Being a responsible tenant
The benefits of renting are clear: Flexibility to move quickly, low risk and, perhaps, being able to live in a location you could never afford to buy a property in.
But renting a home also comes with responsibilities, too, and tenants should always be aware of exactly what is expected of them before they sign a tenancy agreement. While you will expect certain standards from your landlord, they will be expecting the same in return from you as a tenant.
Check out Martin & Co’s top seven tenant responsibilities so you are fully prepared before moving into your new rental property.
1. Pay your bills
Paying your rent on time and in full is a given. If you don’t, you risk being evicted from your rental property as well as losing your deposit to cover the unpaid rent. It’s also likely that you will be responsible for paying utility bills and council tax, unless your tenancy agreement states otherwise.
If you are responsible for these bills, don’t put it off hoping to get the first couple of months covered by your landlord’s account.
Take meter readings as soon as you move in and call each utility company to inform them you have moved in and hand over the readings.
2. Contents insurance
While the landlord must provide adequate buildings insurance, it is your responsibility as the tenant to make sure your own possessions are covered in the event of damage or theft.
Many tenants consider contents insurance to be something of a luxury and an unnecessary expense. But sometimes the worst can happen and for a relatively small monthly fee, a policy can provide you with priceless peace of mind.
3. Keep the property clean
One of the biggest concerns for tenants entering into new agreements is getting their deposit back at the end of the tenancy.
Firstly, each Martin & Co branch holds deposits in one of the government-backed tenancy deposit schemes, providing an added layer of security to what, for most people, is a large sum of money.
However, the best chance to get back a deposit in full lies with tenants themselves. One of the biggest reasons for landlords withholding all or some of a tenant’s deposit is to cover cleaning costs when they move out.
Your inventory at the start of your tenancy will show the condition of the property when you moved in and that is the benchmark standard for when you move out. If you have a difference of opinion with regard to anything in the inventory, this should be raised with the landlord or the property’s managing agent as soon as possible. Grit and grime has a nasty way of embedding itself, particularly in kitchens and bathrooms, so ensure you keep your rental property clean as you go along.
This will avoid a panic-laden and costly deep clean at the end of your agreement in a bid to bring the property back up to standard.
4. Take good care of the property
While your landlord is obligated to ensure your property is fit to live in, they are not responsible for repairing damage caused by you.
Accidents do happen, of course, but you should always ensure damage is flagged up with your Martin & Co agent or landlord straight away.
Any repairs required for damage caused by you as the tenant will almost certainly come out of your deposit at the end of the agreement so take care of your landlord’s property like you would your own.
5. Report any problems straight away
Allowing issues to fester is never a good move. If something goes wrong with your rental property, let your agent or landlord know as soon as possible.
While the landlord is responsible for things like boiler repairs, they rely on you as the tenant to inform them of emergencies straight away.
Your Martin & Co agent should inform you of any out of hours emergency procedure so ensure you are fully abreast of what to do in that situation.
6. Respect your neighbours
While you are entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of your rental property, you neighbours are entitled to the same whether they rent or own their homes. You should not do anything to unnecessarily disturb them and you should ensure that bins outside your property are not allowed to fester or overflow, which could cause a pest problem for your neighbours.
7. Let your landlord know when you are away
If you are going away for any length of time, it is your responsibility to let your landlord know, either directly or through your Martin & Co agent.
This is particularly crucial in the winter months when the landlord may wish to access the property to take steps to avoid issues like burst or frozen pipes while you are away.
Your landlord’s buildings insurance provider may also need to know if the property is going to be empty for a period of time so it is absolutely vital you give the landlord notice of your time away.
Please refer to your Martin & Co Terms of Business document if you have any questions, or speak to your local Martin & Co office.