I'm moving home soon but I'm not sure what I can expect from my landlord. What should I know?
If you are considering a property but have doubts about your landlord, check out the following resources before handing over any money:
- Rentprofile.co - set up to prevent illegal subletting and fake landlord scams
- Marks Out Of Tenancy - have tenants had problems with your landlord before? (Also, review your last place!)
- In London, a list of agents and landlords who have got into trouble in the past year
If your landlord or agent encourages you to use a "no deposit" option or similar, beware that this will cost you more money in the long term and you can choose to pay a refundable deposit worth up to 5 weeks' rent instead. If the agent doesn’t let you pay a normal deposit, they are breaking the law: report them.
Before you move out, there are several things you can do to avoid disputes over your deposit:
- clean the property to the same condition you found it in
- make good any damage or inform your landlord of this
- return all items to their original position
- ensure that any garden is left in the same condition as at the start of the tenancy
- return all keys
When moving into a new home as a tenant your new landlord should give you:
- a copy of the How to Rent guide
- the property's energy performance certificate
- a valid gas safety certificate (an inspection must take place every year)
- details of where your deposit has been protected
If you don't get one or more of these the landlord cannot evict you on "no fault" grounds, using Section 21. Knowing that your landlord has made a mistake is valuable information, so get advice before telling them.
Your landlord must also have electrical installations inspected every five years, provide you with a copy, and complete remedial work in 28 days or less if dangerous.
Your landlord may have an inventory made as a record of the contents and condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. This is so they can identify any damage that might need to be paid out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy. Whether or not they do this, you should protect yourself from unfair deductions from your deposit by taking your own photos of any pre-existing damage and sending these to your landlord as soon as possible.
Take meter readings as soon as you move in and also when moving out. This prevents you paying for energy that was consumed when you weren't living in the property. By having a record of each amount, the energy supplier can tell how much energy you have used throughout your tenancy and bill you accurately. This can also mean you might get back any overpaid bills when you close the account.
Also check if your landlord needs a licence, which depends on how many people live in the property and where it is. If they're supposed to have a licence but do not, you may be able to claim a repayment of rent. Your council should have a public register of licensed homes to check - let us know if yours doesn't.
We have factsheets on ending a tenancy and starting a new tenancy available here.