Top Tips for Tenants: What You Need to Know

When renting a property, there are a number of considerations to take into account e.g. where you want to live, transport links, rent costs etc.  It is also important to know your rights and obligations as a tenant. A good letting agent will be able to offer impartial advice on these and many other issues.

Where to live and how to view

Thorough research is key.  Create a list of the things that are the most important to you such as good schools, availability of public transport etc.  Share your list with your letting agent who can act on your priorities.

When viewing properties, try to be flexible. Properties can be snapped up in a matter of days and therefore be prepared to be as available as possible – this often entails viewing a property within a day of being notified by your letting agent.

Letting agent or private landlord

It can be tough to decide whether to rent via an agency or private landlord. Letting agencies are aware of legal regulations and are up to date on current legislation affecting tenancies.  They are also more reliable and easily contactable. Private landlords may have limited experience in terms of issues arising throughout the tenancy.  In addition, letting agents will have dealt with many tenancies in the past and know how to best tackle any problems arising.

Your Contract

You are entitled to a written contract between tenant and letting agency/landlord known as the Tenancy Agreement. This sets out your rights and responsibilities when renting a property.  It will include information such as the landlord/letting agent’s contact details, tenancy start date, the process by which the tenancy may be terminated and the rent. (The rent in tenancies created after the 1st December 2017 may be increased no more than once every 12 months, and you must be given three months’ notice of this decision.)

Your tenancy agreement should have a ‘Plain English’ Crystal Mark allowing for the agreement to be easily understood.

Deposits

It is common for letting agents and landlords to request a deposit which is a sum of money acting as a guarantee against damage caused by you to the property or unpaid bills and rent. Your deposit cannot equate to more than two months’ rent. Scots law requires landlords to register your deposit in a tenancy deposit scheme for the duration of your tenancy. Request a written receipt for your deposit and keep it safe.

The Inventory

If not already provided, ask your landlord for an inventory. The inventory is a list of furniture and contents provided by the landlord (in the case of furnished properties) and the condition they are in. Otherwise, it records the general condition of each aspect of the property. Check your inventory as soon as possible and report any discrepancies to your letting agent or landlord. It is also worth taking photos when you move into the property as proof of the original condition.

Keep a copy of your signed inventory and highlight any issues to your letting agent or landlord immediately.

Who is responsible for repairs

Tenants must look after their property. However, landlords are responsible for repair work needing done. It is your responsibility to notify your landlord/agent of any problems. The landlord is not responsible for damage caused by the tenant, an act of god or a third party.

The landlord must ensure the property meets the requirements of the “repairing standard.” These are guidelines issued by the Scottish government and include the need for the property to be wind and watertight, structurally sound and have suitable smoke/fire detectors.

How long can my tenancy last

Since December 2017, all new tenancies created are open-ended which means a landlord cannot ask a tenant to leave simply because a fixed period has expired. However they can ask you to leave for other reasons e.g. they wish to sell the property, want to live in the property themselves or want to carry out major refurbishments etc. The amount of notice your landlord has to give you will depend on how long you’ve lived in the property and the grounds your landlord is using to evict you. If you want to end the tenancy, you must give your landlord/letting agent at least 28 days’ notice. This period can be reduced if you ask for shorter notice and it is agreed in writing.

If you are planning on renting a property and need some help please feel free to get in touch. Western Lettings is an independent award winning Letting agency in Glasgow.  Our lettings team is friendly, very knowledgeable and will work hard to help you find the perfect new home.

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