Most people rent at some point in their lifetime. For many, renting is the first time we move out of our parents’ house. We can’t yet afford to buy our own place, so we rent an apartment or house. Renting can be a great way to give you independence without the commitment of a mortgage. When you rent, you’re not tied into the property forever and you’ve got fewer maintenance responsibilities.

However, there are still plenty of things to consider before you start renting. It isn’t something to go into lightly. A good tenant respects the rented property, has a positive relationship with the landlord and follows the rules. So, what do you need to know before you start renting?

Tenant insurance

Tenant insurance is what a renter will have to protect their property when it is being rented. Put simply, it’s a way to keep their possessions safe in case there is any damage. Most landlords will make this clear when you initially move in, but it’s something to be aware of before you sign anything. Both you and the landlord benefit from tenant insurance.

Contract

Before you start living in a rented property, you will need to sign a contract. This will put the monthly cost in writing, give details about moving out and advise on any rules during your tenancy. Some landlords have strict rules regarding their property, whereas others are more relaxed. You’ll need to make sure you read the contract in detail and understand the fine print. You don’t want to move in somewhere expecting your partner to stay over regularly, to receive a fine because guests aren’t permitted.

Decorating

One of the things that puts many people off renting is the fact that they generally aren’t allowed to decorate. While some landlords are flexible about the property and don’t mind a few shelves going up, others like to keep it exactly as they left it. So, before you decide to paint the walls pink or throw away the couch, check the contract to see if it’s allowed. If it’s not, you’ll get a hefty fine when you move out.

Repairs

Many tenants go into a tenancy agreement without fully being aware of what happens when something in the property breaks. Again, this is something that should be stated in the contract. Most landlords will organise repairs for big problems such as leaks and plumbing issues. However, most of the time, the tenant will be expected to replace lightbulbs, broken plates and paint over any stains before they move out.

Moving out 

First-time tenants often aren’t aware that they can’t move out whenever they please. In the contract, the length of the tenancy will be specified, alongside if you have a break clause. Most contracts last for a year with a six-month break clause, but you’ll need to read the fine print carefully. Don’t dedicate to a rental contract if you’re not certain you’ll be able to make the monthly rent.

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