Advice
Top Tips for Renting Privately
21/04/2015 14:54 | Source: housingadviceni.org
Renting privately can be a great option. You have much more choice about the type and location of property you end up living in.

However, many people have experienced problems in their privately rented home. Whether you've rented before or you're a private renting novice, check out our top tips to make sure your experience is a positive one.

1. Don't be rushed during a viewing

Always arrange to see a property before you agree to take it on. Don't let the agent or landlord rush you through the place. 

2. Don't sign unless you're absolutely sure

Don't commit to an agreement that you may not be able to keep. Sometimes people don't get the grades they need to get into a course or haven't worked out their finances to see if they can actually afford to move out of home. It's virtually impossible to get out of a tenancy agreement without a severe financial penalty if you've just changed your mind.

Read the agreement carefully before you sign, get advice on anything you're not sure about and make sure you get a copy of the agreement. 

3. Check, check, check the property's condition

If you're moving out of home for the first time you're probably so excited at the thought of your own place that you don't think about the practicalities. But come the freezing cold mornings in January you could be cursing your single glazed windows and leaky shower. Check everything thoroughly. 

If you're moving in on the condition that the landlord carries out certain repairs, get a list of repair work and a date by which it will be completed in writing and signed by the landlord. Quality standards in private housing are pretty low and it can be frustrating trying to force a landlord to carry out repairs and improvements. 

4. Know what you're liable for

If you're moving into a property with a group of other people, find out if you can be held responsible for anything they owe to the landlord. If your tenancy agreement says you are jointly and severally liable, you may end up paying your flatmates' rent if they leave the property.

5. Your new home

Although your landlord owns the property, it's your home while you are the tenant. Your landlord cannot enter the premises without giving you adequate notice unless there's an emergency. At the same time, you shouldn't refuse access to your landlord without a good reason.   

6. Be a good neighbour

Not everyone living around you is going to be on the same timescale as you so keep the late night noise to a minimum. Make sure you know what day your bins are collected and try to bring them back in as soon as they've been emptied as "bin theft" is a common crime in some areas and you'll probably have to pay for a new one if your bin disappears. 

7. Enjoy your independence

Sharing a home with other people can be a weird experience. It can be masses of fun but it can also cause huge disagreements. Drawing up ground rules or discussing problems maturely may help prevent any fallouts between flatmates. Try not to leave passive aggressive post-it notes around!