Before you sign up for rented accomodation
Mike Goddard, of Belvour, offers advice to ayone looking to sign a rental agreement.
According to Belvoir Lettings, in the current economic climate, as many as one-in-five homebuyers are choosing to rent rather than buy.
The lettings specialist, which has offices on Bearwood Road and Warstone Mews in Birmingham, offers those new to the world of tenancy agreements the following advice before they sign on the dotted line.
* Confirm, in detail, which costs are included in the monthly rental. For example, if bills are included, ask the landlord to provide a list of which ones are covered.
* Find out if your letting agent is a member of an approved association such as NALS.
* Check that any deposit paid will be held in an approved tenancy deposit scheme.
* Ask to see gas (Corgi) and electricity (NICEIC) safety certificates for the property.
* Ensure that a detailed inventory is provided by the management company.
* Ask the landlord or management company if they will be instructing a Domestic Energy Assessor to issue the property with an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC).
* Find out what repairs your landlord will be responsible for. By law a landlord is responsible for structural repairs to the exterior of the property. This includes; repairs to all water and gas pipes, electric wiring, basins, sinks, baths, toilets and any fixed heaters or water heaters.
* If you are moving into a house in multiple occupation HMO (ie you share a toilet, bathroom or kitchen with people other than those in your immediate family) check if your landlord has or requires a local authority licence.
Many people who have never considered renting before may be interested to know that legislation introduced in recent years offers them more protection than ever before.
There are some golden rules when it comes to signing a tenancy agreement and we suggest anyone looking to rent a property considers our advice and asks the right questions up front.
If a potential landlord or management company tries to fob you off or encourages you to sign on the dotted line without reading the small print, our advice is to walk straight out of the door.
There are many good management companies out there, such as Belvoir, who will be more than happy to guide you through the rental process in detail.
Don't settle for second best - after all there are few things as important as having a safe, secure and comfortable home to live in.
Belvoir's growing network of franchises now stretches across the whole of the UK and looks after a property portfolio valued at more than £1 billion.