Your responsibilities as a tenant depend on the on the exact terms agreed to in your tenancy agreement. Most responsibilities will, however, be divided into two principle categories: paying rent and bills, and looking after the property.
Key responsibilities for tenants
Paying the rent
This has to be done on time whether you agreed to pay weekly, fortnightly or monthly and must be the agreed-upon amount. Rents are usually paid in advance to minimise a landlord's financial risk should a tenant attempt to leave without giving due notice.
Paying other bills
Unless specifically stated otherwise in your tenancy agreement, you will usually be responsible for paying a number of other household bills. Certain bills may sometimes be included in the cost of your rent, but this should be made clear to you before you take on the property. Your utility bills might include electricity, gas (if available at the property) and water, but you are also likely to be liable for paying council tax as well (unless you are exempted because you are a full time student). You are not liable for any overdue bills owed by previous tenants, so you should pass any that are delivered to you on to the landlord.
Any damages caused by you or other people living to you will have to be repaired, and you will be required to foot the bill. If you do not make these repairs, your landlord will be entitled to deduct the cost of them from your tenancy deposit (though you are entitled to see any receipts for work undertaken). Decorating a property without obtaining prior consent from your landlord could also be seen as causing damage to the property and you might be charged the cost of returning it to its previous state (even if you think you have improved it).
Securing the property
You may be obliged to do everything in your power to make a property as secure as possible to resist and deter theft. Keeping doors locked will not only help protect your stuff, but also the landlord's stuff (if the property is furnished) and decrease the chances of damage being caused. If your negligence results in the property being damaged, your tenancy deposit could be jeopardised and any home insurance you have could be invalidated. Lock doors every time you leave and set alarms if they are installed. If you are concerned about the security of the property, you should discuss the matter with your landlord before implementing any changes.
Keeping the place clean
You are not necessarily required to keep a property clean continuously while you occupy it, but it is a good idea to maintain certain levels of hygiene. You will be required to return the property to the landlord at the end of your tenancy in the same state you found it. You may also be required to keep it clean for any inspections that you have been notified of in advance and toward the end of your contract when it may need to be shown to other interested parties. Keeping your accommodation clean will help reduce the chances of damage occurring.
You will be responsible for finding your own tenants' home insurance, as you will not be covered by the landlord's home insurance policy in many situations. If your accommodation is shared with other people, you may find it harder to get the cover you need as sharing with anyone other than your immediate family is seen to present a higher risk. With shared house insurance or flat share insurance from HomeProtect, you can get a competitive online quote with ease.
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