Don’t just check out the property – check your landlord’s credentials too!

Looking for a property is exciting, you have decided to move home and it is also a stressful time, renting a home is now a lifestyle choice and gives you lots of options, and flexibility. The great news is that the standard of properties available in the private rental sector has improved dramatically over the past ten years. However it is easy to get carried away in the excitement of finding a new home and not to look at the small print on the contract or indeed the credentials of the landlord or agent that is issuing the small print. Most landlords and agents are respectable people, who take pride in their properties and want to find the right tenant and have a successful business relationship with them. They provide the property in good condition and you the tenant pay rent for the property and at the end of the tenancy return the property to them in good condition. However while you are looking at the property and asking questions about the property it is worth adding a few more about the person you are renting the property from. All new rental properties have to have an energy performance certificate (EPC) prior to the property being marketed. If the property you are viewing is being shown to you by an agent, the energy performance statistics may be shown on the agent’s details or on the advertisement on the website. However if it is a private landlord ask to see the certificate. This will give you an indication of how much it will cost to heat and run your potential new home. If the landlord does not have an EPC they are breaking the law. If they are breaking this law you need to ask yourself are there other laws being broken too? It could be a deciding factor! Does the property have a gas supply? If so ask to see a copy of the gas safety certificate, all rental properties have to be inspected every twelve months and a copy of the current certificate should be left in the property. Next ask what deposit protection scheme your deposit will be placed in. You landlord or agent has a legal responsibility to place your deposit into one of three government approved deposit protection schemes within fourteen days of receipt of the deposit. You should be sent details of the certificate number and information for the end of the tenancy. Does your potential landlord belong to a professional landlords association such as the National Landlord’s Association, if so they have signed up to a code of conduct to provide a professional level of service. If your new landlord can answer yes to each of these questions you can be more confident that the tenancy will be managed professionally and if there are any issues along the way, your landlord or agent will be able to deal with them quickly and with as little inconvenience possible. Enjoy your house hunting.