We’ve said goodbye to 2015 and whether or not you had a ball last year or you’re hoping for better days, it’s always worth having a think about what New Year’s resolutions might make your life more exciting/efficient/easier now 2016 has arrived. Rather than focusing on losing weight or earning more, we’re looking specifically at New Year’s renting resolutions for UK tenants.
Know your renting rights
For example, did you know that revenge evictions are now illegal in the UK? Are you aware of what a landlord needs to do to protect your deposit? Are you on top of the inventory process, check out and check in, and do you understand why it’s so important to do it? As a responsible tenant you need to understand your rights and then take steps to make sure they’re respected so that landlords don’t feel like they can walk all over existing rules.
Be a good tenant
We get a lot of complaints about landlords and agents via our forums and, to be honest, a lot of them – unfortunately – have grounds. However, it’s worth remembering that bad tenants exist too and being a good tenant can take you a long way towards a positive relationship with your landlord and one that can see you through tough times such as not quite being able to make your rent one month. It might even help you avoid disputes when it comes to the return of the deposit. What do we mean by being a good tenant? Don’t damage the property, don’t disturb the neighbours, pay your rent and notify your landlord of any required repairs as soon as they arise.
Yes, rents are on the rise and if you’ve got a space sitting empty in your house – whether you’re going away for a period of time and don’t want your room unoccupied or you’re being resourceful and thinking there’s enough space for a bed in the lounge – remember that subletting is a breach of your tenancy agreement. If you really want to sublet then get the landlord’s permission and make sure the rent is being paid direct to the landlord and not to you.
Resist the landlord/agent ‘reality distortion field’
This is the warped idea that many agents and landlords seem to have that landlord and tenant law doesn’t apply to them or that they can pretty much do what they want, despite the obligations in a tenancy agreement. Often this arises in a situation such as deposit deductions, where an agent may insist that tenants cannot dispute these deductions but must pay them when of course the truth is that there is always a right to question deductions with the deposit protection scheme or the courts. Don’t get sucked in this year, do your research and don’t respond to scare tactics.
Get involved in changing the rental sector
While many tenants keep their heads down, waiting for a time when they can buy and be done with landlords forever, the reality is that many of us will never make it onto the housing ladder so it’s worth getting involved in trying to change UK renting. Lobby your MP for changes such as longer tenancies and capping rising rents and provide the benefit of your experiences to others via our forums.