Five things tenants should look for when moving into a new property

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2023

Moving into a new property can be expensive, especially when you factor in the rising cost of energy bills and living in general. That’s why’s Personal Finance Expert has released these tips, to help tenants understand their rights and avoid any unnecessary costs.

"Despite how small damages may seem, it’s important to note everything and swiftly send an amended inventory back to your landlord"

The cost of living in the UK is rising at an alarming rate, and for those currently renting, or about to rent a new property, this can be very daunting. Not only are energy bills soaring, but between damage deposits, new furniture and removal costs, renting a new property can become expensive.

Personal finance expert, Dan Whittaker, shares his top five tips for renters that could save you hundreds of pounds.

Dan says: “There are costs that may be thrown your way which are not your responsibility to pay and elements of your contract which may lead to excess spending. Here are the top five things to look out for when you move into a rental property, which could save you hundreds.”

If furniture and upholstery don’t meet certain standards, ensure your landlord pays for replacements

“When renting a property, it’s possible that your new home will come complete with furniture provided by the landlord. This is often the case, particularly for young people, who have yet to build up furniture staples and are looking to save by renting a furnished home.”

“However, most renters may not be aware that all furniture and upholstery within a property provided by a landlord must meet certain standards and, if not, it’s the landlord's duty to replace them - not the tenant's. If the furniture that comes with the property is broken and unusable, be sure to question your landlord rather than splash out on new furniture that you may not be able to move to your next home.”

Fire-safe furniture

“Another furniture requirement is that every item must meet fire safety standards. Not only is there a clear safety risk if these standards are not met, but it gives tenants more grounds to demand that furniture is replaced by the landlord, and the tenant does not have to spend excess cash.”

“Every piece of furniture or equipment in a property must be fire-resistant or treated with fire retardant coatings. Either way, this should be detailed on the manufacturer’s label which legally must be attached to the item. If the label is removed or does not indicate that the furniture is fire-resistant, the landlord is legally obliged to remove or replace the item.”

“Equally, mattresses and bed bases must have a permanent label indicating that they meet a safety standard called BS7177. If not, the mattress should be replaced.”

“This policy covers items including:

- Couches and armchairs

- Futons and sofa beds

- Furniture for a nursery

- Beds, headboards and bed bases

- Garden furniture which could be used indoors

- Scatter cushions and fitted covers for items of furniture”

“Remember, it is your right to question your landlord on these matters which could end up saving you money - or even your life.”

Create a thorough inventory or face the consequences down the line

“When you first move into your rented property, your landlord should provide you with an inventory of the property. An inventory should list all of the furniture and appliances within the property with notes on the condition.”

“Unfortunately, many landlords aren’t particularly rigorous with their analysis, so marks and damage to items that were there before your tenancy began may be missed.”

“Despite how small damages may seem, it’s important to note everything and swiftly send an amended inventory back to your landlord. If you fail to highlight these at the start of your tenancy, your landlord can charge you for the damages when you move out because there will be no proof the damage was there before you moved in.”

“Some things to look out for when marking your inventory include:”

- Marks

- Tears in material

- Paint stains

- Appliances not working

- Scratches on the floor or surfaces

“Be as thorough as you can and make sure to date stamp any photos for your inventory. For peace of mind, I would recommend sending the photos to your landlord to serve as proof of the date you took them which you may need in the future.”

Understand your rights when it comes to electricity and gas suppliers

“If you pay for the energy that you use, it is your right to choose your gas or electricity provider. In a time where energy costs are through the roof, it’s important that the decision is yours and not that of the landlord, allowing you to negotiate the best price.”

“There have been occasions where landlords have specified the energy provider that the tenants must use in their contract. Unless the landlord is paying for the gas and electricity, which is quite rare, this is illegal.”

“There may be cases where the landlord expresses a ‘preferred supplier’, but again, this should not stop you from switching suppliers if you wish. However, you should let your landlord know if so.”

Don’t pay for something that isn’t your responsibility to fix

“Many renters, particularly first-timers, naturally are unaware of where the responsibility lies for certain fixtures. If your washing machines, boiler or any kitchen appliances break, should you pay for someone to fix it yourself? The answer in each of these cases is ‘no’.”

“As a general rule of thumb, your landlord is responsible for repairing most appliances that come with a property, as well as permanent elements of the property. This includes:

1. The structure and exterior of the property, including walls, the roof, drains, windows and doors

2. Appliances such as gas pipes, wiring, boilers, radiators and fitted heaters

3. Bathroom items such as sinks, baths toilets and their pipework”

“It’s important that renters keep their flat in a respectable state; however, these repair responsibilities are not something that your landlord can legally charge you for, and cannot be charged via anything in your tenancy agreement.”

Review your tenancy agreement

“In the same way that landlords have certain duties towards those who are living in their property, tenants also have certain standards to uphold - which if breached, could result in a loss of money.”

“Upon receiving your contract, make sure to go over it with a fine-tooth comb. There may be certain elements that are easily missed, such as the requirement to have contents insurance for your home or replace certain items which came with the property when you leave.”

“If you fail to comply with such requirements, this could cost you money later down the line - significantly more than if you had followed the requirements in the first place. If you have any questions about your contract, in relation to this or any other matters, it’s worth raising with a lawyer or Citizens Advice who will be able to help.”

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