Below are some points to consider when renting from the private sector:
You will find that the availability of accommodation in the private sector is much higher than that in the social (council and housing associations) sector. You will therefore have a much greater choice over the type of property and area you wish to live.
Be realistic about what you have available for rent and bills per month. Rents tend to be slightly higher in the private sector and most tenancy agreements are assured shorthold tenancies for 6 or 12 months (see below for further details).
Some landlords will require bonds and rent in advance and some agencies will charge you an introduction/agency fee.
Some agencies will conduct a credit check.
If you are on a low income you may be able to get help with your rent by applying for housing benefit.
Many landlords use letting agents to manage their properties. The letting agency may advertise their properties in their offices, in newspapers or on the internet.
If you meet the landlord or letting agent at the property it will give you a chance to ask questions about the rent due date, or their procedure for reporting and acting on disrepair for instance. It will also give you an opportunity to judge how well your relationship with the landlord or agent will be. You may get the chance to ask tenants about their experiences.
Read the tenancy agreement thoroughly before signing. You may wish to seek legal advice too. They should not include responsibility for repairs that would legally be the responsibility of the landlord.
Check appliances such as gas fires or oil boilers have a recent safety certificate and are regularly services and ask to see a copy.
Remember all deposits should now be protected under the deposit protection scheme.
Check if the landlord is registered with Rent Smart Wales. From 23 November 2016 all private landlords must register with Rent Smart Wales and provide details of their properties. If a landlord wants to manage the property themselves, they must hold the relevant licence. Alternatively, they can appoint a licensed agent to manage the property on their behalf. For more information visit the Rent Smart Wales website.
The vast majority of private rented tenants are assured shorthold tenants. You automatically have an assured shorthold tenancy if:
You will also be an assured shorthold tenant if you moved in between 15th January 1989 and 27th February 1997 and your tenancy agreement specifically stated that it was an assured shorthold tenancy.
The law gives you rights to:
Assured shorthold tenants can be evicted fairly easily, particularly if any fixed term agreement has come to an end. The landlord may not have to give a reason but would usually have to give you 2 months written notice.
An assured shorthold tenant can be asked to leave without good reason if:
If you don’t leave by the end of your notice period, your landlord will have to go to court to get a court order to evict you. This is known as a possession order. If the correct procedure has been followed by the landlord the court will grant the order and you may be liable for the costs. If you don’t leave by the time a court order takes effect, the court can ask the bailiffs to physically remove you from the property. If the landlord tries to get you to leave without following the correct procedure he may be guilty of an offence.