The government recently launched their updated guidelines for tenants who are about to rent houses or flats in London. Our letting agents in London have come up with a summary with some things to look out for and a list of responsibilities, which should help first time renters on their journey.

Landlords, tenants, letting and managing agents worked closely with the government to set the guidelines in an aim to improve the living standards in the rental sector.

Get the Official Government Guidelines

This article is a simple outline of the guides, but you can get the most recent official government guides for tenants from the following links:

Before you begin your search for property to rent in London

  • Think about what you can afford to pay on rent. Factor in bills and other outgoings alongside emergencies.
  • Look at the price of rent and availability of homes in the areas you would like to live in. Check our London property search to see what rents are like in ares you are interested in.
  • Apply for any allowances you are in line to receive.
  • Have all your paperwork ready to go.
  • Do not exceed what you can afford.
  • Find out more about the process of renting in London with Henry Wiltshire

Finding your new home

  • Have a deposit ready. If the landlord asks for one, check that is protected by a scheme or insured. Read carefully the cover provided if signing up to an insurance protection scheme.
  • Make sure all safety certificates are in place for the property. Smoke alarms (and carbon monoxide alarms if there is a solid fuel appliance) must be in place.
  • How long is the tenancy for? Usually the term is fixed for 6 or 12 months. You can ask for a longer period to give you more security.
  • Check if there are any rules about children, pets, smoking etc.

Think you’ve located the right flat or house?

  • Read your tenancy agreement carefully to understand what you are responsible for and all of your rights. Understand your rights in relation to landlord access and visits.
  • Find out who your landlord is and who to contact if and when you need to. Check that you have the correct contact details for the landlord or letting agent. Know who is responsible for the management of your property. Ensure you receive a tenancy agreement alongside a copy of the government’s guide on how to rent.
  • Take an inventory. Ensure you are happy with everything being left in the property. If anything is damaged bring this to light. Find out what is your responsibility to maintain and check the tenancy agreement for any reference to paying rent should the building become unfit to live in due to fire or flood. Establish how to work all appliances and turn off water etc.

After you move in

  • Pay the rent and bills on time.  Not keeping up with your rent you breaks your tenancy agreement and you could be evicted. If you are having financial difficulties speak to your landlord or letting agent. The longer you leave it the worse it will be. Contact your local authority or citizens advice centre also if help is needed.
  • Be a responsible tenant. Maintain the items that are your responsibility and inform the landlord/agent of any problems that need addressing. Check smoke alarms & carbon monoxide alarms regularly. Do not sub-let or take in a lodger without permission from landlord.
  • Be a considerate neighbour.  Antisocial behaviour & excessive noise is grounds for eviction.
  • Consider getting contents insurance. Landlord’s insurance does not  to cover your possessions.

It’s the end of your tenancy

  • Your agreement will tell you how much notice you have to give on your contract. Should you wish to stay on you can extend a fixed term contract (there may be a small fee)
  • Make sure everything is in order. The payments of all rent and bills should be up to date. Ensure the property has been maintained and kept to the best standard possible.
  • If you decide to move on then let your landlord know. The property will be inspected and it is important you are there when it is. Have your original inventory to hand, this will jog your memory as to what was there at the start and the condition it was in. Nevertheless, if you have any dispute with your landlord with regards to deposit return contact your relevant deposit scheme.
  • Finally, upon moving out clean the property and remove any waste and all of your belongings. It should be noted that the landlord can dispose of these after a period of time (usually two weeks). Return all keys, take final meter readings and leave a forwarding address.

Thinking of renting property in London?

For more information regarding the new guides or for a list of what is available to rent in your area of choice, contact our expert letting teams in any of our Henry Wiltshire offices.

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