Deciding where you wish to spend the next period of your life
is one of the biggest parts of searching for your new rented
home, and the location you choose will not only determine
your happiness and peace of mind, but will also have a great
impact on the type of property you are able to rent within
When choosing an area to rent in, you need to establish what
major factors are really important to you, and consider your
priorities with regard to public transport, local facilities and
nearby schools, as getting the location right is absolutely
paramount because it will ultimately determine how long you
stay in your new found home.
In order to get it right, or as right as is possible, you should
spend plenty of time doing your own research, figure out the
specific area that appeals to you, and find out as much
information about it as you can. Generally, the more flexible
you can be about where you live, the better your chance of
finding your ‘perfect property’.
Before you start your property search, it is essential that you
consider how much rent you will be able afford to pay every
month for the period of the tenancy, take into account any
other financial commitments you have, and try to establish
whether any changes to your future circumstances could
affect your ability to pay your rent.
Working out and sticking to a maximum budget is important
to ensure you are not overstretching yourself and your
finances. If in doubt it is always better to over-estimate rather
than under-estimate your regular monthly outgoings, to make
sure that you will have enough money to live comfortable
after you have paid your rent and bills.
When setting your budget, you should ascertain the other
costs you will be committing to when agreeing to rent a
property, including: council tax, utility bills, broadband and a
TV license. Remember that you will also need to have extra
funds available up front to pay a deposit and the first month
rent in advance, before you commit yourself.
When it comes to finding the ideal property to rent, timing is
everything. For instance, knowing when to begin your search
is only the first step, as the majority of properties are available
either immediately or within one month, hence we suggest
that the best time to start looking is approximately 4-5 weeks
before you need to move.
The lettings market moves very fast, so when the right
property does come along you will want to act immediately. If
you will be living with more than one person, we recommend,
whenever possible, that all prospective tenants attend the
viewing, since this will allow you to make a quick decision and
reduce the risk of loosing out to another applicant.
Another key factor to remember is to raise any requests when
you decide to take the property, so that everything can be
agreed at the beginning. Our best advice is to be prepared to
compromise as there is always the chance that you may not
get everything you want, this will also help in setting the tone
for a smooth tenancy going forward.
When you first contact a letting agent, you should always get
clear information about what and how much they will charge
you as a tenant, in the way of their fees, in addition to the
deposit and rent. Typically agency fees are normally charged
for: credit reference checks, administration, and contribution
towards an inventory check.
Fees can vary tremendously, and you might be surprised to
discover that some agents will charge unsuspecting tenants
hundreds of pounds for drawing up a tenancy agreement,
and each subsequent time the tenancy is renewed. Thus, it
is always wise to compare agency fees, and if you think the
fees are too high, go elsewhere.
Sadly ramping up non-optional fees has now becoming a
sharp practice by many lettings agents in the rental market
in certain areas of the capital and other major cities in the UK,
so it is really important for you to chose an agent who is an
active member of a Redress Scheme such as ‘The Property
Ombudsman’ (TPO) to ensure you are fully protected.
As a tenant, you may think that you do not have any risks or
duties when you live in a rented home, or your landlord is
always right as the owner of the property. But the truth is that
a tenancy does not just give you rights but it also brings
responsibilities, so it is necessary to understand what these
are before moving into a new place.
The first thing to do is to check your tenancy agreement, if
there is anything you are not sure of, it is worthwhile to take
time and seek guidance prior to moving in. Remember, you
have a duty of care to use the property in a responsible way,
pay the rent in full and on time and adhere to the tenancy
terms – ignoring this could result in loosing your home.
As well as keeping to the terms of your agreement, you are
also responsible for the behaviour of everyone in your
household and your visitors, to make sure that they do not
cause nuisance or annoyance to your neighbours, as
antisocial behaviour is a legal reason that can almost certainly
lead to eviction, regardless of what kind of tenancy you have.
One of the most important elements of renting a property is
to take care of the place as best you can, keep it reasonably
clean and avoid causing damage from misuse or negligence.
It is your duty to ensure you return the property in the same
condition as when it was first let to you, failure to do so could
result in your deposit being held in dispute.
Although your landlord has a legal responsibility to maintain
the property, you need to carry out some minor maintenance
yourself, such as changing light bulbs, replacing smoke alarm
batteries, bleeding radiators etc. However, if something stops
working or any repair works are required, you should notify
your landlord or managing agent as soon as possible.
Bear in mind that if you wish to redecorate the property,
remove any fixtures or fittings, or make any other permanent
changes, you should obtain permission, in writing, from your
landlord or agent first. If you do not gain consent, you may well
be required to return the property back to its original condition
- which can add unnecessary cost and stress.