How to make sure your landlord isn’t ripping you off
As a tenant, ensure your landlord is treating you fairly. This episode of Moneywise TV highlights what your legal rights are to ensure you get what you are entitled to.
The relationship between landlord and tenant can be tricky but don't let your landlord's supposed superior position distract you from your entitlements as a tenant.
Don't sign anything you don't understand. Your tenancy agreement should be in clear, jargon–free language. Also, make sure you get at least one copy of the contract and remember at this stage you can negotiate specific terms with the landlord.
An inventory meanwhile lists everything in the property, from fixtures and fittings to cutlery, and their condition when you move in, and then again when you leave. Your landlord may offer to cover the whole cost or you can split it. For added backup take photos too.
The landlord is responsible for the upkeep and safety of a property so if any major work needs to be carried out always contact the landlord first. It's their responsibility and paying for maintenance work then trying to claim back isn't advised as your landlord can actually refuse to pay in this instance.
Be sensible about day–to–day things though. Tenants are expected to behave in a 'tenant–like manner', which in non–legal speak means use a bit of common sense: for example if the batteries on the smoke detector die replace them.
You should also make sure the property is kept secure, reasonably warm and ventilated.
Landlords can use part or all of your deposit to cover the costs for any damage. There are three different deposit schemes and your landlord is obliged to put your money into one of these and send through any information, within 14 days of receiving money.
Landlords cannot put up rent more than once a year. They also can't suddenly decide to boot you out of the property before the contract ends. They have to request a formal surrender of the tenancy and it's up to the tenants to accept this or not. Usually some form of financial compensation to cover the hassle will be included – and the same would apply if you wanted to end a contract early.
Adding a break clause gives either tenant or landlord the option to give two months notice to leave a contract early. This is fairly simple to add in and can either be done when you first sign your tenancy agreement or whenever your contract is up for negotiation.
You are legally entitled to your landlord's contact details and address, within 21 days of a formal request.
Landlords have to give 24 hours notice in writing before entering your property but provided they act reasonably, there's no reason you can't allow access on a more informal basis.
A more relaxed approach to matters should ease landlord-tenant relations and if you can show your landlord that you are willing to be reasonable and co-operate then hopefully you can get your landlord on your good side.