Check Before You Rent: Ways To Avoid A Nightmare Landlord

by Elisa Adams

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Despite their mutual need for one another, it seems that landlords hate tenants – and tenants hate landlords. Both sides have got good justification for it as well. This country has landlords who don’t believe they should have to legally let a home that is fit for human habitation (and an MP who will argue it for them).

On the flip side, there are many stories about nightmare tenants.

From the tenant side, life can be difficult. Rents are at an all-time high in a property market that doesn’t have enough stock. When you finally find somewhere that you want to live, you’re thinking house removals immediately – and you can be so keen to grab it that you forget sensible precautions.

That’s where tenants get caught out, of course. They rush, keen to beat out the many other applications, and the problems only begin when they want to leave. Many a tenant has had to fight to get their deposit back, or move out acknowledging they will never see it again. It’s a contentious issue. So to avoid it, there’s a few measures you can take.

#1 Ensure That Your Deposit Is Protected

It has become such a difficult area that the government actually stepped in to regulate deposits. The Housing Act of 2004 required all landlords to put tenant deposits into one of three schemes. That means they can’t just pocket the money and run; not does the tenant lose out if the landlord goes bankrupt. Check with all of the three schemes that your deposit is registered.

If you find that your deposit is not secured, then you have legal recourse. This can involve winning a settlement of three times your deposit, so it’s definitely worth the check.

#2 Check and Photograph Everything

If you are moving into a semi or fully furnished flat, then you might receive a manifest. If it looks anything like this…

  • Bed (good condition)
  • Freezer (average condition)

… etc, then worry. Why? Because that is incredibly vague. What you want is specifics. Take photographs of everything, especially if there is damage. Then insist the manifest is redone with the correct information, such as an example:

  • King sized bed, with mattress, by brand name Beds Beds Beds Beds. Cost of purchase: £4500 (it’s a really nice bed). Estimated cost at time of moving in: £250 (but it’s had a rough life). Damage: broken spring on lefthand side (include photographs).

Is this an incredibly boring process? Yes. But it will save you having your landlord insist that bed was perfect, mint condition and you’ve broken it.

#3 Use Your Gut

When you meet the landlord or letting agent, use your gut instinct. Do they seem trustworthy? Are they honest about issues in the property, or do you have to bring things up to them? If they seem to be avoiding questions or just give you a bad feeling, then there’s probably a reason. Don’t fall into the trap of hating your landlord or having them hate you. If your gut instinct is bad, look for somewhere else to live.

Image from Pixabay