As a new tenant, what do you need to know before moving in?

As a tenant of a private rental property, it is important to know both your rights and responsibilities. Here are some tips when it comes to viewing a property:

  1. Look for signs of damp – in the corners, under the windows and on the ceilings (check for peeling wallpaper) – or a damp or musty smell inside cupboards or cellars
  2. Inspect window frames, floorboards or other exposed areas for signs of rot
  3. Check the walls for signs of cracks (hairline cracks however shouldn’t necessarily cause alarm)
  4. Make sure the windows open and close, and see if they are double glazed
  5. Check for power sockets, phone lines and TV points
  6. Look to see how much storage there is – bedrooms, kitchen and hallway
  7. Check the standard of locks on the doors and windows and ask if there is an alarm system
  8. Look at the conditions of the carpets
  9. Find out who is responsible for the communal areas / gardens
  10. Lastly, do you get good broadband speed and mobile phone reception?!!!

Also ask about council tax rates, local schools, distance to amenities, available parking etc.

Once you have found the property and are ready to move in, remember the following:

  • Stick to the terms of your tenancy agreement and always pay your rent on time.
  • Do a thorough inventory check (and even take photos) when you move in so you have proof of what was in the house when you moved in and what kind of state it was in.
  • Make sure you are happy with the way the place looks and always ensure you get permission before you make any property improvements
  • Tell your landlord straightaway if repairs are needed
  • It is a good idea to get insurance – as well as cover for your possessions, consider a policy that includes tenant liability insurance which will protect you if you damage your landlord’s furniture, fixtures or fittings

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