ESTABLISH YOUR REQUIREMENTS
Once you have established that you wish to rent a home, there are several other decisions that you need to make before you can go about looking for a prospective property:
• What rental expense are you willing/able to pay?
• Do you wish to rent a house, flat, small holding etc. (This is often dictated by what rental you are willing/able to pay.)
• What area/suburb do you wish to live in?
• When would you like occupation to take place and for how long?
• How many bedrooms, bathrooms, garages etc. do you require?
• Do you have any special requirements/requests? (Eg: Do you have pets? Do you require disabled access?)
• Does the plumbing (Taps, baths, showers etc.) work properly?
• Is the wiring safe? When was it last changed/checked/serviced?
• Can I put up pictures or redecorate?
NB: If it is possible, make sure that you confirm it in writing to avoid disputes at the end of the lease period.
• Who are the neighbours? Are they noisy?
• Is the property situated near local amenities? (Transport, Shops, Schools, Hospitals etc.)
• Do the windows and doors lock securely?
• Is there adequate security?
• Is there a garage or provision to securely park my car?
If anything in the property is not to your satisfaction ask whether it can be remedied. (Eg: Painting of property, installation of alarm system etc.)
• Proof of income. (Payslips or bank statements.)
• Employer details.
• Address and reference from any previous landlords.
• A character reference from someone who has known you for a significant period of time.
If the information you provide proves to be satisfactory, a lease agreement will be set up.
A lease agreement offers protection to both you as a tenant and then landlord.
The lease agreement should state exactly what is required from both you as the tenant and the landlord/letting agent aswell as stating the terms of the lease. (Monthly rental, term of lease etc.).
You should read the lease agreement thoroughly before you sign it. Be very aware of the termination clause(s). (ie: How thelease may be terminated by either yourself or the landlord.)
WHAT ARE MY RIGHTS AND RESPONSIBILITES AS A TENANT?
Keeping a good relationship with your landlord is a wise move. It increases your stature as a valued tenant, and it means your needs, concerns and legitimate complaints will be met with all due attention and action.
Look after the property as if it were your own. This will improve
your chances of extending your tenancy and ensure you get a good
reference from your landlord when/if you move on.
If your landlord approves of improvements then you could try to get some financial support for it. This could be beneficial to both parties.
Remember that you have rights to privacy, not to be evicted and health, hygiene and safety during your tenancy.
The landlord is responsible for maintaining the following::
• The structure and exterior of the property.
• The baths, sinks, basins and other sanitary installations as per the lease.
• The heating and hot water installations as per the lease agreement.
• The common parts of the building and installations as detailed in the terms of the lease agreement.