Renting is at an all-time high in Britain, with over 3.9 million of us living in private rented accommodation. Although most of us have a problem-free renting experience, letting and landlords often get an unfair portrayal in the media, in stories such as the recent Islington “rabbit hutch” which was reported earlier this month.
The UK and Wales have strict laws that protect renters’ rights, wellbeing and belongings. Often, shocking flats like the “rabbit hutch” reported by The Guardian are in reality illegal, and are quickly taken off the market, as was the case with the Islington property.
To ensure that you don’t encounter any of these horrors when looking at Cardiff properties to rent, we have compiled the truth behind the top five myths associated with renting, to help keep you clued up on the latest letting legislation.
MYTH: Renting is not cost-effective.
Traditionally, renting has had a bad reputation as not being worthwhile. However, people often underestimate maintenance costs that come with owning a property. Along with buildings insurance and substantial apartment service charges, owning a property can cost a surprising amount.
With expert letting agents supporting you, renting can be a great option, providing more freedom in the property world. Crucially, as a renter, your landlord covers all of the costs required to maintain a property, unless negligence has resulted in something breaking. In the short-term, renting is often the best choice if you want flexibility combined with less responsibility.
MYTH: You must leave the property exactly how it was when you arrived.
One of the biggest worries for a renter is whether they’ll get their cherished deposit back, which sometimes leads to a frenzied cleaning spree before exiting the tenancy. Legally, it is not expected for a property to be in the exact same condition as it was when you moved in.
Landlords must account for general ‘wear and tear’ – the “reasonable use of the premises by the tenant” – when they consider deducting money from your deposit. It is landlords’ responsibility to then prove any damages.
All deposits are legally required to be registered with a deposit protection scheme, which will then protect your deposit if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement and don’t damage the property.
MYTH: Renewal of a tenancy agreement is mandatory before its expiry.
This myth has been spread by a small minority of irresponsible letting agents in order to charge extra renewal fees, but it is actually perfectly legal for a tenancy agreement to continue even after the fixed dates have expired. There is no legal requirement to renew the contracts. Instead, as a statutory periodic tenancy, the contract can simply ‘roll over’. Always check that your Cardiff letting agent is a member of a professional body, which will ensure they have full training in tenancy agreement legislation.
MYTH: Agencies can charge to register with them.
Agencies cannot charge you for registering, nor can they charge you for providing you with a list of properties. The fees they can implement include administration fees, security deposit and a non-refundable holding deposit (this should be deducted from the security deposit when you move in). It is important to make sure your landlord and agency are members of either the National Approved Letting Scheme (NALS) or the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA).
MYTH: The landlord has the right to ask you to leave at any time without notice.
In some circumstances, your landlord may ask you to leave the property. However, in this unlikely event, they should follow the correct procedure. Your landlord cannot ask you to leave within the fixed period stated within your tenancy agreement, unless you stop paying rent. Outside of that period, a written ‘notice to quit’ must be given 2 months in advance, starting on the date in the month that your tenancy starts.
It is also important to note that a landlord cannot enter the property without informing you of their visit in advance.
We hope dispelling these myths will help you in the renting world! Remember: in order to always receive high standards of service when renting in Cardiff or Penarth, choose an agent that is a member of a professional body.