Paying rent and deposits
Updated: 19 May 2013
Rent is normally paid weekly or monthly and is usually paid in advance. You can agree with your landlord the method of payment but always record payments in your rent book, even if you decide to pay by a Standing Order with your bank or pay by cheque.
Inventory of furniture and furnishings
An inventory should be given the same importance as the tenancy agreement. If your tenancy started after 1st April 2007 an inventory of any furniture and furnishings must be provided by the landlord as part of the statement of tenancy terms. Before you move in, your landlord should have made a list of all furniture and appliances and noted details of the condition of the property, furniture, fixtures and fittings. Agree the inventory with your landlord.
Make sure you get a copy of the agreed inventory, dated and signed by you and your landlord.
You should consider taking dated photographs of each room so that if you move furniture you can put it back to its original location. You will also have photographic evidence of the condition of the furniture and fittings at the start of your tenancy.
A properly drawn-up inventory, agreed between you and your landlord, will help avoid disputes during and at the end of your tenancy, particularly over the return of your deposit.
If you do not get the co-operation of your landlord, it is advisable that you complete your own inventory with an independent witness. Make sure you keep the inventory until you have left the property and your deposit has been returned.
Your landlord will most likely ask you for a deposit as security to cover any damage, theft, unpaid bills or rent arrears at the end of the tenancy. The amount of deposit is normally equal to one months rent, but make sure you know how much deposit you have to pay before you move in.
The statement of tenancy terms should contain information about the amount and return of your deposit.
Make sure you get a receipt for the deposit.
Your landlord cannot keep your deposit or any part of it because of general ‘wear and tear’, for example, worn carpets and seat covers are probably a result of wear and tear.
If your landlord refuses to return your deposit, or makes unreasonable deductions from the total amount, you should get advice from a solicitor or Citizens Advice Bureau or Housing Rights Service
Rent guarantee/ deposit schemes
If you are finding it difficult to get a deposit you may wish to consider getting support from a deposit scheme. Rent deposit and rent guarantee schemes operate in some parts of Northern Ireland. Most schemes have a list of landlords who have properties available for renting.