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The term ‘Generation Rent’ doesn’t just apply to millennials, the over-40s are also increasingly turning to private landlords for their accommodation. If you’re renting, here’s how to protect yourself…
Tenancy agreements usually last for around six to 12 months, but this could soon change under new Government plans, which could see the introduction of a minimum tenancy term of three years, giving renters more security. If you’re planning to move into rented accommodation (or have a child who is), this is what you need to know:
PROTECT YOUR DEPOSIT
You’re likely to be required to fork out at least four to five weeks’ rent in advance as a deposit. Your landlord is required to legally place your deposit in one of three governmentapproved Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes within 30 days of you paying it. They should give you proof of this. For more information, go to tenancydepositscheme.com.
PROTECT YOUR GOODS
While you’re not responsible for buildings insurance when you rent, it’s a good idea to get contents insurance to protect your possessions.
WRITE AN INVENTORY
When you move in, agree a checklist with your landlord of everything that’s included as part of the tenancy – also list any faults and damage to the property, furniture and fittings. It’s worth taking pictures when you move in, so that when you move out, you won’t be penalised for any damage that was already there.
BEWARE OF FEES
Letting agents are known for their high fees, so make sure you’re told exactly what you are being charged for. They can’t charge you for registering or showing you a list of properties, for example.
PROTECT YOUR CREDIT SCORE
As long as you’re a great tenant who pays their rent on time, you can make it count towards improving your credit history. Use Creditladder, which will report your rental payments to credit reference agency Experian.
DON’T FORGET THE BILLS
Remember, unless specified, you’re in charge of bills – this includes council tax, TV licence and telephone bills.