Who is responsible for payment of the utilities?
You will be responsible once you move into the property, this would include Water, Gas, Electricity, Council Tax, telephone and TV licence.
Who is responsible for repair/maintenance problems?
The Landlord would normally be responsible for repairs to the property but you would be expected to carry out day to repairs, e.g. light bulbs, fuses etc, and should any damage be caused through negligence then this would be your responsibility to have repaired. A tenant should report repairs as soon as they become aware.
Will my privacy be respected?
Yes. Your privacy is respected. It is normal for a Landlord or Agent to carry out inspections during the Term of the Tenancy however they should give you reasonable notice of this and it would not normally take place more often than quarterly. This area is normally covered in the tenancy agreement signed by you and the Landlord.
Does the letting agent I choose matter?
Yes. To ensure you receive a professional service its best to choose an agent who is a member of ARLA (Association of Registered Letting Agents). ARLA members ensure that the transaction is handled properly. An ARLA agent works to professional standards that work well for both landlord and tenant. For example, the tenant renting through an ARLA agent can expect that the landlord will carry out safety checks e.g. gas, electrics, furniture etc. The correct tenancy agreement will be used, ensuring that responsibilities are clearly set down and privacy of the tenant is adequate. An ARLA agent will also have proper procedures for reporting and dealing with repairs and furthermore provide a bonding scheme, which will protect your deposit (details available). You may be advised to check if the agent is part of The Property Ombudsman.
How do I know my deposit is protected?
Your Agent/Landlord must provide you with details of the Scheme under which the Deposit is protected within 30 days of you paying the Deposit to the Agent. Making sure you use an ARLA registered Agent.
How long do I have to rent for?
Most Tenancy Agreements will be for 6 or 12-month period but on some occasions it may be possible to insert a break clause allowing you to give two months notice after the first 6 months have elapsed (12 month tenancy only).
What happens if I want to leave early?
If you need to leave the property before the end of your Tenancy or any valid break clause you will be responsible for paying the rent until a suitable replacement Tenant has been found and you will also be responsible for meeting any costs incurred by the Landlord in re-letting the property.
What is the most common type of agreement used and can I add things that concern me?
Almost all Tenancy Agreements used these days are Assured Shorthold Tenancies. This is normally a standard contract between landlord and tenant. If the Landlord agrees to certain conditions, i.e to provide furniture, allow decorating etc, an extra clause be added to the agreement to this effect. The landlord is not obliged to carry out promises so it is important that you requests are documented.
Will I have contact with the landlord or will the agent handle all matters?
This will depend on the service that the Landlord instructs us to carry out for them. In the event of a Let Only service you will be provided with the Landlord's details when you move in and will have no further dealings with us. If we have been instructed as Rent Processing agents then you will have the Landlord's details for any issues relating to the property but all rent issues will be dealt with via us and finally if the Landlord instructs us to Manage the property then all dealings will be via us and you will have no dealings with your Landlord.