First Time renters guide.
If you’ve never rented before then you may be a little confused about the different kinds of housing available.
From private house lets and HMO Licence: Landlord ResponsibilitiesHouses of Multiple Occupation to serviced accommodation, shared ownership and social housing – there is certainly plenty out there to choose from.
That’s why as Edinburgh's top letting agents, we’ve produced this short guide in order to help you understand the situation a little better:
Private Residential Tenancy.
A new law came into Scotland On December 1, 2017. Any new private rental from this date is open-ended ie there are no fixed periods of rental such as six months or two years etc.
Your rent can only be increased once a year and you have to be notified three months in advance. If you think the increase is too high, you can apply to the First-tier Tribunal to make a determination and if they judge that the landlord has increased the rent above the market level they can order it to be reduced.
The landlord pays for any maintenance and for general factoring costs if it’s flatted accommodation.
Social housing tenant.
In this case, you pay rent to a social housing provider, such as a Housing Association. In many areas of Scotland, social housing providers took over from the local authority.
Rents are usually lower for social housing tenants than in a PRT but there tends to be a large waiting list and it can take years to get a house or apartment (especially if you are not regarded as a ‘priority’ case ie - household with children, homeless etc.
This isn’t as it sounds in that you’re not being forced to share a house with anyone else. Rather, the ‘shared’ term is referring to the fact that some of the property belongs to you and the rest is rent you pay to the local authority or housing provider.
You can have a mortgage for 40 per cent of the property’s value, for instance, and pay rent on the rest. The idea being that over the years the share of the mortgage increases and rent decreases so that eventually you will own the property outright.
This is the type of accommodation that some professionals favour, often if they are working away from home. In a serviced apartment there is often a concierge who can provide access to laundry and cleaning services.
The apartment will be in a block with a shared roof terrace, pool, garden and probably a separate lounge area. This is often the costliest of all the tenancies because of the additional amenities involved.
House of Multiple Occupation (HMO).
Although some HMO flats are let to groups of people some landlords will rent them by the room. There will usually be a shared sitting room, a kitchen, as well as bathroom facilities, but you won’t necessarily know who you are living with.
Individuals will often have a key and lock for their own room. As you would expect, this is the least costly of all the accommodation mentioned.
Know that you are in good company – recent statistics show that around one fifth of homes in the UK today are rented.
That figure is only set to get higher as time goes on and housing provision in general remains underfunded.