*This is a collaborative post.
While I am in the very fortunate position of being able to own my own home (with a mortgage of course) it hasn’t always been that way. There was a time when I lived with my parents, as I’m sure most of us have experienced, but I’ve also lived with my Nan and two of my aunties, all on separate occasions. There was also a time when I rented out a property with a long term boyfriend.
We didn’t have a typical landlord, it was his parents who had actually bought the house for us to live in and we paid them a sum of money every month. However, had this been a typical renting situation there are a lot of things I’d have felt I needed to consider. We did initially look at renting the ‘normal’ way but we were lucky at the time that his parents were looking for an investment opportunity.
Choosing to rent a property is often a result of serious decision-making and people like to do it before purchasing a house together to see if they can genuinely live together. For others it’s a case of having their own space and they’ll rent while they save and for others it’s because they can’t afford the deposit on a mortgage. For whatever reason any of us rent, or have rented, I think that one of the main factors that impacts your decision is the landlord, or letting agent, who you’d rent from.
I know of friends who have had the most wonderful experience with their landlord, right through to those who have had the worst time. Good landlords can make your experience at the property an amazing one, and others can make you hate your home. So what would I look for in a landlord? I guess this will have changed from a few years ago when I didn’t have children, but based on me renting with a family there are so many things I think I’d be mindful of.
I’m pairing this post with a recent survey by HomeLet (https://homelet.co.uk/landlord-insurance) who have released the fourth in their series of landlords advice eBooks and it includes some rather interesting figures.
While I’m sure there are lots of legal obligations that landlords need to fulfil in terms of safety, I’m also very sure that there are some out there who aren’t that concerned about anything else other than making money.
As a mum of two boys I’d have to put our family first and ensure that the house we were in was safe; whether that be structurally or otherwise. I would be looking to ensure all electrical and gas fittings, boiler included, were in perfect working order with carbon monoxide alarms fitted. Smoke alarms would be an absolute essential with a record of them being checked and maintained regularly. I’d like to think that any damp or mould that appears would be managed correctly and that any draughts were dealt with too.
Usually while renting your landlord takes a deposit which is to be used against any damages made during your stay. Typically these are refunded when you move out unless, of course, any damage has to be paid for. Your landlord should use an approved deposit scheme because it’ll offer security for both parties involved. I would be looking for a landlord who is interested in protecting both of you, rather than looking out for themselves.
I do believe it’s a legal requirement to do this so I would question your landlord if you are not given information on which scheme they are using and how you can get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy. You should also look for the purpose of the deposit and how to handle a dispute should one arise.
When surveyed via HomeLet, 12.5% of tenants surveyed have had their deposit withheld, with 39.1% of these down to cleaning and 19.3% down to re-decorating costs.
While some landlords are happy to never speak to their tenants, I would feel much better if a landlord kept in touch. Whether it’s checking in by email, dropping a text every few months or doing bi-annual check ups on the property I think communication is the key to a good landlord/tenant relationship. Agree on how often you’ll keep contact so that neither party feels like they’re being hassled.
When a tenant moves in it may be helpful to offer to come round and show them how things work if they’re already installed; central heating, hot water, any locks, appliances or anything else that may need to be demonstrated.
By showing you’re willing to be as helpful as possible tenants should feel comfortable to bring up any concerns or any maintenance issues they may have about the property.
Be Attentive To Concerns
The HomeLet survey also asked tenants how happy they were with their landlord or letting agent. 75% of people survey said they were happy with the response to maintenance requests.
I think a good landlord would address any and all concerns quickly with a view to rectifying them as soon as possible. While it is not their home, it is their job to ensure that the house is kept in good working order. Landlords who stay on top of repairs and have tradesmen to hand for any repairs is a massive bonus.
Of course that doesn’t mean as a tenant you can command your interior designs upon them but as long as basic needs are met that’s great. If you wish to redecorate always check with the landlord if they’re happy with it as some ask that you return it to the original state it was rented in.
Have An Agreement In Place
This could include all of the above things and more – did you know 43.6% of tenancy agreements do not allow pets? I think that provided both landlord and tenant are on the right page then it can be a great working relationship. However, it is wise to remember that tenants are customers of the landlord and boundaries should be very clear. It can be easy to fall into the friendship zone but this could leave you with issues in the future. Keep it professional and make sure it works for both of you.
Overall 86% of people were either very happy, quite happy or somewhat happy with their landlord or letting agent which is a great number!
Do you rent? What is your landlord like? Have you ever had any issues? I’d love to know!
*This is a collaborative post.