While it is reasonable to view the relationship between landlord and tenant as one that mirrors the customer/provider dynamic, it would be naïve to assume that renting comes free from obligations. There are expectations on both sides and it is therefore imperative that as much as possible be included in writing in the form of a Tenancy Agreement. Most rental disputes can be avoided or solved by referring to a contract that is clear. This same contract needs to be read and understood before you sign it as it will be legally binding for all parties.
Tenant responsibilities start with the commitment to pay the agreed rent on time and in the agreed way, most people prefer to pay their rent monthly by direct debit. The payment schedule will be documented in the tenancy agreement, but if there is any change in your circumstances, it always pays to keep the letting agent or the landlord informed. Non-payment will put you in breach of contract, especially if there is no communication and it could result in eviction and loss of your deposit.
Damage for Wear and Tear
This is familiar territory for dispute, but it doesn’t have to be. Put simply: damage is your responsibility, while wear and tear should be dealt with by the landlord. How to categorise? Well, take two items: carpets and wood floors. A faded carpet and a scuffed floor are both examples of wear and tear. On the other hand, carpet burns, gashes in the wall, broken or missing floorboards are clear examples of damage. A comprehensive, signed inventory and check-out report should help as both parties have to agree to it before a deposit can be released.
These are generally defined as hot water, central heating, gas, electricity, but may also include wifi, broadband, cable services and parking. Make sure that you know exactly which utilities you are paying for and when the bills are due. There may also be Council Tax to pay. Establish with the letting agent or landlord whether you are allowed to install any additional equipment/services like a burglar alarm or other security device which would not be considered a utility but would require upkeep.
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