Use Your Voice
With changing COVID-19 regulations, in-person viewings may not be possible. Whilst online viewings can seem like a great alternative, don’t sign for a property you haven’t inspected.
Even if you’re signing a contract for a house you won’t be living in until next year, remember that all contracts are legally binding agreements. That means once you’ve signed it, you have to keep to the agreement and pay your rent (even if you don’t want to live there anymore).
A lot of contracts also remove the ‘break-away’ clause. This means you can’t move out and stop paying rent if you no longer want to live there, or you can’t cancel your contract if you happen to find different accommodation more suited to you.
Only sign a contract if you’re 100% sure that this is where you want to live, and who you want to live with.
Even though this sounds like the opening line to a Buzzfeed quiz, what it actually means is there are different types of tenancy agreements.
For instance, if your contract says you have a single tenancy agreement this means you are only responsible for your own rent i.e. the rent of your room.
Some people have a joint tenancy agreement. This is where you rent a house or flat with other people, and all your names are on the contract. Whilst this can mean cheaper rent, make sure that the people you are signing your agreement with are responsible. If one person was to leave the house or flat and not pay their rent, the remaining tenants (you and any others) could be responsible to cover their rent too.
Most places will require a rent deposit when you sign your tenancy agreement. This is typically between 4 weeks – 6 weeks of rent you pay in advance.
Make sure you are not paying deposits in cash, and always have a paper trail such as a digital receipt or bank statement to prove that you paid your deposit. That way, if you ever have an issue, you’ve got the receipts. Your landlord should also place your deposit in a trusted deposit scheme.