I'm moving home soon but I'm not sure what I can expect from my landlord. What should I know?
If you are considering a property but have doubts about your landlord, check out the following resources before handing over any money:
- Rentprofile.co - set up to prevent illegal subletting and fake landlord scams
- Marks Out Of Tenancy - have tenants had problems with your landlord before? (Also, review your last place!)
- In London, a list of agents and landlords who have got into trouble in the past year
If your landlord or agent encourages you to use a "no deposit" option or similar, beware that this will cost you more money in the long term and you can choose to pay a refundable deposit worth up to 5 weeks' rent instead. If the agent doesn’t let you pay a normal deposit, they are breaking the law: report them.
When moving into a new home as a tenant your new landlord should give you:
- a copy of the How to Rent guide
- the property's energy performance certificate
- a valid gas safety certificate
- a valid electrical safety report
- details of where your deposit has been protected
If you don't get one or more of these the landlord cannot evict you on "no fault" grounds. Knowing that your landlord has made a mistake is valuable information, so get advice before telling them.
Your landlord may have an inventory made as a record of the contents and condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. This is so they can identify any damage that might need to be paid out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy. Whether or not they do this, you should protect yourself from unfair deductions from your deposit by taking your own photos of any pre-existing damage and sending these to your landlord as soon as possible.
Also check if your landlord needs a licence, which depends on how many people live in the property and where it is. If they're supposed to have a licence but do not, you may be able to claim a repayment of rent. Your council should have a public register of licensed homes to check - let us know if yours doesn't.