The Tenant Fees Bill passed on 1 June 2019 stops landlords and letting agents from charging most fees that were considered standard fees before. See the government guidance for tenants here.
Growing numbers of students are falling victim to scams after responding to advertisements online. They pay cash or make a money transfer as a deposit and/or for rent for a property, usually by someone claiming to be the owner or an agent. They are given a tenancy agreement, but when they turn up to move in as arranged, there is no-one to meet them and they subsequently discover that the owner or agent is someone else. By then the perpetrator has disappeared with their money, and the students are left homeless and thousands out of pocket.
By law, private landlords must check that potential tenants have the right to rent in the UK. This government scheme aims to deter individuals from illegally remaining in the UK. You must provide ID documents proving your right to live here. If you hold a visa, the checks must be done within 28 days of the start of your tenancy. The checks have to be in person and by law the landlord has to take a copy of your documents and keep them for at least one year after your tenancy ends.
Egham has a surplus of properties, and there are even some available as late as August. If there’s anything about the property, the landlord or the agent that you’re not happy with, don’t take the accommodation.
If you’re happy, make sure you are given the opportunity to take away a copy of the tenancy agreement to read and get checked before you decide to accept the property. We can check this over for you very easily. Send it to email@example.com and we will do all the hard work for you!
You may be asked to pay a holding deposit or advanced rent to ensure that no other tenants are offered the property, but be warned - if you sign a document to say that you understand that this money is non-refundable and you then decide not to rent the property, you may not get your money back.
For your safety and security you should not visit a property alone. Take a checklist with you. There is one in the Looking Guide which you can pick up in the waiting room of the Advice Centre.
Ensure that a full inventory of the condition of the property and its contents is completed when you move in and is agreed and signed by the landlord and all tenants. If the landlord does not organise a check-in inventory, you can create one yourself using this template. Invite the landlord to be present when you complete the inventory, but if they are unable to attend, ask an independent witness to attend and sign the form instead. Then send a copy of the completed form to your landlord. Make sure to take plenty of photographs (with proof of date if possible) of the inside and outside of the property as evidence to back up the inventory at the beginning and end of the tenancy. These would prove invaluable if there should be any dispute about deductions from your deposit. If anything is worn, broken or damaged, missing or just plain dirty when you move in, report this in a polite letter to your landlord or agent and keep a copy of your letter. Ask for repairs or replacements, or for dirty items such as carpets and ovens to be cleaned. You cannot be charged for this service for contracts starting after 1 June 2019.
A student let is regarded as a House in Multiple Occupation (HMO) if there are five or more tenants living and sharing facilities in a property that has three or more floors. In order to rent out this property, the landlord is required by law to obtain an HMO license for the property from the local council, even if there are shops and offices on one or more floors. HMO licensing legislation will change in October 2018, after which ALL properties housing five people or more will require licensing. You should ask your landlord to see his HMO registration certificate.
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