties. Make sure you put your rubbish and recycling out on time and keep the outside of the property tidy – check your responsibilities around gardening in your tenancy agreement. Landlords can start eviction proceedings against tenants for antisocial behaviour caused to neighbours. As a tenant you will be held responsible for the actions of anyone visiting you too.
7. Communicate with your landlord
Try to respond to texts, calls and emails as soon as possible and be helpful. Keeping the lines of communication open will help your relationship long-term.
8. Ask before getting a pet
Some landlords allow cats and dogs, others don’t. While some people are relaxed about animals, others are concerned about damage to furnishings, annoyance to neighbours and smells. If the property is a flat, there may be a clause in the Landlord’s own lease that prevents anyone from keeping animals. If you have a pet, or are thinking of getting one, always check your tenancy agreement and get permission in writing before bringing home a furry friend.
9. Let your landlord know if you’re going away
If you ‘re going to be away from your home for a substantial period – because you’re in hospital, travelling abroad or caring for a relative – let your landlord know. You’ll still need to pay rent while you’re away unless you come to some arrangement with your landlord or sublet with permission.
When going on holiday, or away from the property for a short time, it’s also good practice to let you landlord know and to give their details to a neighbour in case there’s an emergency while you’re away.
10. Saying goodbye
You should end your tenancy properly by giving the correct notice. If you don’t you will still be liable to pay rent. You can’t give notice if you are still in the fixed term of a tenancy, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise.
If you are looking for somewhere to rent in Wimbledon area contact us today to find out more about our selection of rental properties.