Renting a home

1. Rent properties through reputable agents with a good knowledge of the local area.

Inquire as to whether the landlord is personally known to the agents, whether the firm has been managing the properties for a long period of time and whether former tenants have been reimbursed their full deposits at the end of the tenancy. If you have any concerns, consider moving on.

2. Check your deposit amount is in line with similar rentals and that the landlord will register this with the Deposit Protection Service and will provide you with appropriate certification.

Ask for copies of the gas safety and other installation certificates and check these are up to date. Demand current documentation if necessary.

3. Read the terms of your Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement in full and consult a solicitor over any onerous maintaining and repairing obligations and also the provisions, if any, for automatic renewal and early termination by the landlord.

Solicitor Rebecca Bozier works for Wapping-based firm Gawor & Co

Investing in property

1. In off-plan purchase dealings make sure you understand about assignment of contracts.

This is when contracts have already been exchanged between a developer and a buyer and that original buyer is looking to sell on the benefit of that contract usually at an increased price. Make sure your lender will lend in these circumstances and seek their consent to go ahead.

2. If you are buying a property to rent out or buying with a tenant in situ, it is important to check that all appropriate mains services installation certificates are available and if it is a flat, that the terms of the Head Lease have been complied with.

This often places an obligation on the landlord to register the tenancy with managing agents and or freeholders and you should request a copy of this.

3. Check parking arrangements at developments that you are considering investing in. Inquire as to the availability of on-site parking arrangements and whether other leasees rent out spaces separately (although leases often will not formally permit this).

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