5 Things You Need to Know Before Renting a House in the UK

Written by Posted On Friday, 19 October 2018 02:06

Due to the current housing market, renting has become an attractive option for people living in the UK. It is estimated that by 2021, a quarter of households in Britain will rent privately. Today, it’s no secret that home ownership remains out of the reach of millions due to soaring house prices and stagnant wages. However, it’s not just the rise of house prices that have steered more people towards private renting. The uncertainty surrounding Brexit negotiations and how they will impact house prices has left many people firmly off the property ladder – but what does all this mean for new renters? Whether you’re leasing a house for the first time or stepping back on the rental market, a lot has changed since the financial crash. Here are five things you need to know before renting a house in 2018.

1. The market is competitive

Renting doesn’t only appeal to students and young people. Due to the inaccessibility of home ownership, people of all ages and walks of life now live in rental properties. As such, the market is saturated with couples, families and those looking to downsize. It is not uncommon for a landlord or agent to arrange several viewings of the same property at the same time. This means there is often a “first come, first serve” approach to laying down the rental deposit and sealing the deal. If you find a property you like, it’s best to enquire as soon as possible so you don’t lose out to another renter. You should also get your details on the systems of all local estate agents in the area so that you can be the first to view a property when it comes on the market.

2. Extending your lease may cost you

When your tenancy is up, you may decide to extend your lease. In many cases, you will need to sign a new contract and pay an extension fee if you want to carry on living at the property. The price of a lease extension varies depending on which agency or landlord you use. Some leases may offer a “rolling contract” once your rent term is up. This means you can rent the property month by month and you only have to give four weeks’ notice if you plan to move out. This practice is common with landlords who self-manage their properties, but not so common with rental agencies. If you’re worried about how much your lease extension will cost, you can use this Lease Extension Calculator. Remember, always check your contract and to read the lease extension terms carefully before you sign.


3. Your landlord has legal obligations too

Just as you have responsibilities to maintain and look after your rental property, your landlord has legal obligations to you, the tenant. At the start of the tenancy, your landlord will need to provide you with an annual gas safety certificate, records of all electrical inspections, an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) and details on where your deposit is held. If you have provided a rental deposit (which is usually the equivalent of 6-8 weeks rent), then your landlord has to protect your money through a government-approved scheme. You should receive details of where this money is held and how you can get it back once your tenancy has ended.

4. You are not (always) responsible for property repairs

If your rental property needs repairs, it is your landlord’s responsibility to provide them. However, if you cause damage to the property or a property in the same block (by flooding the bathroom, for example) then you will be liable for the cost.

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5. Your landlord could increase your rent

If you stay in your property longer than your fixed rental term, your landlord has the right to increase the rent without your agreement. If they want to increase the rent during your term, they will need to have your agreement in writing. For a fixed-term tenancy, your landlord can increase the rent no more than once a year. The Government stipulates that all rent increases must be fair, realistic and in line with average local rents. You must also be given one month’s notice of every rent increase. While renting in the UK is an attractive option for many, it’s not always simple. The market is competitive, and the application process can be complex. Therefore, it’s best to do your research and seek advice before you start looking, especially if you’re renting for the first time.

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