Being a responsible tenant

While landlords are laden with obligations to ensure their tenants have a safe, pleasant environment in which to live, renters themselves also have many responsibilities.

Tenants who fail to deliver on their obligations could face hefty deposit deductions or even eviction, so it’s worth being aware what is required of you before you move in.

Whitegates has come up with seven responsibilities you are certain to face as a new tenant, but we recommend you read your tenancy agreement in full to be fully aware of what is expected of you in your new home.

1. Make sure you cover your bills

While paying your rent might seem like an obvious responsibility, tenants, especially those who fail to read the tenancy agreement, sometimes don’t realise they are responsible for utility bills at their new property.

Unless your agreement says otherwise, you will be responsible for things like gas, electric, water and council tax so it pays to sort these out early with utility companies and the local authority.

Take your meter readings as soon as you move in and forward these on to gas and electric suppliers. Let the local council know that you have moved in so they can calculate an accurate council tax bill for you.

2. Sort your contents insurance

‘Doesn’t the landlord cover that?’ No, they do not! You are responsible for taking care of the things you own while living in the property and that means contents insurance is highly recommended.

Tenants looking to avoid extra expense will often bypass this insurance, but for just a few pounds each month, you could be protecting your worldly possessions against theft or damage.

Whitegates always recommends that its tenants take out a policy. While your landlord is obligated to provide buildings insurance, they are not responsible for the items you own.

3. Spick and span

According to research, lettings agents cite poor cleanliness as the biggest reason for landlords withholding tenant deposits.

And yet keeping a rental property in good condition is nothing more difficult than a little elbow grease once a week.

Your tenancy inventory will have recorded the cleanliness of the property when you moved in and this is the condition it should be in when you move out.

Focus on areas like the kitchen and bathrooms as these tend to attract grime more than other areas. Stay on top of things – it will save you a whole lot of effort at the end of your tenancy and could mean your deposit comes back to you in full.

4. Respect your surroundings

As well as poor cleanliness, landlords can also eat into your deposit if you cause damage to the property outside of the fair wear and tear parameters.

Treat the property as you would if you owned it and keep damage to a minimum – both inflicted by yourself and the people you invite into the property.

If an accident does happen, tell your Whitegates agent or the landlord straight away. You’re far more likely to receive a sympathetic ear if you own up early on than if you simply brush the problem under the carpet.

5. Speak up about issues

Some tenants feel unable to report issues with things like the boiler or pipework in case they are blamed.

But one of your responsibilities to both the landlord and the property is to report issues straight away.

That way, the landlord or your Whitegates agent can arrange for qualified tradespeople to fix things as quickly as you would expect.

6. Keep noise to a minimum

On top of being respectful to your landlord and their property, you should also show the level of courtesy to your neighbours.

Tenants are entitled to ‘quiet enjoyment’ of their rental property, without the landlord turning up unannounced and your neighbours should be able to enjoy their homes without you causing an unnecessary disturbance to their lives.

Again, show respect at all times and consider the other people around the property. Keep your bins clean and tidy to keep pests away and park your car appropriately, so as not to cause a problem for those next door.

7. Off on holiday?

Then tell your landlord! They may wish to increase security at the property while you are away, which can only be a good thing for you and your possessions.

They may also need to know if the property is empty for a period of time so they can let their buildings insurance provider know, or if they need to keep the heating running to avoid major issues like frozen pipes in the colder months.

Communication and respect are the key factors behind any positive landlord / tenant relationship.

Please refer to your Whitegates Terms of Business document or speak to your local Whitegates branch if you have any questions

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Keep hold of your rental deposit

The biggest financial commitment you make as a tenant renting a new property is your deposit. Make sure you get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy with our tips.

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