10 Oct Tenants! Protect yourself from a terrible tenancy…
If you type ‘terrible tenancy’ into Google – you will find several articles about how Landlords can protect themselves from a bad experience. Indeed, we at Robinson Reade, have also written articles on this subject.
However, it cuts both ways. There are, as we all know, unscrupulous landlords and, indeed, letting agents out there and potential tenants need to aware of this. The government are certainly taking this seriously by introducing a database for the worst offenders (although sadly this is only accessible by the local authority at the present time).
There are some things that tenants can do to prevent from becoming a victim to these rogues in the first place:-
- Only Fools Rush in – An Elvis classic but also wise words for would be tenants. Don’t dive in and sign up for a property simply because you ‘love’ it. And don’t be rail roaded into signing up by a pushy agent. Take time to make sure it’s right for you – take a look at a recent blog of ours here for more tips:- https://www.robinsonreade.co.uk/tips-for-tenants-looking-for-a-new-home-to-rent/
- Read the Small Print – It is best practice for your agent or landlord to provide you with a copy of a specimen tenancy agreement before they take a holding fee from you. (We are members of The Property Ombudsman and this is stated in their June 2019 code of practice under paragraph 9d). This should give you (and your guarantor if applicable) plenty of time to read through the legal documents prior to even to applying for a tenancy. If there are things you are not happy with or that you don’t understand make sure you raise them with your landlord or agent early on and never sign something you haven’t read or don’t fully understand.
- Meet Your Landlord – This isn’t really necessary if the letting agent will be managing the property, but as this is potentially a mid to long term relationship between you and the landlord it’s probably a good idea if you meet them – that way you can decide for yourself whether you think they will make a good landlord. Although, don’t forget that they will be looking at you in a similar light.
- Check your deposit will be safe – Ask which government scheme will be used to protect your security deposit (all security deposits MUST by law be protected) and check that your agent has client money protection so that any money you part with is protected. As from April 2019 ALL agents must have Client Money Protection – if they don’t 1) steer clear and 2) let us know – we’ll be happy to report them to the Trading Standards Office on your behalf – they could be fined upto £30,000. We’re members of ARLA Propertymark who have insisted on us having Client Money Protection in place as part of their membership for many years.
- Fees – The Consumer Rights Act 2015 states that all lettings agents fees must be published on their website and prominently in their office. And since 1st June 2019, fees to tenants (other than some permitted payments) are prohibited by The Tenant Fees Bill 2019. If you are approached by a landlord or agent to pay you a fee – make sure it’s not a prohibited payment – if it is 1) steer clear and 2) make sure you report them to Trading Standards – they could be fined up to £30,000
- Research – We’ve saved perhaps the most important to last. In this internet age there’s no excuse for not doing your research about the area, the letting agent and to a degree the landlord. You could discover something which sets off alarm bells. We are very proud of our Google and Facebook reviews – take a look for yourself…
Finally, if you do find yourself in a ‘terrible tenancy’ make sure that you get some advice and act at the earliest opportunity.
Don’t be disheartened though – most landlords (all of ours – we won’t work with them if they aren’t) and agents are honest and trustworthy – all they are looking for are good tenants to pay the rent on time and to look after the property.
Thanks for reading and if you have any other property related questions please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us – we’d love to help you.
Emma Macgregor MARLA
PS: if you are looking for a ‘smart let’ (www.robinsonreade.co.uk/quick-let-or-smart-let/) call us today on 01489 579009 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for honest, expert and friendly advice.