Before you start the rental process, consider –

How long do you want the tenancy for? You can ask for a tenancy to be any time between 6 months and 7 years long.

What can you afford? Think about how much rent you can afford to pay: 35% of your take-home pay is the most that many people can afford, but this depends on what your other outgoings are (for example, whether you have children).

Letting through an estate agent –
Find out what fees (and costs) you will be charged and when you need to pay them. By law, a breakdown of all fees should be clearly visible to you in the agent’s office and on their website.

Why is a deposit is taken –
Nowadays very few landlords or letting agents let a property without taking a deposit as it provides a guarantee that they can be compensated for financial loss should the tenant breach the terms of the tenancy agreement or damage the property.

The deposit money belongs to the tenant and they will want to make sure that they receive it back in full at the end of the tenancy. However, if the property is not returned in the same condition it was in at the start of the tenancy the landlord or letting agent may need to make a deduction to the deposit. Of course, the landlord or agent will need to allow for fair wear and tear and should only make reasonable and proportionate deductions. Click here to go to the DPS website (Deposit Protection Service)

If you are renting a property, then you probably will have been asked to pay a tenancy deposit. In April 2007 it became law that all assured shorthold tenancy deposits received by landlords and letting agents are required to be protected in a Government-authorised tenancy deposit protection scheme.

The Deposit Protection Service (The DPS) is the only custodial scheme authorised by the Government. We require that the money you paid to your landlord/letting agent is physically paid over to us to safeguard for the duration of the tenancy. The deposit will be repaid at the end of the tenancy when both parties have reached agreement on its distribution.

Your landlord or letting agent will register your details with us, so make sure they have your up-to-date details, most importantly your mobile phone number and/or email address.

If you change your mobile phone number or email address during your tenancy, please make sure you contact The DPS to update us with this information. It is your responsibility to do so and will enable us to make the deposit repayment process as efficient as possible.

In addition when you move out please ensure that The DPS has your new forwarding address. It is important that you update the system with this address as your landlord/agent cannot do it for you.

The importance of the inventory –
It is best practice for a comprehensive inventory to be carried out at the start of the tenancy. It should detail the current state of the property at check-in, providing a clear comparison for how the property should be returned at the end of the tenancy. It should also describe the terms used to report the condition or cleanliness of items in the property. It must be clear enough for a third party to understand without them being present.