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Reputable Landlord

There have been numerous reports in the media of tenants handing over money in good faith, hoping to move into their new home, only to be shocked to discover that the landlord is not who he/she claimed to be, the property doesn’t actually exist, or someone else is living there. One example found that a property had been “let” to eight people, each of whom believed they were the rightful tenant.

So how can prospective tenants know for sure that they are not being ripped off, and how can legitimate landlords earn their trust?

1. In the same way that it is better to buy a car from a recognised dealer than on Ebay, tenants should avoid dealing directly with a “landlord” who advertises privately. Always choose a recognised lettings agency. They will ideally have a local office and plenty of properties on their website. They should also be well represented on the property portals.

2. A good letting agency will be a member of a trade association such as the Association of Residential Letting agents (ARLA Propertymark). But don’t assume that just because the agent has their logo on their website that the agency is actually a member. Go to the association’s website and search for the agent in their published list of approved agents.

3. Ideally, use a letting agent who has been recommended to you and is relatively local to the property you are hoping to rent. If something went wrong – how easy would it be for them to respond? Don’t hand over any deposit unless it is held in a properly recognised Tenancy Deposit Scheme account. You should then receive a Tenancy Deposit Protection Certificate with a unique code on it. By law, a landlord or letting agent must give you “prescribed information” including the contact details of both landlord and tenant, the rental property’s address, the deposit amount and the information leaflet supplied by the scheme. There are stringent penalties in place for landlords or agents who fail to adhere to these regulations with compensation of up to three times the amount of deposit potentially payable. They may also not be able to regain possession of the property. You can check that your deposit has been registered (within 30 days of paying it) at www.tenancydepositscheme.com.

4. You should also receive a Gas Safety certificate (if applicable), an Energy Performance Certificate and a ‘How to Rent’ guide.

5. Letting agents are no longer permitted to charge tenants any fees for their services and rent deposits are capped at 5 weeks’ rent. Holding deposits are capped at one week’s rent.

Needless to say, we fulfil all of the above criteria and more, so both our landlords and tenants can be fully reassured that their money, and their home, will be safe.

© Copyright 2021 Richard Rawlings except as excluded under licence.

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