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Renting privately

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A lot of people choose to rent directly from the landlord themselves, without paying for an intermediary. As ever, most people are reasonably happy with the solution they choose, but there are always a fair share of nightmares and horror stories, especially where private residential property rentals are concerned.

The thing to remember is that the rented accommodation industry is largely unregulated. There are a reasonable number of laws in place to protect both tenants and landlords, but that does little to stop rogue landlords practicing their ploys, scams and schemes.

Private landlords have no requirement to belong to any professional body or trade association and they have no reputation to uphold. This makes them more able to fleece you. Read about some of the bond scams that we have heard about. It also gives you little hope of any comeback if anything untoward does happen. Private landlords are also less likely to stick to health and safety, fire or gas regulations, so you should be extra vigilant when you check over the property before moving in.

On the flip side, there are certain distinct advantages to renting through a private landlord:

  • Rents should not usually be as high as they would be for a managed property of the same standard, since there are no management fees to pay.

  • Private landlords will not charge you an administration fee for arranging the tenancy. This can already save you hundreds of pounds. Nor do they usually charge you a fee for referencing, which saves you 10 or 15 pounds.

  • Private landlords are generally more flexible. You may be able to negotiate to keep a pet, live with smokers or to pay reduced summer rent if you are a student.

  • You are more likely to be able to build a rapport with your landlord if you deal with him or her directly rather than through an agent. In return, they will probably be even more accommodating if you prove yourself to be a good tenant.

As a final point, if you have your heart set on renting privately rather than through an agent, here is a tip that was sent in to us for avoiding accidentally wasting time on lettings agents:

When you are looking at adverts, don't be tricked by adverts that look like they are from private landlords but are actually from trade businesses. Many lettings agents will post numerous ads in the classifieds sections of local press and in the free ads publications in the hope of winning your business. Spot the same ads week in, week out. Sometimes they will appear boxed or in bold. You may well see the same contact phone number, but different lettings negotiators from the same company may have different phone lines with different numbers, so they may not.

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