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Don't Upset the Landlord: Six Top Tips for Tenants

04/06/2013 09:49 BST | Updated 03/08/2013 10:12 BST

Whether you're sorting out the deposit, calling up utility companies, setting up direct debits or filling out change of address forms, moving in to a new home can at first seem a little overwhelming.

One of the most important elements of renting any property is the relationship between you and your landlord. While horror stories do exist, they are thankfully very rare. By following these handy tips, tenants can help to minimise any prospective issues with their landlords.

Check Everything

Once you've been given the keys you'll be tempted to immediately start lugging your furniture up the stairs. However, you would be well advised to do a thorough check of the property before you move anything in. Inspect everything closely and take photographs of anything that looks at all problematic - including cracks, marks, dents and repainted areas. If possible, you should date and label your photographs for future reference.

Don't Put Things Off

Does the mould seem to be spreading in the bathroom? Does the closed bedroom window let a strong breeze in to the room? Once an issue arises, you should report it to your landlord as soon as possible. Delaying this will not only cause friction, but could also be dangerous to your health.

Keep a Paper Trail

It is your landlord's responsibility to deal with all maintenance issues. When the time comes to report a problem, as well as phoning the landlord you should always communicate in writing too. This will leave you with a clear paper trail of all communication, which will come in useful if you have any issues getting your deposit back at the end of the tenancy.

Pay The Rent

This may sound obvious, but the key to maintaining a positive relationship with your landlord is by paying your rent on time. You would be surprised how many tenants don't! It's important to be aware of possible "first month issues" such as your standing order going to the estate agent rather than the landlord, so check and double check bank details and if possible, set up the standing order to be paid three days before the rent is due. It's better to be safe than sorry.

Inventories

If you are renting a furnished property, you may well have to take part in a check-out inventory. This can be a time-consuming process, but you can cut down on unnecessary hassle by leaving things as you found them when you arrived. If you've smashed a few glasses or plates, you should replace them before the inventory - this will certainly be cheaper than waiting for the bill.

Deposits

Deposits have long been a troublesome issue for tenants, especially in student homes, with cleaning costs provoking the most anger. If your landlord tells you that you are not entitled to your money back without good reason, in the first instance you should write and ask for a full and detailed list of deductions along with clear evidence.

For more handy tips about everything to do with buying and renting homes, you can visit our website at whatnewhomes.com