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How far in advance to start looking for a rental property?

(17 Posts)
MashaMisha Thu 22-Oct-15 11:48:39

We are moving to the UK from overseas in the new year, and will need to rent somewhere to live.

We can't afford much overlap, as we will still be renting our house here up until we leave - but is it likely that we will be able to get a rental "fixed up" in advance, or will we have to wait until nearer the time when we actually want it?

Should I be writing to letting agencies now, telling them of our requirements and asking them to keep us in mind?

Presumably even if something came up, they wouldn't want to leave it empty for 3 months until we needed it, and we can't afford many extra months rent to secure a property (we could manage one month, maybe).

Is it worth trying to sort something out now, or is it too early?

namechangedtoday15 Thu 22-Oct-15 13:16:44

It depends which area of the country you are looking at, what kind of property you want and what time of you it is.

We looked for a property a few years ago and wanted to move in over Christmas. House was empty and agent was prepared to allow us to sign at the beginning of December for the tenancy to start when we moved in (without paying for December). We were willing to sign up for 12 months (which was obviously an advantage for the landlord) and it was unlikely that anyone else was going to come along in mid December who wanted to move in straight away.

So I'd say it depends on the market in your chosen area and what bargaining power you have. I'd give a few agents a ring and see what they think.

specialsubject Thu 22-Oct-15 13:31:21

way too early now.

as noted, depends on the area - but you don't want to rent a place without seeing it. So look for a holiday let/airbnb to base yourself in for a couple of weeks while you hunt.

specialsubject Thu 22-Oct-15 13:32:25

also - be prepared to show proof of your right to remain in the UK (Landlords now have to check) and with no UK credit history, also be prepared to pay six months rent in advance or provide a guarantor.

MashaMisha Thu 22-Oct-15 15:46:36

We are all British passport holders, so no problems with right to remain.

I agree it's not ideal to rent somewhere without seeing it - but the idea of just arriving back in the country with nowhere to live is a bit daunting, so I'd rather get something sorted out.

homeaway Thu 22-Oct-15 16:21:24

Agree that you might have to pay six months in advance as this happened to friends of ours. I would oganise a few days to come and view properties before you move as you could get a nasty shock if you don't.

MashaMisha Thu 22-Oct-15 16:42:05

What sort of nasty shock? sad. Or do you mean the 6 months rent up front?

We do have a UK bank account, and we actually own a UK flat that we have been letting out since we moved abroad (the rent from it goes into the UK account) would that be enough to give us a credit history?

I suppose if not there is nothing we can do apart from get a guarantor - do they have restrictions on who could be one? Can, for example, a retired person be one?

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Thu 22-Oct-15 16:50:17

We moved back to the UK from overseas. Like you we're British passport holders and maintained our UK bank accounts whilst overseas. We had no problems securing a rental property ahead of moving back.

I got in contact with letting agents and fortunately have a friend in the area we moved to who was happy to do viewings for us. We had to provide all the usual information to the referencing agency including proof of employment and income. We didn't have to pay 6 months in advance just the regular security deposit and month rent in advance. I'm very glad we had someone on the ground to do viewings as decent places were getting snapped up very quickly.

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Thu 22-Oct-15 17:04:24

Should have added, I started looking on Righmove about 8 weeks before we moved. Moved to a commuter town in south east.

MashaMisha Thu 22-Oct-15 17:06:28

YellowBrickRoad that is reassuring to hear.

Unfortunately we have no prior links to the area we are moving to, so nobody to do viewings for us. I think we will have to arrange a few days to come over and look round a few places, but it is tricky as we can't take the DC out of school in term time and DH works very long hours.

lalamumto3 Thu 22-Oct-15 17:17:48

I think that most tenants need to give between 4 and 8 weeks notice. It really depends on where you are looking to rent and the market. Most LLs will not want a large void, but if they have a property sitting empty you may be able to negotiate.

I am sure if you say your area, budget and what you want you may get more specific advice.

goodbyeyellowbrickroad Thu 22-Oct-15 17:19:22

Don't forget that with FaceTime and Skype you could always get the agent to show you round properties that way. Not the same as being there in person but a possible solution if you can't make a trip to do viewings yourself.

specialsubject Thu 22-Oct-15 17:47:17

ah - you may be in luck! Suggestion: look on rightmove for the area for properties of interest and contact the agents concerned to register. (this should cost ZERO). Explain your situation and see what they say regarding referencing, guarantors etc.

also:

www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent

homeaway Thu 22-Oct-15 21:30:23

What i really should have said is that photos do not always tell the whole truth ; we have rented holiday houses that have been great but others have been less than great and there was no way of telling by the photos. If you can't get over to see anywhere then try and find a good estate agent as that will make all the difference. We have been looking at houses in the last few months and it is quite surprising what some places are like when you actually view them. I am sure you will find somewhere great to live .

dynevoran Fri 23-Oct-15 10:35:37

Where are you moving to? If it happens to be east London I'm out and about viewing houses to buy quite a bit and wouldn't mind looking at a few people rentals if at all helpful.

MashaMisha Fri 23-Oct-15 15:08:44

dnyevoran that's very kind of you flowers, not London, unfortunately.

I have put myself on the mailing list for a couple of local lettings agents. Good idea about posibly seeing round places on Skype, I hadn't thought of that.

specialsubject Fri 23-Oct-15 17:21:17

as an aside, all properties up for rent now have to have an EPC. This is a fairly useless document (the model produces suggestions such as solar panels or wind turbines and actually shows that they will take 200 years to pay off!) BUT it does show the floor area of the property. Even the worst EPC assessor would struggle to cock that one up.

It also has suggestions such as 'replace boiler' which if present shows you what is there currently.

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