Local charity Housing Right Service has launched a new video to help tenants make the most of living in the private rented sector. ‘The Key to Successful Renting’ takes the form of a 3 minute video and is designed to help people find private rented accommodation and understand their rights.
The video has been scripted and overseen by members of the Private Tenants Forum – a group of tenants who have come together to improve conditions in private rented accommodation. Many of the forum members have encountered difficulties in accessing and sustaining tenancies and want to see an improvement in how tenants are treated in this sector.
The private rented sector meets a wide range of housing needs. The sector has grown enormously in recent years and accounts for approximately 17% of all households, or nearly 130,000 homes in Northern Ireland. With lengthy waiting lists for social housing, more families and individuals are turning to private landlords for accommodation
Housing Rights Service Policy Manager Nicola McCrudden commented:
“One in three of the enquiries to our advice line are from people renting privately so we know that tenants can often be unsure about their rights and responsibilities. The video looks at the key things people need to bear in mind and should help avoid problems when renting.”
Tracey McKeating, a member of the tenants forum spoke of her experiences:” When I was looking for accommodation, I didn’t realise how to go about it or what my rights were. But this video helps to explain these. I would encourage anyone looking for a place to rent to watch this first especially before signing up to anything.”
Housing Rights Service tips for a hassle free tenancy are:
1. Don’t panic and sign up for the first property you see – it pays to shop around
2. Think about the type of property suited to your needs- shared, self contained, flat or house.
3. Consider the location – is it near schools, shops, bus route?
4. Could you afford the costs involved-deposit, rent, rates, heating, electric?
5. When viewing a property look out for any disrepair or signs of damp.
6. Check the inventory of items in the property, including their condition, before signing off.
7. It’s advisable to have contents insurance, as this isn’t normally covered by the landlord.
8. Don’t sign a tenancy agreement unless you are clear about the obligations placed on you.
9. Know your rights and responsibilities as a tenant.
10. If in doubt get free, independent advice