Make sure the inventory is accurate. There is nothing worse than getting to the end of your tenancy and a landlord or letting agency querying something is missing or broken when you know you aren't to blame. An inventory will make sure this doesn't happen and your deposit is returned.
If you make any changes make sure you get permission. We have had problems in the past with a very awkward landlord who removed a fire before we moved in, even though they were supposed to leave it, and then complained when we put one in, at our own cost.
Report any problems with the house as soon as you see them. We have had so many problems with leaks it is unbelievable and in our last property we had a particularly difficult landlord. I made sure to report things immediately and took photos to prove these things weren't our fault.
Make sure your deposit is in a scheme. This is really important as, again, we had problems getting ours back after our last tenancy ended. We did finally get it back after a bit of a battle but we also had the scheme to fall back on if the landlord had continued to refuse.
Don't spend a fortune on fixings and don't expect for your house to be treated as you would. One of our previous tenants lived in the house for five years, which was great and gave us so much stability. They were brilliant tenants and always paid on time, however when I walked in the property at the end of their tenancy I was shocked - our magnolia walls were filthy, especially around light switches and doors. I couldn't understand how it had gotten so bad and they hadn't wiped marks off! It cost us £2000 to get the whole house painted, but at the end of the day that worked out at only £400 a year so it was probably to be expected.
Consider whether you want your house to be managed or if you'll do it yourself. We pay to have our house managed and for us it has been so worth it. Problems like a leaking roof, leaking bath and faulty toilet have all been sorted without us lifting a finger and the cost comes off any rent we are due. It just gives us peace of mind, and for the six months we didn't do this, the problems that arose were ridiculous.
Make sure your agency is on top of things. Our agency do regular inspections and report back to us, and if I haven't heard from them I can easily email and get an update. This is important so any problems with tenants can be quickly uncovered and resolved.
Get insurance. This is important as both a tenant and a landlord to ensure you and your goods are protected should anything happen. A great resource for this and more renting information is Homelet.co.uk.
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