Advice For First-Time Tenants

Whether you’re moving into a private rental property in your second year of university or you’re moving out of home for the first time, making the transition to a paying tenant can be daunting.

Here are some tips to help make the experience a less stressful one

Establish good communication from the start

Your point of contact will either be an individual or letting agent. Friendly and honest communication from the word go will start your tenant/landlord relationship on a positive note. If there are any issues down the line, you may find your landlord or letting agent is more receptive if you have already established a good rapport. 

Swot up on tenancy agreements
All tenants are required to sign a tenancy agreement before moving into a property. This will set what is expected from both you and your landlord while you’re in residence, so it’s important that you read it thoroughly and understand what’s entailed with the contract.

This will include an agreed date upon which the rent should be paid, and any cleaning responsibilities you hold to maintain the condition of the property. It’ll also tell you how to leave the contract early. Your options will vary here and may come with added costs associated with lost rent and remarketing the property.

Understand your rights

Some tenants will put up with a lot without raising concerns with their landlord because they don’t know what their rights as a paying tenant are. These rights include the legal requirement by the landlord to carry out repairs necessary to keep the building in good condition, and to give notice before a visit, either by them or third parties, such as a building contractor. 

Keep up with the rent

This may sound like an obvious one, but it’s important. Setting up a direct debit is a sure way to pay the rent in full and on time. Failing to do so could lead to your eviction. If you’re struggling for whatever reason, speak to your landlord or letting agent as soon as possible instead of avoiding them. They’ll be more understanding and helpful if you’re open about your situation. 

Follow up in writing
Summarise every phone call with your landlord or letting agent in an email so you have a record of what was said and when, and ask them to do the same. If a dispute arises, or you feel a repair request is being ignored, these records will be very useful.