Your rental home is often your biggest financial commitment, and it comes with a lot of paperwork. It’s important to fully understand exactly what each document is for before you sign, so you know what to look for. At Ezylet we help thousands of tenants move into properties up and down the country, so we have a lot of experience with rental paperwork. Here are the main documents and what you need to know about them.
This is the contract between you and the landlord, setting out the responsibilities you have in regards to the property. This will always contain basic details like how much rent you have to pay and whether any bills are included, as well as any other responsibilities you have. Some agreements contain clauses for cleaning or insuring the property, so read carefully to see what you’re expected to do.
Landlords can’t simply write whatever clauses they want and enforce them once you’ve signed; any unfair clauses in these documents are legally unenforceable. In addition, there are several “implied rights” which apply to tenancy agreements, such as the landlord’s responsibility to carry out repairs and to not bother their tenants. Even if the agreement does not mention these, they still apply!
After the tenancy agreement, this is the most important document. This details the condition of the property at the time you move in and will be compared to its condition when you move out - you’ll be charged to repair any damage. Make sure you carefully check this before signing and make any amendments within a week of moving in.
Your damage deposit must be held by a third party organisation such as the Deposit Protection Scheme, and your landlord must let you know where it is being kept. At the end of the tenancy you will need to agree to any deductions your landlord wants to make - they can’t simply decide to take your money without your say-so.
“How to Rent”
This brochure outlines all the basic information you need to know as a private tenant in England. It gives details on what to expect during your tenancy and what options you have if things go wrong; it’s worth holding on to this if you’re a first-time tenant.
Every rental property must have regular safety checks performed on any electrical systems and gas equipment. Make sure that your property has an up-to-date certificate in place for items like boilers or cookers. You should also be given a copy of the property’s Energy Performance Certificate, which details how energy-efficient the property is; this lets you plan your likely monthly spend on utility bills.
Managing Your Paperwork
This covers the most important documents you’ll need to handle when moving into a property. It’s important that you understand what each document is for; it’s easy to become confused when handling lots of different contracts and agreements, so make sure you know what each piece of paper is for. Keep a copy of anything you sign, too, so that you can always check your rights during the tenancy.