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A Tenant’s Guide to Sorting Out Broadband

What’s the first thing that you want to be able to do when you move into your new accommodation? Get online? It’s your communication, entertainment, and it may even be your means of earning a living.

An Internet connection in your home is part of your basic needs. So, it’s very important that you talk though the details with your landlord. Especially since the rules about broadband in rented property are not well defined.

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Is broadband a legal requirement?

Some landlords may set up broadband for their tenants, but this is not a legal requirement. In fact, telephone, television and Internet connections are all things that a landlord doesn’t necessarily need to provide you with.

If you find yourself in the position of having to sort the broadband yourself, then it’s definitely worth shopping around to get the best deal rather than going for the first provider that presents itself.

Keep in mind that although it’s not their responsibility, any installation that requires drilling or other modifications to the property will need to receive the landlord’s permission.

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What if your landlord doesn’t offer the provider or the package that you want?

In order to make their properties more attractive, some landlords are offer internet that is up and running and is included as part of the rent. This is very attractive in one respect – you don’t have to wait in for an engineer to arrive and you don’t have to wait a week or more until it is finally set up.

However, it may also mean that you don’t get the service that is right for you.

You may well feel that you want to shop around and choose the provider yourself. You may also want to choose the package that is best suited to your needs. If you are considering moving into a property where the internet is included as part of the rent, you need to be absolutely clear about what package and provider you’re going to use and whether or not it is appropriate for you.

Have this conversation with your landlord before you sign the tenancy agreement. Many landlords will allow you to switch provider once you move in, but it might take a few weeks for the new internet router to arrive and start running. However, if you are not happy with the existing package and the landlord will not allow you to switch provider, then it might be a deal breaker.

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What deal is right for me?

Not all broadband deals are available in all areas, so you need to go online to see what’s on offer and what speed you can get. Don’t pay for more than you need.

Standard broadband speeds of up to 17Mbps should be adequate for ordinary usage. Similarly, there’s no need to pay for unlimited data unless you are running multiple devices and intend to do a lot of uploading and downloading. If you feel your broadband speed is not as fast as was advertised, you can easily check it online.

If you’re working from home, do a lot of online gaming or streaming, you should look into optic fiber. If you start your broadband at entry level you can always upgrade, whereas downgrading isn’t usually permitted.

How can I save on my broadband?

It’s often cheaper to get a broadband and phone deal together. Or you may want to consider a broadband and TV package with Sky or Virgin Media. Having one provider for multiple services simplifies things , especially if you want to add extras to your contract. Package deals are always more cost effective than individual contracts with multiple service providers.

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What should I remember to check?

Look carefully at the length of the contract that you are entering into. If you are uncertain about the length of time that you will stay in the property then you might want to opt for a short contract. Some service providers may allow the next tenant to inherit the contract from you, but this will require negotiations with all sides, which will be time-consuming and can be nerve-wracking. If any of the sides doesn’t agree, the broadband company may impose penalties for early termination of your contract.

If you are tempted by a cheap introductory offer, make sure that you are happy to pay the charges that come into force once the introductory offer ends. You should also look out for hidden charges such as line rental, set up fees and connection charges.

If you do your research carefully, before you move in, you should be able to have the broadband that best suits you at the best possible price, right from the get-go.

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What if there’s no broadband access at the property?

Broadband access is a reasonable expectation and any landlord who fails to recognise this is only going to appeal to a very small number of prospective tenants.

If there is an existing landline at the property then accessing standard broadband shouldn’t require anything more than plugging in your provider’s modem. However, if you are looking to have high speed broadband with fibre optic cable then it will require installation. Technicians may well want to do this the simplest way and that may not necessarily be the most attractive.

Once again, it’s about having a proper conversation with your landlord before you sign anything and certainly before any work starts. No reasonable landlord is likely to object to the installation of high-speed broadband but they may well wish to oversee the work to ensure that the installation is not detrimental to the appearance of the property.

If the property doesn’t have a phone line, and the landlord will not agree to any sort of installation, you can opt for Internet that doesn’t require a phone line, like a 3G / 4G based connection. This will solve most problems with your landlord, as it’s completely individual and has no installation requirements. However, mobile connection is widely dependent on the quality of your signal and is usually more expensive than landline or fiber optic connections.

Disclaimer

This article is provided as a guide. Any information should be used for research purposes and not as the base for taking legal action. The Tenants' Voice does not provide legal advice and our content does not constitute a client-solicitor relationship.

We advise all tenants to act respectfully with their landlords and letting agents and seek a peaceful resolution to problems with their rented property. For more information, explore the articles in our Managing your home category.

The Tenants' Voice works in conjunction with Deposit Recovery Claims to assist tenants.

If you experience problems with your tenancy deposit, have disrepair in your rented property or suspect that your landlord should have a licence to rent your property but does not have one then you can receive a free consultation by calling our advice service: Call Tenant Assist on 0333 344 3788.

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