What every tenant should consider when renting a home

Over the years, many tenants have come to us looking for their ideal home to rent in Sheffield. We have assisted students find a house near their university, single people who have just left home and embarking upon their new life journey, employees transferred to Sheffield from other parts of the UK or abroad, families looking to up-size (or down-size) and even high profile individuals looking for high-end luxury accommodation.

No matter what stage of your tenancy cycle, we have listed a few key points that every tenant should consider when renting a home.

Are you able to move?

Check your existing Tenancy Agreement to see whether you are able to vacate the property. You may still be contracted to a fixed term and therefore need to fulfil your legal obligations under the terms of that agreement.

For tenants visiting from abroad, be sure to check that you are still eligible to remain in the UK when you take up your new tenancy. Contact the Home Office for advice. There are financial penalties imposed upon tenants and landlords for failure to comply with the law.

Can you afford it?

It’s not just the rent and deposit that needs to be paid, but all other essential living costs to consider:

  • Council Tax – click here and enter the postcode of the property you wish to rent to see what the cost of Council Tax will be.
  • Gas & Electricity – Ask the landlord or estate agent for the current utilities supplier. There are online aggregator sites that can help you compare the cost of Gas & Electricity who may be able to offer a cheaper tariff.
  • Furniture Removal – Get some quotations to see how much it will cost to move house. 

Is this house suitable?

At first sight, the house may be appealing to the eye but it is really suitable for your needs?

  • Check room sizes and dimensions. Can your furniture easily fit inside and be practically located EG. will your refrigerator, washing machine and/or clothes dryer neatly fit inside the kitchen / utility room? Is there ample storage? Will your furniture go through the front door? Take a tape measurer with you.
  • Ease of access. Is it easy to access the property? Think about those cold wintery days when you will be carrying the groceries to the front door.
  • Glance a cursory eye over the condition of the house paying attention to see that there are no obvious signs of structural deterioration EG. visible cracks / flaking plasterwork, damp & mould.
  • Ask whether you can take photos. You may be looking at many houses and soon forget their layout, size or defining features when you come to decide which house is best for you.
  • Is the location right for you IE. Close to schools (is the house in the right catchment area?), good public transport links & good access to local amenities.
  • Parking is important too if you own a car. We have heard stories about people who rent a house only to find out their car doesn’t fit in the garage! Is there plenty of on-street parking and are there parking restrictions or permits required. Check with the City Council for parking restrictions and the cost of a permit and ask whether there are restrictions on how many parking permits a household can have.
  • Is the area right for you? Some tenants commit to a tenancy without doing that all-important due-diligence.

Tenants have rights & obligations too. Do you know your rights & obligations?

Whether you rent directly with the landlord or via an estate agency, you have rights and obligations.

Read the Tenancy Agreement and make sure you understand what you are committing to before you sign it. There’s help at hand. You can ask the Citizens Advice Bureau, legal representative or Student Union (if you are a university student).

Before moving into your new home, make sure you are provided with the following:

  1. Current Gas Safety Certificate. These are valid for 1 year and must be renewed on time
  2. Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). A rental property must have a valid EICR before the tenancy commences. The EICR is valid for 5 years
  3. Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). These are valid for 10 years
  4. How to Rent Guide. This is an important document that is published
  5. A signed copy of the Tenancy Agreement
  6. Proof of deposit registration together with a leaflet of the approved deposit registration scheme
  7. Damp & Mould Leaflet (this document contains valuable information on how to prevent the onset of damp and mould inside the property
  8. Details of who to serve notice, contact for repairs etc. 

Help is at hand. When you are ready to move house, feel free to call us to discuss your rental requirements. We can then see whether there is a suitable property for your needs and arrange a safe and convenient date and time to come and view the property. Our office is open 7 days a week from 8am to 8pm.