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Problems with Renting Your First Flat and How to Solve Them

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Renting your first flat away from your parents – whether you’re alone or with friends – is always an exciting experience. The feeling of independence is probably the biggest benefit and it can get you excited enough to overlook some details. The finer points of a letting contract, knowing your landlord and the agency’s liability – all of these are things first time renters seldom pay attention to before moving into a property, but if ignored, they could end up causing problems and conflicts down the road. Here are some helpful tips to avoid getting caught in unpleasant situations, as well as advice on how to solve some problems, if you’ve failed to avoid them altogether.

1. The first point where you should pay particular attention is, of course, the viewing. Finding a good place after a streak of striking out is exciting. It can seem like you’ve found your new home – the rooms are spacious and there’s a lot of light, there’s a comfortable kitchen and toilets on both floors, nothing is leaking or obviously damaged. Don’t neglect to pay attention to every detail. Talk to the landlord and, if possible, to the previous tenants. If they have any grievances or you notice any tension, this should alert you to possible problems in the future. Be aware that if there’s anything out of order, the landlord is probably planning to fix it before the next tenants move in, but you should ask to make sure just in case.

2. The next point of consideration should be the contract. When discussing the conditions of the let with the landlord or the agency, it is a good idea to write down every point. This would make it easier to read through the contract afterwards and make sure everything fits with the conditions you’ve discussed initially. It is also a good idea to get someone else to read through the contract for you, in case you’ve missed anything. It would be best if this person has some legal experience or any kind of experience with letting contracts. If you are a student, you might be able to get some help with this at your institution. Most universities offer services to help students with renting a flat and you will probably be able to get someone there to read through the contract – someone, who is looking out for your best interests.

3. Should any problems with the flat or house arise during your tenancy, you have to be aware whose responsibility it is to deal with them. Your contract will probably enable you to make minor repairs – changing light bulbs, fixing shelves, etc., however anything more major would be the responsibility of the landlord. This should all be covered in the contract. Your landlord is usually your first port of call, if anything goes wrong. However, if you’re sharing the property with other people, always record how and when the fault was noticed and (when possible) how it happened. This will help you avoid being held liable for damage. After all, you want to get a full refund of your deposit after the contract runs out.

4. Do not hire any repair services without contacting the landlord. This is their responsibility and, if anything happens while the people from the company are working, you will be held accountable, even if you aren’t at fault.

5. Do not paint walls, hammer any nails, change carpets or make any other permanent changes to the property, unless explicitly stated in the contract. While this is your home for the duration of the contract, it belongs to someone else and should be treated accordingly.

These are the basics of renting, but, if you follow these fairly simple guidelines, you should ensure yourself an enjoyable and problem-free tenancy.

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