Property specialist Kate Faulkner has urged tenants to conduct research into properties before renting, in a guide funded by the TDS Charitable Foundation.
The guide is designed to provide information that any prospective tenant may need, including the rights and responsibilities of all parties. Produced with support from the TDS Charitable Foundation, the guide is the latest in a series of reports by Faulkner designed to raise standards in the private rented sector and educate everyone involved in it.
It sets out the journey of renting, providing insight and tips throughout, including background on the letting agent/landlord, managing issues and the check-out procedure.
Faulkner said: “Due to a current lack of regulation and low levels of enforcement of the law in this sector, tenants need to spend more time researching on how to rent a property legally and safely, before they fall in love with a property. Helping tenants spot the rogues beforehand has the potential to drive out the people who make it hard for those acting responsibly.
“You wouldn’t buy a car without conducting thorough research first, so why would you rent a property without doing the same? This guide provides information on how to go about doing this. Taking less than 30 minutes to read, it could save a tenant a lot of headaches further down the line.
“One of the best pieces of advice I could give is that tenants should ensure that that their agent is an accredited member of a self-regulating body such as RICS or ARLA in the same way that they’d check their holiday was protected by ATOL or ABTA. Ideally landlords should be members of a landlords’ association, such as the RLA or a local authority or student accommodation landlord scheme.
“Tenants should expect a property where they can see the EPC up-front, so they know their likely utility bills and there should be no damp visible either. Legally let properties must have up-to-date gas safety certificates and ideally carbon monoxide detectors too. If renting a home (as opposed to a room), their deposit should be safely protected in a recognised scheme such as TDS. If tenants walk away from sub-standard properties, poor landlords will quickly get the message and make amends as void periods are their worst nightmare. Tenants do have a role to play in refusing to accept illegal behaviour from landlords or tolerating properties below acceptable living standards and should report to their local authority any properties which fail to meet the correct standards.
“The private rented sector is often accused of being like the ‘wild west’ but if tenants know what to look for in an agent and landlord as well as what is really acceptable property standard wise, this reputation can be quickly suppressed.”
TDS is run in partnership with key bodies in the private rented sector: Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS), Association of Residential Letting Agents (Propertymark ARLA), National Association of Estate Agents (Propertymark NAEA) and the Residential Landlords Association (RLA).
The TDS Charitable Foundation is funded by the Tenancy Deposit Scheme and aims to promote better standards in the private rented sector.
The full report is available at: bit.ly/TDSreport6