The advantages of renting
Although you do not own the property itself, renting offers many advantages for people as an alternative to buying. In this article we have outlined the key reasons why many people across London choose to rent a property.
Renting a property allows for more flexibility than ownership. Renting is ideal for people who move around for work, are new to area or are not able to buy a property.
Furthermore, there are different types of let available suited to a range of needs, including:
- Short let – tenancies of up to six months
- Long let – tenancies of more than six months
- Managed let – a tenancy managed by the letting agent, rather than the landlord
- Corporate let - a residential property rented by a business or organisation for use by their staff
To find out more about the different types of let available, read our guide.
Although tenants and homeowners are usually required to pay a deposit to secure a property, it is refundable, providing there are no damage costs or rent arrears incurred at the end of tenancy. The deposit payable on a rented property is considerably lower than that of a mortgage down payment.
Deposits for all Assured Shorthold Tenancies (AST) in England and Wales must be held in a government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. Under the Housing Act 2004 the deposit and its return are protected, meaning that landlords cannot simply refuse to return part or all of the deposit - any disputes will be handled by the scheme under which the deposit is protected. There are three deposit schemes available. For more information visit Gov.uk.
Once you have signed a tenancy agreement you are protected and bound by its terms. This means that if you do not breach any of the terms, you will be able to remain in the property until the agreement expires.
To find out more about the different types of tenancy agreement, read our guide on tenants' rights and responsibilities.
Rent costs are fixed for the term of your tenancy agreement - landlords are not usually able to increase the rent in this period. The exception to this is if the tenancy agreement allows for an increase, or if the tenant agrees to an increase.
Knowing how much your rent is will allow you to budget more accurately and efficiently, without the worry of fluctuating housing markets.
As a tenant, you are not responsible for the majority of maintenance, repair and decoration work of the property, all of which cost money. While you may be liable for minor, day to day maintenance such as unblocking the sink, any structural or work to the property’s exterior will fall to your landlord or their appointed person or managing agent.
Landlords are responsible for the building or homeowners insurance, and insuring any furniture or appliances included in the let, though tenants are responsible for insuring their own possessions. Bills are sometimes included within the rent, but this is not always the case, so check the tenancy agreement and tenancy type.
If you live in a block of flats, the landlord will be responsible for any associated building costs unless stipulated in your tenancy agreement. This could mean that services such as gardening and window cleaning could also be covered.
In 2014, the UK government launched a £400 million programme to help people save the deposit for a property, while simultaneously renting affordably. Properties built under the scheme will be available for below market rents for a minimum of seven years, so tenants can save for a deposit to buy the property they rent.
You can find out more about the Rent to Buy scheme here.