Since May, the number of tenants who are looking for a new home has risen every month. With so many potential tenants entering the market, ARLA Propertymark has compiled their top five facts that the average tenant might not know realise.
You can switch and save
If you’re paying the energy bills, you have the power to switch suppliers. You can often find a cheaper fixed tariff if you shop around, so it’s worth taking the time to do so. Double check your tenancy agreement as some contracts include a clause which means you need to inform the landlord, but feel empowered to switch. Your letting agent can assist.
Landlords usually aren’t happy for tenants to start redecorating their properties – but there’s no harm in asking. You need to seek permission to install extra shelving, hang things off the walls, or anything which could damage the property. You’d also need to ask if you’d like to paint anything, or replace the units, etc. There are however, lots of things you can do to make your rental house feel like home without your landlord’s permission. An eye-catching floor lamp can change the whole feel of a room and laying down rugs will keep the floor intact while letting you personalise the space. You could also buy scatter cushions and throws, and make sure you always have a vase full of fresh flowers on the kitchen table.
Letting with a pet
If you have a pet, it’s really important to be upfront about it when you’re looking for a property. Some landlords won’t allow them at all, but many will be fine with pets if you pay a higher deposit to cover any potential damage – just make sure this is clearly stated in your contract if you agree to it. If you find a property and the landlord won’t allow pets at all, your letting agent can help you find another suitable one.
Smoking cannabis is not permitted
Cannabis is illegal in the UK, and there will probably be consequences if you’re caught smoking it behind closed doors. There’s usually a specific clause in rental contracts which says tenants must not consume illegal substances in the property, and subject to the landlord’s consent, most contracts prohibit any smoking in the property at all.
Running a business
Although it is legal to run a business from a residential property, you must ask your landlord for permission if you want to do so; but remember, there are various things they will need to consider before agreeing. They would probably have to inform their mortgage provider, as well as getting permission from the freeholder if the property is in a block of flats. They’d need to update their insurance, and make sure they are not breaking any licensing conditions the local authority has placed on the property too. General wear and tear could also be an issue if the business wasn’t just desk-based, and they need to make sure the business wouldn’t disturb neighbours if people are coming and going throughout the day.
Peter Savage, President, ARLA Propertymark comments: “Finding a rental property can be a stressful task, especially if you’re unfamiliar with all the clauses in your tenancy agreement, but it can also be really exciting. The most important thing to remember is that once you sign the tenancy agreement and move in, you’re still bound by it. While most landlords are very willing to negotiate, these discussions do need to take place and you should never assume your landlord won’t mind without some sort of commitment in writing. Letting agents can help you both with understanding the small print in your contract and by helping you negotiate directly with the landlord.”