Essential guide for tenants – thanks to the government and PRS experts

publication date: May 26, 2015
author/source: Kate Faulkner, Property Expert and Author of Which? Property Books

Essential guide for tenants – thanks to the government and PRS experts

Last year I was privileged to be asked to join a big group of experts from the Electrical Safety Council to ARLA and RICS, National Union of Students and the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.

Our job was to help to produce a government guide for tenants to rent for those that live or are international students or professionals moving to England.

You would think that this was quite an easy task, but in actual fact it was pretty difficult.

Some of the things that people wanted were obvious, but others such as electrical safety were more difficult to ‘capture’ advice for as the legal requirements are much more ‘grey’ than say for Gas Safety which require an annual gas check and a renewed certificate every year.

Summary of the ‘how to rent checklist 
The guide is mostly for people that are looking at renting a property with an ‘assured shorthold tenancy agreement’ as opposed to renting a room when you are more likely to be on a licence agreement.

The guide runs through:-

  1. How much it costs to rent a property

  2. Which agents and landlords are worth renting from

  3. Questions tenants should ask when viewing property

  4. Clarity on smoke and carbon monoxide alarms

  5. What to check in a tenancy agreement and inventory

  6. Information about Gas Safety, deposit scheme, electrical safety and Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)

  7. Tenants’ rights and landlord responsibilities

  8. What happens at the end of a tenancy

  9. Gives advice on what to do if things go wrong between your landlord and tenant

  10. Makes it clear that tenants can complain about property condition – and not suffer ‘retaliatory eviction’ as a result.

No excuses for not renting from a good landlords and agent!
With this guide, there are few excuses for landlords or tenants to rent and let a property illegally.

If you are a tenant, then please make sure you print out the guide and take it with you to any properties you intend to view to rent. A good landlords and letting agent will know about the guide and should be happy to go through everything on the list with you.

Any landlords or letting agents who haven’t much of a clue what they are doing (and many don’t) they won’t know what you are talking about and will probably become quite defensive about letting to you, suggesting that you ‘take it or leave it’.

Unfortunately for some they will have no choice as in areas like London the two main reasons tenants continue to rent a poor condition property is:-

  1. There isn’t enough property stock for everyone to live in and as a result tenants have to rent poor stock from rogue agents and landlords.

  2. The Local Authorities often don’t know where the rental properties are and don’t have the funds or time to enforce existing letting laws locally

But as best as possible, make sure you do some research on renting in England first, avoiding rogue landlords and letting agents using our helpful, free and independent checklists:-


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