With over a third of households in England and Wales being rented, it’s important that those of us renting properties are clued up on the ins and outs of renting so our experience is a happy one. Renting a property can be daunting, there’s a lot to think about and do but there are a few things that are helpful to know and will start you off on the right track. I have listed a few of my top tips when renting below.
Decide whether to rent privately or through an agency
One of the first choices you will have to make is whether you want to rent privately or through an agency. There are pros and cons to both, so it’s important to do a bit of research before making a decision.
Renting through an agency means you will have a wider variety of properties, your agency will be in the know when it comes to rental laws and you have a port of call if your landlord isn’t helping in a situation for any reason.
One negative when renting through an agency is their fee’s. The first time I rented through an agency I was charged a fee of £300 on top of one month’s rent and deposit. Thankfully, the government is trying to abolish these fee’s and hopefully in the next year or two agencies will no longer be able to charge these fees. But at present, it’s worth asking if there are any fee’s involved before moving forward with an agency to avoid any unexpected charges.
Going directly through a landlord means you won’t have any agency fee’s, you can build a good relationship with your landlord directly and you might have more leeway when it comes to decorating etc. Negative points can include if you and your landlord have a disagreement and it can’t be resolved and some landlords won’t know or may not abide by laws as an agency who is closely regulated will.
Do your research
After you have decided whether to rent privately or through an agency, you will have to decide which area you want to live in, what size/type of property, your budget etc. It’s always worth having a chat with your potential neighbours when visiting a property because this will let you see what they are like and ask a few questions you might have about the local area.
Get any agreements in writing
Whether you decide to rent privately or through an agency I would recommend you get any correspondence in writing. Prior to moving in if repairs are needed ask the landlord or agency to send you an e-mail with all repairs that were agreed and a completion date so you have it in writing. Having things in writing means you have proof should things not go to plan.
When you live in a rented property you are responsible for your own contents insurance. Ensure you get content insurance quickly when you move in so your items are covered should anything happen. Your landlord should have a special type of landlord insurance from a reputable insurance company such as www.homelet.co.uk to cover the house but you will still require cover for your items inside the house.
Check the inventory
This is important if you’re renting a fully furnished or partly furnished property. The landlord or agency will provide an inventory which it is important to go through with your landlord or agency rep present, this way you can agree if any amendments need to be made to the inventory. The last thing you want is to be billed for items when you move out of the property because the list wasn’t accurate. When you have got an inventory you are both happy with you can then both sign it.
Secure your deposit
Most landlords and agencies require a months rent and a months deposit in advance. Your deposit is then held until you leave the property and as long as there’s no damage it will be returned to you. Your landlord or agency must put your deposit in a government-backed tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy. After you leave the property you should receive your deposit back within 10 days.
I hope you have found the above tips useful. If you have any tips for renting I would love to hear them.