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Contract Checks

1. Don’t sign before you see

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. Ask for a ‘notice period’ to be included, if possible. 

Only sign a contract if you’re 100% sure that this is where you want to live, and who you want to live with.


2. Check what type of tenant you are 

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.


3. Check the special terms in your contract 

Sometimes landlords include ‘special’ rules in your contract. Some of these can be restrictive or make you responsible for repairs or payments you shouldn’t have to deal with. Always read it through before you sign it. If you’re unsure, we’ll be happy to read it for you.

A contract is a legally binding document. This means that once you sign it, you stick to it.