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While you may hope to purchase a new home quickly, the state of the housing market may mean you can’t find exactly what you want to buy, you’re gazumped on your offer or you get stuck in a chain that gets broken.

If you need to sell your existing home quickly or you must move locations due to a new job offer, it may be that you need to find a rental property in the meantime.

You might focus on the location of the rental, such as the neighbourhoods nearby or local amenities but you should also check the house is what you’re expecting.

Here are the most important things to check as a new tenant:

Write an inventory

The first thing you need to do, if you’re not given one, is to complete an inventory of everything in the house. That includes anything broken, missing from the kitchen cupboards, or not working properly – e.g., a loose toilet seat.

It’s important to note that this isn’t a legal obligation, but you can ask the landlord to sign your copy and ask an independent witness to sign it too. It is preferable to take photographs as proof of evidence.

You are likely to be charged for these items when you vacate the property if there is no evidence that they were in that state before you arrived.

Gas safety checks

It is always a good idea to check and healthy and safety issues that may affect you and your family during your occupancy term.

A gas safety check ensures all the gas appliances in your rental property are fastened to the pipework and burning gas correctly.

Your landlord should be able to show you a CP12 Gas Safety Certificate or Gas Safety Record to prove these checks have been carried out, to guard against things like gas leaks.

Ask for repairs or improvements

If you want the walls painted or the carpets professionally cleaned before you move in, it’s a good idea to have these completed before you sign your tenancy agreement or make any payments.

You should also test smoke alarms, white goods, and the water pressure yourself before signing the dotted line as these will need instant remedies.

Check for pests

You don’t want to move into a new apartment to find you’ve got some housemates that you didn’t bargain for.

Ants, wasps, and cockroaches can be major problems, so you should be vigilant in looking for random creepy crawlies or nests as you look around.

Chances are if you can smell something nice it’s masking something sinister. If you spot any sticky traps, they may be an indicator that all is not as clean as it appears.

 Find out where your deposit will be held

By law, landlords must hold their tenants’ deposit in a despot protection scheme.

This means that deposits taken or carried over on new tenancies must be protected in a government-approved scheme within 30 days.

If they fail to do this within the allotted time, they can’t serve notice to end the tenancy until:

  • They’ve returned the full deposit
  • Returned a smaller amount with agreement from the tenant
  • A claim for compensation has been brought against the landlord for non-compliance and has been awarded or withdrawn cancelled by court
Sam Allcock

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