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Renting a Home - Top Ten Dos and Don'ts

1. Only rent from a letting agent who is a member of the government-accredited National Approved Lettings Scheme (NALS) or a landlord who is a member of an Association such as the Landlord Association.

2. From 1st October 2008, make sure you see a copy of the Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) so you know how much your utility bills are likely to be.

3. Never hand over a deposit to a landlord or letting agent until you have written confirmation that is protected by the Tenancy Deposit Protection scheme.

4. Do not rent a property unless you have seen a current copy of a Gas Safety Certificate (legal requirement) and either an Electrical Safety Certificate or written confirmation from thelandlord that the electrics are in good order.

5. Never rent a property without an up-to-date agreement or sign a letting agreement until you have read it over a 24-48 hour period.

6. If you don't understand any clauses within the contract - don't sign it until you understand what it means.

7. Never move into a property unless there you have a copy of an inventory (ideally with photos).

8. If you find anything wrong with the property report it immediately - by phone - and follow up in writing what needs fixing.

9. Don't disturb your neighbours - they can report you - and you could lose your rented home.

10. Make sure that you go around with the inventory clerk before you leave/day you leave so you make sure everything is fairly recorded.

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