Saturday, 16 December 2017

Talking Property: pitfalls of private renting and how to avoid them...

Talking Property: pitfalls of private renting and how to avoid them...

WHILE a large proportion of the private rental sector is doing everything by the book, unfortunately there is still a minority that are not, writes Zoe Thrush of Romans.

Just last week, Landlord Today magazine reported that two rogue landlords in Reading were jointly fined £14,000 for poor housing standards.

By forgoing an agent, private tenants could be risking their health and their hard-earned cash.

It’s with this in mind, that we’ve put together a list of potential pitfalls and how to look out for them.

Being unaware of tenants’ and landlords’ rights and responsibilities, it’s important to remember that not every landlord is an experienced property tycoon — many landlords are accidental.

Often unknowingly, private landlords can neglect to fulfil their legal responsibilities.

Our advice to tenants letting through a private landlord is to swot up on your legal knowledge and ensure you are well-versed in what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant.

In the meantime, here are a few potential pitfalls to watch out for...

1. Fake
landlord
scams

In a recent
survey from
RentProfile,
a little under
half of the respondents claimed to be unaware of fake landlord scams.

The scams operate with fake landlords advertising non-existent properties on free websites such a Gumtree and convincing prospective tenants to transfer deposits via online banking. To avoid getting caught out by this type of scam, do not transfer funds to a landlord without viewing the property.

If there is absolutely no way you can carry out a viewing in person, avoid landlords who are not part of a Client Money Protection scheme.

This ensures funds are placed into a separate bank account, protecting tenants against theft, fraud and misappropriation.

2. Being unable
to get the
full deposit
back from
the landlord

You’ve come to the end of your tenancy, left the home as you found it, and yet the landlord is refusing to relinquish your deposit.

While it’s standard protocol for a letting agent to take an inventory upon check-in and place deposits into a tenant deposit scheme, inexperienced landlords are unaware of the importance of these elements and may neglect to carry out these vital steps.

To avoid disagreements over deposits, insist that the landlord carries out an inventory check and ask for proof that your funds are being placed in a recognised deposit scheme.

3. Repairs and
damage to the
property not
being dealt
with quickly
or efficiently

By ensuring your landlord has the proper insurance and gas and electricity certifications and either lives locally or has an emergency contact, you can reduce the risk of things going wrong and having long waits for repairs.

Before you move in, ask the landlord who the emergency contact is and roughly how long you can expect to wait for a response.

To find out more about our tenant services, please visit www.romans.co.uk/renting

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