Tenant tips: Getting on with your new landlord

Posted 19 August 2014

We've all heard the horror stories, but the relationship between landlord and tenant doesn't need to be a strained one, and with these useful tips you can minimise the likelihood of problems arising.

Inspect everything

The keys have been picked up and you're ready to haul the piano up the stairs. Stop! Before moving your possessions, inspect your new home thoroughly. Take dated photographs of anything that doesn't look right, paying particular attention to repainted areas on the walls and any cracks, dents and marks - don't get blamed for things that happened before you moved in.

Don't put it off

Can you feel a breeze when you stand near the window? Is the patch of mould on the bathroom wall getting bigger? If there is something wrong, it is vital to communicate this to your landlord as soon as possible. Putting things off can be dangerous to your health, as well as your relationship with your landlord.

Pay the rent

This shouldn't need to be on the list, but many tenants either pay late or not at all. A reprieve may be granted for first month issues such as accidentally sending your payment to the estate agent, but you will soon be testing the patience of your landlord if this continues. Avoid any complications by setting up a standing order for the money to leave your account 48 hours before payment is due.

Keep on top of the inventory

Being walked around your new home for two hours by an inventory clerk probably won't make your yearly highlights list, but it doesn't have to be a nightmare. The best way to minimise hassle is to keep on top of the inventory list throughout your tenancy, so if you broke three plates that were on the list, ensure that you replace them well in advance of leaving the property. This will be cheaper than picking up the bill when you move out!

Keep a paper trail

Your landlord may have an extensive portfolio of properties, but this doesn't mean you should be ignored when something goes wrong. When you report a problem, communicate in writing as well as verbally. Doing so will keep a clear record of your communication and will put you in a stronger position if a dispute occurs at the end of your tenancy.

Don't lose your temper

The biggest source of concern for tenants is how much of their deposit will be returned at the end of the tenancy. If you feel that you have been wrongly charged or have been overcharged for standard deductions such as cleaning costs, communicate calmly with your landlord both verbally and in writing. Do not lose your temper or escalate the dispute at this stage.

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