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Private renting: Things to remember

Private renting: Things to rememberSo you’ve decided to rent privately? There are many different things you need to remember before you sign the contract, so check out our guide below.

Length of contract

Most private tenancy contracts run for a year. However, it is common for them to include a ‘break clause’ which means you can give notice and move out after a certain period of time.

A standard contract ties you in for six months, then requires that after six months you give at least one month’s notice if you want to move out. The same rules apply to the landlord – they can’t insist you move out without giving you notice!


Your deposit will usually be one month’s rent or thereabouts. You will need to pay both the deposit and your first month’s rent when you move in – so make sure it is covered in your budget!

The deposit is there to cover any damage you might do to the property. If everything is OK when you move out, you will receive the whole deposit back.

Tips for keeping your deposit

  • Check the property thoroughly when you move in. If there is any obvious damage, i.e. stains, broken windows or appliances, tell the landlord or agent straight away, and take photos so you can show it was there when you moved in.
  • If you damage something, check out how cheap it will be to fix it yourself: it could save you money in the long run.
  • Have an agreement with your housemates that any damage they cause will be dealt with by them. This will save arguments when you come to move out.
  • Your landlord is legally required to put your deposit in a protection scheme to stop them from refusing to return it without a good reason. If they don't do this, you can take them to court to get your deposit back.

Agency fees

If you are renting through an estate agent, they might charge you an administration fee when you move in. This can be anything from £80-200, so make sure you check with the agency so that you can put it in your budget.

You can’t really save money on this fee, although some agents will waive the fee or discount it if they need to get rid of the property quickly.

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