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A Guide to Private Renting

By Ricardo Robinson,2014-07-13 17:27
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A Guide to Private Renting

    A GUIDE

    TO

    PRIVATE RENTING

    There are a number of places that you can look for accommodation to rent:

    ; Local newspapers such as The Bolton News, Metro News, Manchester Evening

    news and the Bolton Journal.

    ; Adverts in windows of local news agents and shops.

    ; Letting, Managing or Estate Agents and Property Agents which can be found in

    local directories, however many do have extra administration fees in addition to rent

    and deposit.

    ; Advice Agencies such as Housing Advice Services and Student Services have a

    small list of Private Landlords.

; You could have a joint or individual tenancy.

    ; It may be cheaper or you may get better value for money if you share with a friend.

    However if you do have a joint tenancy and the other person does not pay their

    share of the rent YOU will be liable to pay the whole rent. Also if the joint tenant

    hands in their notice, this will automatically end your tenancy. ; If you both have individual tenancy agreements this will not affect you, but the

    Landlord could move in another person if your flat mate left.

    ; You should be aware that if you are sharing a house with other students and

    one of them finishes the course and takes up employment- all the tenants at

    the house would be liable for Council Tax.

    Rent: How much is it? Can you afford it? Does it cover any bills? When

    should it be paid? Can you claim any Benefits to help?

    Gas/Electric/ Are any of these included in rent or are they to be paid Water: separately? Will you get a bill or are they on meter?

     Do you have access to the meter? Are they card, key or coin

     meters?

    Heating: Is it gas or electric? Does it look safe? Has the Landlord got upto

     Date certificates?

    Cooking Facilities: Do you have to share with anyone else? Who is responsible for

    cleaning? Is it adequate and Hygienic? Is there a fridge? Is there

    hot and cold running water?

    Washing & Toilet Is there hot/cold water for bathing? Are the facilities shared Facilities: and if so with how many others? Who will clean them?

    Furniture: Is it furnished or unfurnished? If it is furnished, is it in good

    condition? Is it adequate for your needs? Can you bring your own

    furniture? Does the furniture meet fire safety regulations?

    Security: Are there adequate locks on doors and windows? Is there a

    smoke alarm?

    Condition: Check the general condition of property and furniture, such as the

    decorations, any repairs, dampness?

    Some Shared Accomodation may be subject to Houses in Multiple Occupation Licencing (HIMO) If in doubt seek advice from the Public Health Unit on tel: 01204 336500

    If you like the property and want to go ahead and the Landlord offers you the property, he can either:

Make an agreement verbally

    or

    Give you a written contract.

    Unless you are living with and sharing accommodation with the Landlord you will almost certainly be an Assured Shorthold tenant and you will have a tenancy whether you have signed a tenancy agreement or not.

    If you share accommodation with your Landlord or a member of his family and it is the landlords only home, you have very little security or rights and are only entitled to “reasonable” notice to leave the property.

Tenancy Agreement

    ; We would advise that you request a written tenancy agreement. If you are not sure

    about the agreement GET ADVICE before you sign anything.

    ; All tenancies are automatically Assured Shorthold Tenancies unless the Landlord

    gives you a notice or includes a declaration in the tenancy agreement to state

    otherwise.

    ; The Landlord does not have to agree an “initial fixed term”, but may do so if you both

    agree. However the Landlord cannot request the tenant leaves before the end of six

    months.

    ; When the tenancy comes to an end the Landlord may agree to a replacement

    tenancy or if he does nothing the tenancy will automatically run from one rent period

    to the next.

    ; The Landlord should also provide you with contact details in case of emergency.

    You have the right to ask a Landlord to give you a written statement stating:

    ; The date the Tenancy Began

    ; When the rent is due

    ; The amount of the rent

    ; The length of any fixed term

    ; How and when the rent may be reviewed

    The Landlord must provide this within 28 days of receiving your request in writing and if he fails to do so he can be prosecuted.

    The Landlord should also provide you with contact details in case of emergencies.

    ; Whether you have a written agreement or not all assured Shorthold tenants have the

    right to use the premises as their home without interference, regardless of anything

    that may be stated within an agreement. This is called having quiet enjoyment of the

    property.

    ; Once your tenancy has commenced the Landlord has no right of access and should

    only enter the premises with your consent and must give a minimum of 24 hours

    notice to inspect the property.

    ; You are protected from illegal eviction and harassment by certain laws.

The Landlord will probably ask for a deposit or rent in advance so that if you cause any

    damage to the property or fall into rent arrears he can take this from the money you have already paid as a deposit.

     th day of April 2007 all deposits taken by Landlords, landlords Representatives or From the 6

    Letting Agents will be subject to a tenancy deposit scheme (TDS). This has been introduced to prevent landlords wrongly withholding part or all of a tenant's deposit, once a tenancy has ended and the tenant has left and to help resolve disputes.

