Advice on renting a property

I’m moving into a shared house with friends for the
first time.

Although I’m excited, I’m also a bit nervous as I’ve never rented from
a private landlord before. What should I look out for when I move in?

Most landlords are reasonable people who look after their properties and tenants
well, but it’s always a good idea to know your rights.

Here’s a checklist of things to dowhen you first move in:

 Make sure you have your landlord’s contact details. Your landlord is
responsible for keeping your home in good condition and arranging repairs
when they’re needed. They should be your first point of contact if anything
goes wrong.

 Make sure your deposit is protected. Check that your landlord has given
you information about the scheme used to protect your deposit.

 Take photos on the day you move in. It’s also worth asking your landlord or
letting agent for an inventory, to check everything is in order. Use this to note
down any problems and the condition of the furniture, kitchen, carpets,
bathroom etc.

 Check if you’re in a ‘house in multiple occupation’. If you’re living with two
or more people who aren’t part of your family, and share a toilet, bathroom or
kitchen with you, this is considered an HMO. This means your landlord must
make sure your home meets certain safety standards. This includes making
sure smoke alarms are installed and there’s a safe fire exit. The landlord must
also ensure shared areas such as staircases and corridors are clean and in
good repair. Some HMOs need to be licensed by the council – if you’re unsure
whether this applies to your home, check with your local council.

 Make sure your landlord gives you: a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate, an
Energy Performance Certificate and a How to Rent leaflet.

 Understand your tenancy agreement. It’s important to know who’s
responsible for paying bills and what to do if there are any changes, like if
someone wants to move out. The Citizens Advice website explains the
different ways shared accommodation can be organised.

If you encounter a problem with the property, contact your landlord. If it relates to
disrepair, for example if your heating system fails or there’s damp in the property, it’s
best to put this in writing so that you have evidence if you need it later. The landlord
shouldn’t come in without your permission.

If your landlord is unresponsive or refuses to help, contact South Lakes Citizens
Advice for support. In serious cases, for example if your health or safety is at risk,
you may be advised to contact the council.

Free, confidential advice and help is available from South Lakes Citizens
Advice on any aspect of debt, consumer problems, benefits, housing,
employment or any other problems.
South Lakes Citizens Advice, your local charity, is here for you.
How to access:
 Call 015394 46464 – this is being staffed from 9:30 – 2pm
 Adviceline: 0808 2787 984
 email advice via our submission page on our website
 Help to Claim (Universal Support): 0800 144 8 444