YOUR RESPONSIBILITIES AS A TENANT
Renters can often fall foul of failing to understand their responsibilities and assume everything falls on the shoulders of their landlord.
This can cause problems both throughout the tenancy and at the end when your main priority as a departing tenant is to ensure you receive your deposit back in full.
However, if you have failed in your obligations to both the landlord and the property itself, it could be a costly and unhappy end to your tenancy.
Your tenancy agreement will outline your responsibilities so make sure you read it but, in the meantime, here are Ellis & Co’s top seven obligations for tenants...
PAY IN FULL AND ON TIME
We’re not just talking about your rent here, which should be an obvious obligation to anyone renting a property.
You are also likely to be responsible for utility bills, unless your tenancy agreement says otherwise, and it’s important you arrange these with the providers as soon as you move in.
Take accurate meter readings on your first day in the property and supply these to the utility companies as soon as you can, arranging your bill payment procedure at the same time.
If you are paying council tax on the property, inform the local authority of the date you moved in and arrange to make payments.
PROTECT YOUR BELONGINGS
Your landlord is obligated to provide buildings insurance protection for their property, but the responsibility for your contents falls on your shoulders.
While contents insurance may seem like an expense you can do without, it’s worth remembering that in the event of theft or damage to the things you cherish, you would be unprotected.
Your landlord is not responsible for your things – only you can ensure they are covered should the worst happen.
LOOK AFTER YOUR RENTAL PROPERTY
Your inventory report will detail the condition of the property on your moving-in day. Read it and digest it, while also raising any concerns with your Ellis & Co agent.
The condition of the property on your first day is the standard your landlord will expect it match when you check out at the end of your tenancy.
With that in mind, treat the property as you would if you owned it. Clean it regularly, particularly in high-grime areas like the kitchen and bathrooms, as this will help you ensure it is spick and span when you hand it back.
One of the most common reasons for tenants losing all or part of their deposits is the poor condition of properties at the end of their agreements.
While your landlord will take into account fair wear and tear, if the condition of your rental property is judged to be unacceptable, you could lose some of your deposit.
DO NOT CAUSE DAMAGE
Your landlord must ensure their property is fit and safe for you to live in. That means maintaining key things like heating, water and electrical supply.
However, one thing your landlord is not responsible for is repairing damage caused by you or anyone you invite into the property.
As with cleanliness and hygiene, treat the property like it is you own by taking every step you can to minimise damage. If any damage does occur, tell either your Ellis & Co agent or your landlord directly.
FLAG UP ISSUES QUICKLY
As the custodian of your landlord’s property, it is your responsibility to make your landlord or letting agent aware of problems as soon as you can.
While you would rightly expect for a serious issue with the property’s heating system to be fixed quickly, your landlord can only deal with such problems if they are made aware of the issue in good time.
Moreover, if you know you are not going to be in when tradespeople visit to fix a problem, let your Ellis & Co agent know in advance so other arrangements can be made.
All tenants are entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of a rental property. That means your landlord is not permitted to show up at the property without giving appropriate notice, usually 24 hours.
Tenants should remember that neighbouring homes are also entitled to this and you should not unnecessarily disturb them.
It is also your responsibility to make sure that your bins are kept clean and not allowed to overflow, which could cause pest control issues for neighbouring properties.
GOING ON HOLIDAY? LET YOUR LANDLORD KNOW
Even tenants are allowed a holiday! But if you are disappearing for some sun, let your Ellis & Co agent or landlord know.
Your landlord’s home insurance policy may be invalidated if the provider is not informed when the property is empty for a period of time, plus the landlord may wish to take additional security measures at the property while you are away.
With that in mind, try to avoid sharing social media pictures of you on your trip – it could be inadvertently advertising your landlord’s property to thieves.
Refer to your Ellis & Co Terms of Business document or speak to your local branch if you have any questions about your rental property.
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Keep your deposit safe
When you enter into a tenancy agreement you should be aware of the things you can do to ensure you part on good terms with your landlord and receive your deposit back at the end of the tenancy.