1. Don't make any changes without informing the landlord
This should be outlined in your contract but in general, you are not allowed to make any major changes to the property on your own initiative without letting the landlord know. This also applies to energy, water and internet suppliers. If you think you need to switch because another supplier offers better rates and would benefit your finances, you can discuss this with the agent or owner of the property who in most cases wouldn't mind as long as you switch back to the original supplier before you leave the property.
You can't exchange or take out any of the appliances that were already in the property without asking the landlord. If you do that, you may lose a part or the full amount of your deposit. You can, however, move furniture around the property if you wish and you don't have to inform the landlord for that. It is very important to move everything back to where it was at the end of your tenancy.
2. Don't lie about having pets or children
It is true that it is much harder to rent a place if you have pets or children, but you can't use this as an excuse to lie to your agent or landlord until you sign the contract. Remember that your tenancy agreement is a binding legal document and lists all the people (and or animals) allowed to live in the property. If later on it comes to light that you moved in with pets or children without seeking the approval of the landlord, your contract can be cancelled and you can be evicted. It is a myth that no one can remove you from a property if you have children. It may take a couple of months to get a court order but at the end of the day, the owner has the legal right to get you out of his or her property if you breached the contract.
3. Don't sublet
It is a criminal offense to sublet a property that isn't yours unless it is specifically allowed in your tenancy agreement. It has recently become a common practice with some communities in London and throughout the UK but many tenants who have sublet have been taken to court and sentenced. With tightening immigration laws, something like this on file can prevent foreigners from obtaining their permanent residence or legal stay documentation and may even face deportation.
4. Maintain good order and condition of the property
While you live in the property you are responsible for its general maintenance. This means, keep it tidy, clean regularly to prevent pest infestation, don't damage the walls, carpets, curtains and any furniture and appliances that don't belong to you. Most people have no issue doing the house chores on their own, but for busy individuals it may be worth considering booking a professional domestic cleaning service just to avoid a potential war with the landlord for bad maintenance of the property.
5. Don't disturb the neighbours
If you are someone who likes having regular house parties and constantly disturb the neighbours, that can put you in trouble not only with your landlord but with the police as well. Depending on the frequency and seriousness of your inconsiderate behaviour, you may be arrested and your tenancy agreement can be terminated.
6. Make sure you complete the end of tenancy cleaning
It is very rare these days that professional end of tenancy cleaning won't be outlined as a requirement for the return of your deposit upon your departure from the property. The majority of letting agencies and even private landlords will ask specifically for receipts from cleaning companies in order to release the full deposit, even if you did a pretty good job yourself.
7. Don't stop paying council tax
In most instances, the tenant is required to pay the council tax during the tenancy period. Very few landlords include this expense in the rent price. If you decide to dodge council tax (as annoying bill as it may be), you will be in breach of contract which means you can be evicted and may still have to pay the council for the time you've lived in the property.
Ultimately, the easiest way to avoid a war with your landlord is to read your tenancy agreement and follow it at all times. If it so happens that you need to make some changes, simply discuss it with the property owner in a calm and polite manner for an outcome in your best interest.
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- Tobi Samuel
- PNP Cleaning Service
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