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United Kingdom > Property

United Kingdom

Dealing With Landlords In London - What Expats Need To Know Before Renting

Published Tuesday November 25, 2014 (04:41:32)


Expats can choose to rent an apartment in London either through a letting agent or privately. Letting agencies usually take care of the framing of the tenancy contract and deposit. The Association of Residential Letting Agents must regulate agents and you can find listings on the association’s website. Those who choose to rent privately need to deal with a landlord. While not all landlords are difficult, there are some who may refuse to abide by the tenancy contract. This occurs due to the fact that landlords in London are unregulated.

Evaluating the property

The process of renting an apartment begins with a property search that takes into account location, proximity to the workplace, size and price. Once this step is done, you can request your agent or landlord to arrange a viewing of the apartment. You can do a thorough evaluation of the property and clear any doubts. Remember to check the heating system and how it works. It is mandatory for landlords to provide instructions. Also check the water heating system and ensure that the apartment is properly insulated. Landlords must produce a gas safety certificate as boilers can emit harmful carbon monoxide. Learn how to operate the electricity mains and check the number of sockets. This is also a chance to examine the appliances in the apartment and inquire from the landlord if there are any instructions for them. Finally, check if the property is clean and well-maintained. If you still have doubts, inquire about the landlord from the other tenants. This will give you a fair idea about how smooth the tenant-landlord relationship is. You can even visit the place again at a different time to check the traffic around the area. Another important point to consider is whether any new buildings or roads are being planned in the area, as this could have an impact on your living conditions.

Before moving into your new apartment, you can have your mail redirected to the new address and also update your contact details at the bank or utility companies.

Rent and other charges

Rent may be charged on a quarterly, monthly or weekly basis. You will also need to pay a deposit that is refunded at the end of your tenancy. Your landlord is required to place the deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. In case there are any damages, the costs will be deducted from the deposit. In some cases, the rent is inclusive of bills. If they are not, you are required to pay them separately. These include council tax and utility bills such as electricity, water and gas. Some buildings require tenants to pay communal cleaning charges.

The landlord is responsible for insuring the property, but some tenants choose to get contents insurance to cover their possessions.

Rights of tenants

It is advisable to draw up a written tenancy agreement, as expats may not be familiar with the legal system in the United Kingdom. An Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement is the most common type of tenancy agreement. It allows tenants to occupy the apartment for 6 to 12 months, after which it becomes periodic. Landlords cannot vacate a tenant or re-possess the apartment during the specified period. They also have to provide two months notice after the period ends. If a tenant wants to leave during the fixed period, he or she must give a month’s notice, failing which the full term charge is levied. Your landlord should provide his contact details and also a set of keys in case there is a need to change the locks. He must also give you enough notice before visiting the property after you move in.

While it is important to ensure that landlords meet the terms of the tenancy agreement and maintain a smooth relationship with tenants; there are also some responsibilities that tenants must fulfill. This includes paying the rent and other bills on time. You can do this through an automatic payment system. Tenants must also avoid inconveniencing others in the building. Regarding the apartment itself, it becomes your responsibility as a tenant to maintain the property, properly dispose of waste and also clean up after your pets, if any. If any maintenance is required, you can request the landlord to carry it out at the earliest.

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