Tenants: What to Avoid when Signing for a Rental Property

Author: Rent Guarantor

01/07/2020

Contracts are generally long, boring, and daunting reads that can even make the Game of Thrones books look appealing. It’s important to sift through the whole contract and carefully read the small print. The contract should use simple language that does not complicate or cause confusion. Getting it right and understanding your contract before you sign can save a lot of problems for you in the future.

If the contract does not read easy and is filled with complicated terms or sentences, flag it. If it doesn’t feel right then it’s likely not. It’s even possible a Landlord or Estate Agent is playing the trickster. If you don’t understand, don’t sign! There are always negotiations at this stage of the rental process so don’t hesitate and feel you are being an inconvenience - it’s totally natural. Let the Estate Agent clarify what a particular section means and look to amend the wording for your own clarity in the future.

The writing and wording of these documents are essential. Never take verbal promises as a definite unless it is written into the contract. An example of this may be the Estate Agent promising ongoing maintenance however not following through because it is not written in the contract. 

The two things that are reasonable for the landlord to ask for is a security deposit and a guarantor. Everything else in your contract can be questioned and negotiated if you feel necessary. A security deposit will be necessary to insure the property from damages and a guarantor will give the Landlord security in the unlikely event a tenant can not pay their rent. To see if you need a rent guarantor click here. Not everyone is in a fortunate position to ask a family member or friend to take on the responsibility of a guarantor but companies like RentGuarantor are happy to step in and assess anyone in need.

Check and check again. Like an english teacher in school telling you to always proofread, it’s never been more important to read and re-read the contract you have been given. Here’s a quick checklist of what to look for:

  • Start and end dates
  • Tenants named on the contract
  • Maintenance agreement 
  • Guarantor details
  • Rental amount
  • General wear and tear clause

Ultimately you can never be too careful with your rental contract. Landlords and Estate Agents on the whole will try to help you with your contract but it only takes one to deceive you and cause inconvenience in the future. This can include many issues like a tenant verbally requesting a one year tenancy but the Estate Agent writing a two year tenancy on the contract. This longer tenancy date might mean you moving away but still being tied into a contract that you need to pay for another year. A few more minutes of your time dedicated to studying your tenancy contact can save you many hours of aggro in the future. Use your time wisely!