By far the majority of private landlords offer high standard properties and are keen to keep their tenants happy in their rented home.
There are established safety regulations and the government created Tenancy Deposit Scheme, all in place to ensure you as tenant will be treated fairly and correctly.
Private landlords are often very experienced and offer a responsive service to their tenants.
Unfortunately, however in this internet age, tenants must have regard to private advertisments offering tenancies of property that are not actually owned by the advertiser, with the intention of charging prospective tenants upfront fees and then disappearing. A few simple checks can prevent this:
Do not pay any up front fees or sign up / referencing fees to the Landlord
Do not make rent or deposit payments by cash
Do not make any payments to a landlord :
- before viewing the property
- meeting the landlord
- being offered an actual tenancy agreement.
Do not transfer any payments by Western Union transfer or similar money transfer services which are designed to only transfer money to persons you know or can be identitfy by you.
Never make payments to a bank or institution you have not heard of, always check the payment is going to a High Street Bank or Building Society. If in doubt Check First.
Pay rent into the landlords U.K. bank account, via bank standing order, it is easy and most landlords will appreciate you doing this. Remember you control your own bank standing order (not the landlord)
Ask the landlord to verify which scheme he / she belongs to, and ask for the landlord's TDS Identification Number. You should then be able to quickly check online to see the landlord is listed.
There are three main official Tenancy Deposit Schemes :
It is good news for both tenants and landlords, that the government has now set out a procedure relating to the return of Tenant's Deposits at the end of a tenancy.
If there should be any disagreement between the landlord and tenant at the end of a tenancy then the matter is automatically referred to the The Dispute Service an official body set up by the government to oversee and adjudicate in tenant deposit disputes.
It is very much a matter of common sense, just like any other householder moving house, you need to finalise your utility accounts, return keys and make sure that the property is left in good order.