By James Davis, CEO of Upad
According to the English Housing Survey, there are more people renting now than there have ever been. This number is only set to rise and with so many people in the letting market, it is essential that renters are well equipped to avoid common mistakes. James Davis, the CEO and Founder of Upad.co.uk, the UK’s largest online letting agent, has offered these key top tips to ensure that your rental process is as smooth as can be:
Meet the landlord
According to a research from Mortgage Solutions, who the landlord is matters more to tenants than the location of the property, and studies show that 86 per cent of tenants want to meet their landlord face-to-face before they move in. Forming a professional relationship with the landlord carries numerous benefits.
By having the ability to address queries directly to them, rather than having to go through a letting agent, renters can get answers that only the landlord would know. This can help to avoid a game of Chinese whispers, and would result in the resolution to the problems being found much earlier on in the process.
Through creating an open conversation, it can result in an open negotiation on rent, deposits and other conditions, and can therefore lead to potentially lower tenancy fees compared to high-street agencies. With Upad, as a tenant, you will get to deal with the landlord directly from day one, and in cutting out the middle man it can save you money.
Keep the conversation open
By maintaining a good relationship with your landlord, should any difficulties arise while you are renting the property, they are likely to be more willing to help you. This can apply to not only issues with the property, but also personal problems. For example, redundancy, unemployment or ill health can strike anyone.
By continuing to have an open conversation with your landlord from the day you move in, should anything happen to you, they may be able to come up with a form of contingency plan to help avoid rent arrears or even a costly and emotionally challenging battle with evictions and bailiffs.
Know what you’re signing up for
It goes without saying that you should never sign a contract without reading it first. However, it is essential that you understand all the terms and responsibilities set out within the contract to avoid any nasty or costly surprises.
It can also be helpful to know what your landlord is responsible for, for example, should you have an infestation of mice or any other vermin, it is important to know whose job it is to resolve this. In accordance with common law, landlords have a contractual duty to ensure that the property is in a suitable state for it to be habitable, which will include ensuring there is no vermin infestation.
This applies not only to the state of the property, but also how it affects your health and safety as the UK’s Health and Safety Executive (HSE) recently extended its regulations for privately rented properties, stating: ‘Section 3 (2) of the Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) makes provision for relevant health and safety legislation to apply to landlords to ensure a duty of care is shown to their tenants’ with regard to their health and safety.’
It is key to know what you can legally and contractually expect from your landlord to keep both you and the property in top condition.
Do your research
Your Move’s Buy-To-Let Index has shown a sharp fall in London rents over the last 12 months, with typical rents falling by three per cent in May alone. There has also been a drop in the average rent across the UK, seen for the first time in six years, which means that the negotiating power is back in the hands of renters. With sufficient knowledge of the market, and of what renters are entitled to, you place yourself in a much more powerful position to negotiate on prices and conditions before you sign for a property.
The rental market is a competitive and often tricky place, but by bearing these essential tips in mind, you can feel confident and prepared to find the property for you. At Upad, we save tenants and landlords money by making renting a more efficient and transparent process without the usual middleman. We are dedicated to helping you have a positive letting experience, and that’s what makes Upad the UK’s largest online letting agent.