If you are new to renting a home, you may be looking for some top tips to help you avoid common pitfalls and problems. This article is designed to help you through the confusion so that you can find a property that perfectly meets your needs.
1. Establish A Budget
It can be easy for costs to spiral out of control when you’re renting a home for the first time, so don’t forget to take into account all of your essential outgoings when setting your rental budget. While you may already have factored in expenses such as a deposit and your first month’s rent, there are other costs which you may not have considered. These may include such costs as a tenancy set up fee to be paid to the letting agent, an additional person fee or a guarantor fee. You may also need to buy furniture if you are moving to an unfurnished property.
2. Finding A Property That Meets Your Needs
Before you start your property search, you need to establish your requirements. Do you need a child-friendly home? Will you be keeping pets? Are you a smoker? Do you receive housing benefit? Some landlords will only let their properties to tenants who meet certain criteria, so be sure that you are searching for suitable homes from the outset. Letting your estate agents know your precise requirements is a good way of ensuring that you will only be viewing properties that meet your criteria without wasting anybody’s time.
3. Don’t Be Afraid To Ask Questions
While you may feel that you are the one being judged by potential landlords, it is also important for you to be reassured that the landlord is a good fit with you. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the property to avoid any unpleasant shocks later. Find out exactly how much the monthly rent will be and what is included, how much deposit will be required and how it will be protected, any fees that must be paid up front and at renewal of the tenancy, the minimum length of the contract and the notice period you will need to give when you wish to leave the property.
4. Ensure Your Wellbeing
You should always find out who must be contacted in an emergency or in the event of repairs being necessary, and that the property is adequately insured and protected with a gas safety certificate. Also be sure to check the inventory before moving in to ensure that it is accurate as otherwise you may find that you will have to replace items at the end of your tenancy that were never there in the first place.
5. Choosing An Agent
Making sure you choose a good estate agent is vital when looking to rent a property. Many landlords will use an estate or letting agent to handle their affairs and the choice is vast. With so many agents around you need to make sure that you go with a reputable regulated company rather than an unregulated outfit.
Choose an agent that’s in the local vicinity to the rental property. At the end of the day if something goes wrong inside the property, you can easily get the agent round as quick as possible to resolve the problem.
Make sure that the agent carries out all the appropriate checks on yourself such as an identity, credit checks and employment references. You should receive a signed tenancy agreement from the agent along with an EPC certificate and any applicable gas safety certificates. In addition make sure that the agent uses a regulated Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TPS). This means that the money you hand over for the deposit is not held by the agent but by a government approved service provider. Ask for proof of your deposit with the TPS.
Follow these simple tips and you are sure to be able to find a suitable rental property to meet your individual requirements.