Top Questions To Ask Your Edinburgh Letting Agent Before Signing

Not All Edinburgh Letting Agents Are The Same…

If you’re new to renting in Edinburgh or you’re switching to a new letting agent, it’s important to ask the right questions before signing your contract. 

Once you’ve moved in, it’s too late to find you’re unhappy with the service your letting agent provides or the conditions of your tenancy agreement. Getting all your questions answered at the start means you’ll have a smoother relationship with your letting agent and there shouldn’t be any nasty surprises further down the line. 

So, what are the key questions it’s important to ask? We’ve put together a checklist so you can tick them off and make sure you’re fully informed: 

How much is my rent? 

This seems like an obvious one, but often tenants are viewing lots of properties with slightly different rents so they’re not certain of the exact figure. Make sure you know how much you need to pay and on what date of the month it’s due. 

How do I pay my rent? 

Most rent payments are made by bank transfer so you’ll need your letting agent to provide the correct bank details. Get the payment set up in plenty of time and make sure you’ve got the numbers right. 

How much deposit do I need to pay? 

At Clan Gordon, deposits are a minimum of a month’s rent plus £200 but this varies with different agents to it’s important to know exactly how much your initial payment will be, and to ensure you have enough money to cover the deposit and your first month’s rent. 

How do I get in touch? 

Good communication with your letting agent makes for a harmonious relationship so ask the best way to get in touch with your agent. Some have an online portal while others prefer to be contacted by email or phone so check at the start. 

What do I do in an emergency? 

Make sure you know how to contact your agent in an emergency, such as a water leak. There may be a dedicated phone number for emergencies so make note of it and put somewhere obvious so you can quickly find it when you need it. 

How long does it take to get repairs done? 

For tenants, it’s frustrating when maintenance and repairs aren’t carried out in a reasonable amount of time. Ask your letting agent the process for registering issues and getting them sorted. If you don’t feel confident that you’ll get a good service, don’t sign on the dotted line. 

Can I have a pet? 

If you’ve already got a cat or dog, or you plan to get one when you move into your new home, make sure it’s permitted in your tenancy agreement. The Renters (Reform) Bill currently going through the UK Parliament aims to make it harder for landlords to refuse pets in their properties, although insurance may be needed to cover any damage caused. 

Many landlords do permit pets but it’s important to be honest at the start. Don’t think you can sneak one in without your landlord knowing - you could face charges for cleaning the property or be forced to leave for breaching your agreement. 

Can I decorate the property? 

Most landlords allow tenants to change the colour of the walls or do minor improvements, but it’s important to check before you do any DIY in the property. Ask what’s permitted when you move in so there are no issues further down the line. If a property has all white walls and they can’t be changed, you might want to reconsider if it’s right for you. 

What’s in my tenancy agreement? 

When you receive your tenancy agreement, read it carefully and make sure you understand all the clauses. Most agreements are based on the Scottish Government Model Tenancy Agreement but there are likely to be clauses specific to your property. If everything isn’t clear, ask your letting agent to explain and check you’re happy with everything. 

When do inspections take place? 

Your letting agent will carry out regular inspections on your landlord’s behalf to make sure you’re taking care of the property. Ask how regularly these take place and how much notice you’ll be given. You may be happy for your letting agent to carry out an inspection when you’re not home, or you may prefer to be there. Make sure they are aware of your preference. 

What is fair wear and tear? 

Wear and tear is the deterioration that would be expected from normal day-to-day use. For example, tread wear on a carpet or marks on walls caused by furniture pushed up against them. Anything more than this (such as cigarette burn holes or ripped wallpaper) could be considered excessive and some or all of your deposit could be withheld when you leave. You can appeal to your deposit scheme provider for an adjudication if you do not agree with your landlord’s decision. 

For expert advice and information about renting a property in Edinburgh, make an appointment to speak to one of our advisors.  

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