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The tenant's checklist of dos and don'ts


  • Check carefully where you want to live, and for how long, before you sign leases.
  • Do all your sums carefully, and be sure you can afford the total cost before you sign up.
  • Check at least basic safety in your own accommodation.
  • Remember, you take the property 'as seen', don't ask for a string of improvements unless they are safety related.
  • Make sure you have the money available for the deposit, advance rent and all other advance charges before you agree to take a property.
  • Register for council tax, water, electricity, gas, etc. Check meters when you move in and when you move out and keep records.
  • Get an exemption certificate from your college if you are a student exempt from council tax. Don't just not pay it, you'll end up with a summons that way.
  • Check that your own possession are insured, your landlord's policy probably won't cover them.
  • Report anything that breaks down immediately, and in writing if necessary.
  • Be reliable with your rent, and keep a record of all payments.
  • Replace anything that you have damaged or broken.
  • Look after your landlord's property; remember you are only renting its use.
  • Make sure your guests behave.


  • Hand over any money unless you're certain you want a particular property.
  • View properties alone unless absolutely unavoidable and never ever without telling someone else where you are going and when.
  • Authorise builders, plumbers, etc to carry out work to the property without written consent, your landlord will probably refuse to reimburse you.
  • Do any damage and try to pretend you're not liable.
  • Imagine no one will know you live there and hope you won't have to pay your way. Most landlords and agents notify every service provider anyway.
  • Give keys or copies of keys to anyone else.
  • Invite your boy/girlfriend to live with you without your landlord's consent. The property was only let to the signatories of the lease, and you cannot invite others in to share the place or to help pay the rent.
  • Change the people living on joint tenancies without notifying the management. You may end up with no lease at all.