Advice on renting privately

Here are some useful contacts and things to know about renting a home privately.

  1. Is the landlord or letting agent accredited by the Midland Landlord Accreditation Scheme, or a member of a professional body (such as ARLA, NALS, ARMA, NAEA, or RICS)?
  2. Most rentals are on an ‘assured shorthold tenancy’ basis, usually six monthly. This means that after this time, the landlord can either renew or end the tenancy.
  3. You may be entitled to housing benefit under the Local Housing Allowance.
  4. Always view a property before you sign any agreements, to ensure that it is up to and acceptable standard. You may wish to take a friend or relative to look at the property with you.
  5. Make sure you are aware of who is responsible for which repairs in the property
  6. Always check what other bills you need to pay as well as the rent
  7. If there is an inventory (a list of furniture etc. that is part of the property), check that all items listed are in the property and not damaged or broken. If the list does not tally with what is there, make the landlord aware straight away and agree a revised list
  8. Ensure you have a written tenancy agreement and that you understand it fully. Don’t sign anything you don’t understand. If you are not sure ask the landlord.
  9. Check that gas and electrical appliances have been safety checked. Gas appliances should have a gas safety check certificate.
  10. Has the landlord supplied you with an Energy Performance Certificate?
  11. The Homestamp Consortium has produced a mobile App -‘Check Before You Rent’ - the definitive guide to use when looking to rent property.  

    Check Before You Rent has three sections:

    A. What you need to know before viewing the property - all the questions to ask before viewing a prospective property

    B. What to look out for when viewing the property – you can use the app when viewing a potential home to look for hazards or questions you need to ask.

    C. What you should check before you sign any contracts for the property - a checklist of all the areas you need to consider before you sign any contract.

    The App records information for prospective tenants to review findings and decide if they want to rent. If they feel that the property is of concern there is an option to report it to the Local Authority.

    Check Before You Rent has been produced in association with WMBUS - a public housing partnership group made up of local authorities and housing providers developing the best use of housing stock across the West Midlands.

    The App is available as a free download for both Apple and Android devices.

What will be expected of you as a tenant?

  1. Pay the rent promptly
  2. Do not cause any anti-social behaviour
  3. Do not cause any damage to furniture, fixtures or fittings belonging to the landlord
  4. Allow the landlord access to your accommodation at reasonable times to carry out repairs etc.
  5. If you want to leave, you must give the landlord the required amount of notice
  6. Abide by all the terms and conditions of your tenancy agreement

What you can expect from your landlord?

  1. Keep the property maintained to an acceptable standard of repair
  2. Give you reasonable notice to access property for repairs and maintenance
  3. Give you the correct notice period if they require you to leave the property
  4. Collect the rent regularly and provide receipts