    Landlords or agents will only be able to take a deposit from a tenant if that deposit is protected by a TDS.

The two types of scheme being introduced are:

    ; a custodial scheme, whereby the deposit is held by the scheme during the

    tenancy and during any legal dispute

    ; An insurance-based scheme where the landlord or agent keeps the deposit,

    but the deposit is insured in case of any dispute and thus protected for the

    tenant.

    Either scheme must repay all or part of a deposit, within 10 days of notification, once a tenancy has ended or a dispute has been resolved.

    Under the new rules, landlords will have to comply with one of the two schemes and inform a tenant of the details of how the deposit is protected within 14 days. Unless he does, the landlord will be unable to serve a notice requiring possession of the property without good grounds that must be proven before a Court. All the schemes will offer an alternative dispute resolution, so the parties do not have to resort to going through the Courts.

    ; Where students rent accommodation under an Assured Shorthold tenancy, the

    deposit must be safeguarded under a Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme.

    ; Halls of residence are not let on Assured Shorthold tenancies if they are controlled

    by the University. However, some Universities lease their halls to private companies

    and these may be let on an Assured Shorthold tenancy basis and will therefore be

    subject to the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme.

    ; If in doubt SEEK ADVICE

    In most cases Landlords will be responsible for maintaining the structure and exterior of the property;

    And

    Keeping in repair and proper working order:

    o Toilets

    o Washbasins

    o Sinks

    o Baths

    o other sanitary installations

and for the supplying of:

    o Water

    o Gas

    o Electricity for hot water and any heating

    Landlords are also required to have an annual electric and gas safety check and provide certificates to show this has been done.

    ; Once the tenancy has commenced the Landlord has no rights to enter the property

    without your permission

    ; As a tenant you should give the Landlord reasonable access when they are doing

    repairs

    ; The Landlord should give you at least 24 hours notice so that he can enter the

    property to inspect or carry out repairs

    ; It is good practice to agree on a mutually convenient time and date

    ; It is a good idea to get receipts for your rent or ask your Landlord to complete a rent

    book. If the Landlord will not do this you could pay by cheque so you have a record

    of all payments made.

    ; If a Landlord wants to put up your rent and there is nothing written into your contract

    they must serve you with a formal notice of his intention. If you disagree, seek

    assistance.

    ; A Landlord may ask you to leave or even pursue a court case against you if you fall

    behind with your rent.

    If you want to leave you must give your landlord written notice. If you pay rent weekly, you should give at least 4 weeks notice. If you pay rent monthly, you must give at least a months notice.

    If you are still in your “fixed term”, you can only leave with the agreement of your Landlord or if your tenancy agreement has a “break clause”.

    A Landlord does not have to have a reason to ask you to leave in most circumstances; however he must follow a strict legal procedure.

    ; He must give you a minimum of 2 months written notice and cannot ask you to leave

    until the end of the “fixed term”.

    ; If you are no longer in your “fixed term” or if the end of your “fixed term” is less than

    2 months away, the Landlord must serve you with a “Section 21” notice, which must

    include specific wording and quote specific dates; or

    ; If the Landlord wants you to leave during the “fixed term” because you have got into

    rent arrears of 2 months or more or if you are breaching your tenancy agreement, he

    can serve you with a “Section 8” notice that states the grounds.

    ; Even when these notices have expired, you still have the rights to remain at the

    property and the only person who can legally evict you from the property is a County

    Court Bailiff. This means that the Landlord would have to issue Court proceedings

    against you.

    ; If a Landlord does go to Court you may be liable for the Court Costs.

    ; If the Landlord does not use the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme he can only

    issuing a notice that states the grounds for asking you to leave and not a Section 21

    notice which can be issued for no reason

    ; If the Landlord requests that you vacate the property in any way, we

    recommend that you seek advice immediately.

Any questions?

If you need further guidance you can obtain a more concise publication

    of “A Place of Your Own – A Guide For Private Tenants” from Housing Advice Services

If you have any questions about any of the matters raised or need advice

    and assistance with housing issues, please seek advice immediately.

    You can contact:

HousingAdviceServices

    1 Silverwell Lane

    Bolton

    BL1 1QN

Tel: (01204) 335900

    Email: HousingAdvice@bolton.gov.uk

Drop in times:

Mon 9am to 12:30pm

    Tue/Wed/Fri 9am to 12:00pm

    Thursday 2pm to 6:30pm

Student Services

    The Student Centre

    Eagle Mall

    Deane Road

    Bolton

    BL3 5AB

Tel: (01204) 903733 or Tel. (01204) 903484

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