Housing Top 10 Tips!
We know that renting can be tricky, especially if you are new to to Glasgow or moving in with flatmates for the first time, so we have put together our top 10 tips to make your renting experience as smooth as possible.
1. Landlord Registration
In Scotland the majority of landlords need to be registered. You can check if your landlord/potential property is registered here. It is a criminal offence for a landlord not to be registered and can carry a fine of up to £50,000. Some landlords are exempt from the registration requirement, including those who live all or most of the time with their tenants in the same property.
In Scotland any property in which three or more unrelated people are living needs a HMO (House in Multiple Occupancy) licence. Ask any potential landlord about this licence or check with the local council as it means that the property has had things like the proper fire safety checks done so it is really important. It is a criminal offence for a landlord not to have a HMO licence and can carry a fine for them of up to £50,000.
3. Photos and Inventory
When you move into a new flat the first thing you should do is check your inventory (provided by the landlord/letting agent) and take clear, dated and detailed photos of the flat – especially any areas of disrepair or damage. You should then send a copy of these to your landlord/letting agent. This is vital as if there are any problems further down the line you now have proof to show the state of repair when you moved in.
4. Deposit Schemes
Most deposits in Scotland need to be registered in a deposit protection scheme. In Scotland there are three: My Deposits Scotland, Safe Deposits Scotland and Letting Protection Service Scotland. They are independent organisations that hold your deposit money, so if there are any problems with charges or returning the money, they will look at the case objectively. Your landlord needs to register your deposit within 30 days of you giving them the money.
5. Flatmate Issues
Living with new people can be really exciting, but it can also be frustrating. Not everyone thinks the same way about mess or cleaning. To avoid getting into big arguments later it is a good idea to talk honesty with your flatmates when you move in together (or even before!), be upfront about how long you think it is acceptable to leave dishes in the sink, etc. Maybe come up with a cleaning rota or a kitty you all put into to pay for things like washing up liquid and toilet roll.
6. Tenancy Agreements
Read your tenancy agreement! Check it carefully to understand what your responsibilities are. Find out what type of tenancy you have and if it is joint or individual. This can have a big impact on your rights if any problems occur.
7. Tenancy Types
Pre-Dec 2017 in Scotland one of the most common tenancy types for student renting is a Short Assured Tenancy (SAT). If you have this kind of tenancy because you moved into your property before December 2017 you should have also been given a Tenancy Information Pack and an AT5 form. Be aware that for a joint tenancy like the SAT all members are liable for all the rent, so if one person leaves the rest are still responsible for that person’s rent too.
Post-Dec 2017 all new tenancies in most private rented properties are Private Residential Tenancies. They offer greater rights and protections to tenants and you can find out more here.
8. Get Contents Insurance
Getting proper contents insurance may seem dull, but it’s a much better option than having to replace all of your belongings out of your own pocket. Make sure to check the terms and conditions of any policy you take out. Endsleigh are a popular choice for insurance for students.
9. Trust Your Gut
If a flat seems too good to be true or you are feeling pressured to hand over large sums of money then think twice. We have lots of useful info about avoiding housing scams on our Housing Problems page.
10. Ask for Help
The most important tip of all! If you have any housing or house hunting questions, want someone to look over your tenancy agreement, or can see a problem on the horizon then please come and speak to us! We are happy to advise on all housing issues and will do our best to point you in the right direction.