The process of getting a rented property seems to be easier than ever. People can now search for multiple properties online from the comfort of their own home. However, some landlords and agencies have deceived renters by using pictures of the property that are entirely different. Many landlords have been highly criticised for renting out mouldy homes to potential tenants and failing to provide them with important safety details during the viewings. It is important that renters know their rights so that incidents like these can be avoided.
An Investigation Into the Standards of Renting
The consumer group Which? secretly investigated 30 rental property viewings across the UK. The aim was to assess the conditions of the flats against how they appeared on the listings. Investigators were provided with a list of questions to ask the letting agents. This was to check that they were following health and safety rules.
Letting Agents and Landlords are Letting Down Their Tenants
Overall, the investigation discovered that 20% of the homes had issues with damp. In one property, the bathtub had significant amounts of black mould present, despite the fact the pictures used on the listing showed an immaculate bathroom.
When questioned, one letting agent simply stated that the mould could “happen in any flat”. He also added that the landlord might not take any action unless tenants asked for it to be fixed in their contract. Another letting agent told an investigator that he couldn’t comment about a damp stain on the carpet because he didn’t have the “technical expertise” to work out whether it was a damp problem.
Out of the 30 viewings, eight were rated “poor” for answers to questions on property maintenance and repairs. None of the agents were able to commit to fixing any of the issues. Overall, they showed little knowledge about what could be done about it.
Essential Things To Remember Before Renting
As the number of people privately rented accommodation in the UK is at record highs, it is important for tenants to be aware of the following information:
- The Tenancy Agreement
A tenancy agreement is a contract between you and the landlord and usually lasts six to 12 months. It is essential that the agreement includes your details, the landlord’s details, the duration of your tenancy from the start to the agreed finish date. The payments that are expected should always be included as well as the services your landlord will provide. Before signing the agreement, make sure that you read the entire document carefully to avoid any unsuspected charges.
- Avoid Letting Fees
Almost two years after letting fees were banned, many tenants are still facing high letting fees. However, there are a number of websites and online estate agents that can help people connect with their landlords directly.
- Always Ask About Maintenance Work
The investigation showed that many letting agents brushed off questions about maintenance, with many outlining that the necessary work would be carried before the tenant moved in. Tenants should avoid this type of verbal agreement, and repairs should be made conditional as a special clause in the tenancy agreement.