Property law can sometimes be very confusing- specially as it covers a diverse range of subjects. Every legal system and the people who work in the legal sector use certain terms that we might not understand or which might have a totally different meaning – tenancy in common for instance which was discussed in today’s show.

In spite of being a law graduate it was confusing for me when we discussed tenancy in common and  joint tenancy which actually are types of ownership and not tenancy.

We had opportunity to discuss property law with Ritu Sethi today on the show. She explained in simple words the common legal process involved in a property transaction. For someone who has not been living in this country for that long, buying a property can be a daunting task! She also spoke about licence and tenancy agreements, the difference between them and how it can be terminated.

Ritu also said that buying a property or selling your property can become a very long process and people need to have patience especially if there is a chain of buyers which is a very common. She also spoke about what part a solicitor plays in the whole process and also what to expect from the solicitor.

With the prices of property skyrocketing, we might feel that there would be very few buyers but last week on the street where I live, several houses were up for sale and I was very surprised to find out that almost all of them were sold within the week and lots of offers were placed for the remaining ones. So I definitely feel that in spite of the high prices of property and many people predicting a burst in the property bubble there is no dearth of buyers!

However, if you are renting it is imperative that you are aware of your renter rights! If you’re renting your property, you’re not responsible for everything and there are several things you landlord needs to take care of. Full details of this will often be set out in your contract, but as a minimum it should include: organising and paying for buildings insurance, putting in fire alarms, checking plug sockets, making sure wiring and electricals are safe, getting a gas safety certificate, making sure furniture that’s been provided has a fire safety certificate and generally maintaining the property to a safe and liveable standard.

If the landlord isn’t doing any of the above, you can ask your local council’s environmental health department for help. It must take action if problems can harm you or cause nuisance to others. If you live in Scotland, you should contact the Private Rented Housing Panel for help.

One should also ensure that one’s deposit is protected and it is easy to recover. To avoid any hassles, here are a few tips:

Check your contract. Dig it out and give it another read. Does it say the carpets need to be deep cleaned, or that all picture hooks need to be removed and filled in? If so, make sure these are sorted.
Patch up any damage. Fix it properly – covering up a hole in the wall with a picture may seem like a good idea at the time, but leaving it like this when you move out is practically asking for your deposit to be docked.
Ensure nothing’s missing or broken. Check the inventory thoroughly to make sure everything’s as it should be, and replace or fix as needed.
Take photos as proof you’ve left it in good order. These could be useful evidence later if a dispute arises over your deposit.
Have a proper deep clean. Get a scrupulous friend or family member to check the place over to check there’s nothing you’ve missed, and remove all rubbish. See the Save zillions on cleaning products forum thread for tips to help.