Rent

You should agree with the landlord the rent and arrangements for paying it before the tenancy begins. The details of your rent should be included in the tenancy agreement. If the tenancy is for a fixed term, the agreement should say either that the rent will be fixed for the length of the term or that it will be reviewed at regular intervals. During the fixed term the landlord can only put the rent up if you agree. If you do not agree he will have to wait until the fixed term ends before the rent can be raised.

A landlord must give at least a months notice of the increase if the rent is paid on a monthly basis or a weeks notice if the rent is paid weekly.

A shorthold tenant can apply to a Rent Assessment Committee to set a rent at the beginning of the tenancy if they consider the rent being charged is significantly higher than comparable rents in the area. A tenant, however, can only apply to the committee once within 6 months of the start of an original tenancy. An application cannot be made if the original tenancy has ended and been replaced or more than 6 months have elapsed since the original tenancy began.

The landlord is only legally obliged to provide a rent book if the rent is payable on a weekly basis but it is a good idea to try to get a receipt for any rent paid which is not being entered in a rent book as this can avoid disputes later.

Bonds

Landlords usually ask their tenants to pay a bond at the start of the tenancy. The bond is security against damage to the property and contents or if you do not stick to the terms of your tenancy - such as not paying your rent.

Inventory

An inventory is a list of all the items at the property noting the condition of all the furniture, fixtures, fittings and effects which are to be left at the property for the duration of the tenancy and for the tenant's responsibility and safekeeping.

This should be supplied by the landlord at the beginning of the tenancy and should list each room noting what is in that room.

Ideally this should be checked at the time of occupying with the landlord, making a note of things such as decoration, whether there are any cracked sockets or any defects and making sure that both yourself and the landlord agree on it and sign it. Taking photographs is a very good method of avoiding disputes.

Your landlord will ask you for a bond at the beginning of your tenancy. This bond is to cover things such as any damage to the property or contents while you are living in the property. By making this list, the "inventory", when it comes to the end of your tenancy, you both have proof of what was originally in the rooms and the condition they were in.

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