When entering into a tenancy agreement, it is essential that all parties have done everything possible to protect themselves throughout the term of the agreement. Often, Tenant’s are not prepared nor do they understand all the terms of the agreement and sign without fully knowing what they are signing.
Below, we have listed what a Tenant should do before the tenancy starts. If some of these obligations are not met at the start of entering a tenancy agreement, then some rights which may come useful at a later stage, will be invalid.
Ensure your tenancy agreement protects you
Often, the Landlord will present you a tenancy agreement with most clauses to protect the Landlord more so than the Tenant. However, it is important to ensure these clauses are fair and that there are also clauses to protect the Tenant.
For example, a clause about the protection of the deposit or accidental damage. Or a clause about rights for Tenants if the tenancy is terminated etc. Are there any break clauses etc.
You would need to check that the agreement upholds your rights as a Tenant and you would need to request/draft necessary amendments if this is not the case. We recommend that a Tenant see’s a solicitor before signing anything.
Ensure your Landlord provides you with an EPC
Your Landlord should provide you with an Energy Performance Certificate EPC. This document shows the efficiency of the property.
This document demonstrates the value of the property and if the property is not very efficient, you may be able to negotiate the rent price.
If you are not provided with the EPC by the date you move into your property, it would be worth informing the Landlord of this in writing.
Ensure your deposit is protected
Your Landlord will ask you for a deposit and they will need to get this deposit protected.
This is for the Landlord to do, but you should ask him/her for a copy of the protection scheme certificate. If this deposit. is protected, you will be entitled to the return of your deposit so long as the property is in good condition when you leave.
You can find out whether your deposit is protected by contacting the deposit protection service.
You should ensure that the tenancy deposit is not more than 5 weeks worth of rent. If it is, speak to a solicitor and also ask the Landlord how they calculated this sum.
Ensure you have checked everything before renting
There are a number of things you need to make sure you have done before entering the agreement with the Landlord:
- Go over the tenancy agreement with a solicitor
- Check the length of the tenancy
- Check whether the deposit is protected
- Inspect health and safety of property There is an expectation of the Tenant to know what they are entering into before signing the tenancy agreement. To ensure you are covered you can follow the ‘how to rent guide’ which should be provided by your Landlord.
Review the property
Before signing your tenancy agreement, ensure the property is clean and safe.
If the agreement is signed by yourself, you may be agreeing that it is in a safe condition to live in.
If there is anything you notice about the property which would need to be attended to, you will need to contact the Landlord and ask them to have this amended before you move in.
By signing the tenancy agreement, you agree that you are happy with the condition and ready to move it. If later there is something you notice, the Landlord may argue that you had the opportunity to inspect before you moved in.
If you are not sure if you have take the necessary steps and you do not want to sign the agreement until you are sure, we advise that you run your tenancy agreement by a solicitor first.
Here is a summarised checklist:
- Check terms of agreement are fair.
- Ensure the Landlord provides Tenant with Energy Performance Certificate.
- Check if the deposit has been proceed via the link provided above.
- Check list of things to do before signing agreement.
- Ensure property is safe before moving in.
Need more advice?
We do free private and confidential initial consultations, so please give us a call if you have any questions on 01234 810786.