Renting a room used to be how students and graduates got on the property ladder when moving out of their parents’ homes. Renting a room has long been popular in London, where living prices are typically higher than the rest of the country, but more and more people are now choosing to rent rooms in major cities and suburbs across the UK, in part due to the economic crisis but also because it’s now becoming a “cool” option for young professionals. The stakes are now higher than ever and tenants can now expect rooms that are well decorated, with modern, comfortable shared living spaces. Many even come with private bathrooms. Fancy, eh? But to find that elusive perfect room, you’ll need to do a bit of leg-work. Read on for our tips.
Know Your Agreement
It’s really important that you know whether or not you have a joint tenancy or an individual tenancy. Joint tenancy means that you’ll be jointly responsible for maintaining the property and for paying the rent – individual tenancies means that you’re responsible for your rent, and no-one else’s. If someone gets behind, that’s their issue, not yours.
Make Sure That Your Deposit is Protected
Get a copy of the deposit guarantee so that you know that your money is protected. You’d be surprised at the amount of unscrupulous landlords that don’t actually put your money into a trusted deposit scheme, so ask for a copy of the paperwork and double check with the deposit scheme that your money has been sent over.
Ensure an Accurate Inventory
Ensure that your inventory is accurate before you go ahead and sign the contract. Take photographs of the furniture (if any) that is included in the tenancy agreement, and take note of any scratches, damages, or anything at all that is wrong with the walls or floors. Do the same when you leave the property – take photographs of everything to show how you left it. That way, if any damage occurs to the property at the end of your contract, or if your landlord tries to claim that he needs to take money from your deposit, you’ll have proof to back yourself up.
Share the Bills
Where possible, add multiple names to each of your utility accounts so that you (or any other individual) won’t be solely responsible for paying the bill if any of your housemates is a bit lax with their payments.
General Wear and Tear
Make sure that you know the difference between general wear and tear rather than damage. General wear and tear is when the carpet gets a little bit worn. Damage is when the carpet is burnt. Understand the difference and make sure that your landlord does, too.