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TECHNICAL EXPLANATIONS & Related Information
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Deposit

A sum of money paid as a guarantee against loss or damage.

When renting a studio, flat or house -

When setting up a tenancy, for the purpose of renting a studio, flat or house, the prospective tenant will be asked to pay a deposit to the landlord or letting agent. For the duration of the tenancy the deposit must be held in a separate account specifically designed for that purpose.
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When terminating the tenancy, at the end of the term, the landlord or letting agent will repay this deposit, minus any deductions. Money will be deducted to pay for such things as cleaning, repairing items damaged by the tenant, replacing items lost or broken by the tenant and outstanding bills owed by the tenant. The landlord or agent is legally obliged to itemise these costs in writing with specific references to the inventory, where applicable. In the event of a dispute over such deductions you should seek legal advice or consult the Citizen's Advice Bureau.

When renting a bedsit or room -

When arranging to rent a bedsit or a room in a shared house, the prospective tenant or lodger will be asked to pay a deposit to the landlord. At the time of moving out, at the end of the term, the landlord will repay this deposit, minus any deductions. Money will be deducted to pay for such things as cleaning, repairing items damaged by the tenant or lodger, replacing items lost or broken by the tenant or lodger and outstanding bills owed by the tenant or lodger. Unfortunately the law regarding landlords who rent out rooms, particularly in their own homes, is somewhat unclear. In general such landlords are not legally obliged to itemise these costs in writing with specific references to the inventory. Indeed an inventory is very often not supplied at the start of such a rental. For this reason disputes over amounts deducted from deposits are all too common. In the event of such a dispute you should seek legal advice or consult the Citizen's Advice Bureau.

You should also bear in mind that if you do not give sufficient notice to leave to the landlord when you intend to vacate your room, the landlord is perfectly within his rights to deduct an appropriate amount from your deposit. For example, suppose you are renting a room for 60 per week, you want to leave in two week's time, but your landlord clearly stated when you first moved in, that minimum notice to leave was four weeks. The result is clear and unambiguous. You will lose 120 from your deposit.

Inventory

An itemised list of all the furniture, fixtures and fittings contained in a property.

When you rent a studio, flat or house, you will be asked to check and sign an inventory at the same time that you check and sign the tenancy agreement before you move in. When you rent a room or bedsit, you may be asked to check and sign an inventory before you move in, but not always. Checking that the inventory is an accurate list of the furniture, fixtures and fittings contained in a property may seem tedious and time consuming, but is very necessary. Not only should you check that all the items listed actually exist, but you should check that their condition is also indicated, if they are worn or damaged. For example, if a carpet is stained when you moved in, this fact should be indicated in the inventory. In this way the landlord or agent cannot blame you, and more important, charge you, for the damage when it comes to moving out. You should understand that the inventory is an important reference for both you and the landlord or agent. At the end of the tenancy, the landlord or agent will check every item listed in the inventory. Missing items and damaged items will be noted and the replacement and/or repair costs will be extracted from your deposit. A certain amount of natural wear and tear is allowable, and therefore not chargeable.

So, though checking the inventory may seem boring, do it, or regret it later !!!

Notice to Leave

A notice, given by a landlord to a tenant or lodger, requesting them to move out of the accommodation by a certain date. This term can also refer to the notice given in the reverse direction, ie: from tenant or lodger to landlord.

If you are renting a studio, flat or house, "notice to leave" is dealt with in a formal manner. The procedure is clear, unambiguous and genarally not problematic.
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If you are renting a bedsit or a room in a shared house, "notice to leave" is often unclear, and the implications are often misunderstood. When you move in to a bedsit or room you should clarify with the landlord, exactly how much notice you should give before leaving. Preferably ask for this information in writing to avoid misunderstandings and disputes when it comes to moving out time.
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If you give the landlord adequate notice he will have no reason to deduct anything from your deposit. If you want to move out immediately, without giving any notice, due to some emergency, the landlord is entitled to retain all of your deposit. If your reason for leaving is due to an emergency or a personal or family problem, your landlord may be sympathetic, but he is not obliged to take into account your personal situation. Remember, as a result of your sudden decision your landlord may end up with an empty room for a period of a week or more. From his point of view this is lost income. Keeping some, or all, of your deposit is simply a way of compensating for this loss.
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Reference

A reference is a recommendation given by a person or organisation regarding the suitability of an accommodation seeker as a future tenant or lodger.

