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Going into renting for the first time - help!

(16 Posts)
myleftfoot Tue 23-Dec-14 13:02:34

I'm embarrassed to ask for advice on this as I'm a grown-up who should know these things.

Basically, marital breakdown and after xmas the family home will be going on the market (I don't want to stay here and he can't buy me out). No family or friends anywhere who can put us up so I need to go into rented. I've never rented privately before - pre-family house we rented a place belonging to my family and before that we were students. All this is really new to me.

I have an idea on what rent I can afford although I have no savings for rental deposit etc. I'm totally clueless. I have an amount of personal debt (3k), will this cause problems? What do I do first?

Please help? sad

chockbic Tue 23-Dec-14 13:11:55

Being a grown up doesn't mean you know everythingfsmile

The letting agent will run a credit check. As long as you're repaying the debt on time, it should be fine. If not, you can offer a guarantor, if you have one.

Standard contract is six months. A deposit is usually required of one months rent. Can be slightly higher if you've got a pet.

bartsimpsonsoul Tue 23-Dec-14 13:16:01

Thanks Chockbic. The guarantor thing is a problem - both my parents rent and we're not close so they couldn't help. I don't have friends who would be able to offer that I think. What happens if you have no guarantor?

Say I find a place I like, how long does it usually take to get keys (if say the place is empty)?

Does having a mortgage - albeit for a house you're selling - cause problems when you're trying to rent?

oswellkettleblack Tue 23-Dec-14 13:17:06

Are you working? This helps a lot as many LL's done take LHA and as you do not have savings, you cannot offer to pay 6 months rent up front. You need a deposit and first months' rent, though.

oswellkettleblack Tue 23-Dec-14 13:18:06

Um, did you just name change?

bartsimpsonsoul Tue 23-Dec-14 13:19:13

Yes I'm working FT. Steady job on decent wage.

Thinking of selling my wedding rings to get some funds together for a deposit, if I can. It won't be a huge amount but might cover it.

chockbic Tue 23-Dec-14 13:19:16

If your credit history checks out OK, you won't need a guarantor. The agent just wants to make sure you will pay the rent in full and on time. Same with mortgage, as long as you can afford the repayments, no issue.

myleftfoot Tue 23-Dec-14 13:19:47

Oh bugger. Didnt see the name change.

specialsubject Tue 23-Dec-14 17:30:31

the landlord's concerns are:

1) can you pay the rent without struggling, given that you will also be paying the council tax, all the utility bills and obviously food, travel, life etc.

this is no 1 - it takes four to six months to evict a non-paying tenant so the landlord needs to be sure you can pay. This is why credit checks are run. Usually guidelines are that rent is no more than 40% of income.

2) do you smoke? Not popular.

3) do you have pets? Also challenging.

I also prefer tenants who have lived independently and so know how to keep a place basically looked after. This means heating it and ventilating it, not filling it with mould, putting out rubbish, keeping it reasonably clean. (If you keep your knickers in a huge heap on the floor that is your business) Previous house holders also (we hope) know to report problems; the landlord cannot fix what he doesn't know about. Previous house holders also know that plumbers/gas men don't turn up an hour after the problem is reported, however quick the landlord is off the mark.

your landlord cannot visit without your permission and prior notice except in emergency. Any visits for checks or fixes are at your convenience, unless they are due to a risk to the property.

if the property has gas appliances, you need to see an up to date gas safe certificate before taking it on. No ifs, buts or excuses. The certificate is renewed annually.

if the property looks unloved, it won't get better. Don't rent a dump expecting it to improve, it won't. Check that everything works (previous tenants may not have reported problems). In short, view a rental as if you were planning to buy it.

standard deposit is six weeks' rent. This goes into one of the three government deposit schemes, and you MUST be given the information on where it has gone. It MUST be lodged within 30 days of paying it. To make any deductions at the end of the tenancy, the landlord must prove damage - not wear and tear. Live like a normal human (as I'm sure you do) and there will be no problem. The deposit is YOUR money. It is not to be used against the last month's rent, it is in case of any damages.

if a house is empty, you should have the keys within 10 days, sooner if the credit checks/references are quicker.

mothermirth Tue 23-Dec-14 20:15:35

Good post specialsubject smile

myleftfoot Tue 23-Dec-14 20:57:11

Thanks special thats really insightful.

The rent as 40% of income is a potential problem since rents are very high in this area and relocation would be difficult as school/work is here. Dont smoke but have a cat so that is also a potential problem.

specialsubject Wed 24-Dec-14 11:59:45

being able to pay the rent is the main thing and you need to show that you can do that.

cats don't bark and don't need much attention, but can do huge damage. (voice of experience here). Clawed woodwork and carpets can be very expensive to replace. Your landlord won't get the full new replacement value of things as 'wear and tear' is allowed, and carpets in rentals are deemed worthless after 8 years or so anyway. However woodwork is expected to last longer so that could be an issue. Hence you may need to offer a bigger deposit. No damage and it all comes back.

myleftfoot Wed 24-Dec-14 15:57:11

Thanks Special. Fortunately DCat is well behaved and doesn't scratch in the house (I dont allow it) but appreciate larger deposit may be necessary. Its worth it if it means I get to bring DCat with me.

specialsubject Wed 24-Dec-14 16:31:28

splendid. Think of this as a sales pitch = 'I would be a great tenant because...' and then show you've solved anything that may be worrying the landlord. Starts the relationship off on the right foot.

good luck - despite what you read here, most landlords are decent, as are most tenants.

myleftfoot Wed 24-Dec-14 17:00:30

Thats good to hear, you hear so many horror stories and I dont want any trouble, just somewhere to live. Thanks special, merry Xmas smile

specialsubject Wed 24-Dec-14 19:28:49

smile you too.

you do only hear horror stories, 'my landlord is decent/my tenant is decent' doesn't get posted because it isn't interesting!

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