Let’s face it, renting a property is the easy way to getting the perfect home, but just because the home you’ve chosen is chocolate box perfect, doesn’t mean the coming months will be if your landlord isn’t all you need them to be.
So how do you avoid becoming a statistic in the war against disreputable landlords that are only after your money?
- Don’t rent anything without a contract in writing. Legally it outlines what you as a tenant are responsible for, but it also states what the Landlord is required to do.
- Ensure your contract protects your security deposit. It should be placed in the Deposit Protection Scheme.
- Check to see if your Landlord or Agency is a member of one of several guilds and associations, such as Landlords Guild (one of the most popular). Some local councils also run their own accreditation schemes.
- Use an agency. Yes going through a middle man tends to mean you pay more, but it also means the landlord is looking to protect his property and abide by the current laws. The agency will do a lot of the work for the Landlord. So in essence you have more people keeping things legal and above board. Be sure the letting agent is a member of one of the three redress schemes. Unfortunately you will need to search each site separately.
- Don’t be afraid to ask for testimonials. This is a business deal between you and another person. You’d want references from a potential employee, so why not your landlord?
- Check out the forums on social networks. Recommendations are the very best way of knowing how well the Landlord has treated former tenants, it’s also a very good way of finding properties that are available before they come on the market.
- Always communicate in writing. It gives you evidence should you ever need it, and reassurance when you receive a reply that the issue will be dealt with.
Of course, no one is ever truly ‘the perfect’ anything. We all have our foibles, and the occasional off day. More important than ‘finding’ the perfect landlord is building the perfect landlord/tenant relationship. Any reasonably decent landlord can be the perfect landlord for you. The best way to start that is to be the perfect tenant. After all, they’ll have every reason to treat you better if they would prefer to keep you around.