When you rent a studio, flat or house, your landlord or agent will ask you to provide references as part of the tenancy set-up process, prior to moving in. When you rent a room or bedsit, you may be asked to provide references before you move in, but not always. Whatever the exact situation you will probably be asked to provide two, or three references, from the following list -

1. Credit check
2. Employer's reference
3. Previous landlord's reference
4. Bank reference
5. Proof of enrolment at a college or university
6. Proof of parents' home address
7. Character reference from a close friend or professional person known to the applicant

Obviously the choice of required references will depend on the exact situation of the prospective tenant and also on what standard procedure the landlord or agent has chosen to adopt. If the prospective tenant has never rented before and therefore has difficulty in obtaining some of the required references, he or she may be asked to offer the name of a guarantor, to act on their behalf.

The prospective renter may be asked to obtain and supply the references by making contact with the appropriate referees. Or, the landlord or agent may ask the prospective renter for the referee's contact details, and then do the job himself.

Don't be tempted to supply fake references or write your own references. Experienced landlords and agents are not stupid. They know all the tricks in the book.

So, to ensure you don't lose the property to someone else,
sort out your references without delay !!!

Sublet

If you rent a property from a landlord and then at some stage during the tenancy you move out and rent that property out to someone else, you are said to have sublet the property. Technically the property has only been sublet if ALL the original tenants move out to be replaced by new occupants. In most tenancy agreements subletting is prohibited.

Subletting is very risky for the following reasons. Even though you, the original tenant, have moved out, you still remain liable for rent payment to the landlord, and if any clauses in the tenancy agreement are infringed by the new occupants, you remain responsible for these enfringements. Collecting rent from the new occupants can turn out to be stressful and time consuming. Plus, bad behaviour by the new occupants will, in the eyes of the landlord, and the law, be your problem to sort out. And if the new occupants stop paying their "unnofficial" rent to you, and even worse, refuse to move out at the end of the term, this is going to be your problem to sort out. If you don't sort it out on a "person to person" basis, you could find yourself taken to court by the landlord. Again the outcome will undoubtedly be time consuming, stressful and expensive.

You have been warned - if at all possible, avoid subletting !!!

Tenancy Agreement

A tenancy agreement is a contract between you, the tenant, and your landlord. It is usually written, but not always.

The tenancy agreement is completed as part of the process of setting up the tenancy. Two copies are completed, signed and dated by both the landlord (or agent), and the tenant, and countersigned by a witness. One copy is retained by the landlord and one copy is retained by the tenant. Once completed, the tenancy agreement contains all the following information -

1. The name and current address of both the tenant and the landlord
2. The address of the property being rented
3. The duration of the term of the tenancy
4. The amount and frequency of rent payable, eg: 650 per calendar month
5. The day of the month when rent payment is due
6. The date when the first rent payment is due

The tenancy agreement also includes a number of clauses, some standard, and some tailor-made, restricting the rights and controlling the behaviour of both the landlord and the tenant. The tenant will be given an opportunity to examine the draft tenacy agreement at his or her leisure before making any commitment. This task may seem tedious and time consuming, and the language used may appear daunting. Nevertheless it is strongly recommended that the tenant takes full advantage of this opportunity. In this way misunderstandings and wrong assumptions that might result in disputes during the tenancy, and at the end of the tenancy, can hopefully be avoided.

So, though checking the tenancy agreement may seem boring,
do it, or regret it later !!!

DEPOSIT
INVENTORY
NOTICE TO LEAVE
REFERENCE
SUBLET
TENANCY AGREEMENT

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