Renting Top Tips(13 Posts)
Looking to rent privately with dh for the first time in a few months. (Have been living at my mum's for a while and have nearly managed to save up enough for living/dining furniture and rental deposit/fees. Also just got a payrise so time to take the plunge!)
Any advice on (however obvious it might seem) welcome. ie Pitfalls that are easy to miss from a tenant's perspective or What you'd look for in a tenant from a LL's perspective.
My tip would be you can save a lot of money renting from private ads eg Gumtree, but landlords usually have a weak grasp of tenancy law. So make sure you know the rules which are freely available online.
Make sure you get a written tenancy and that your deposit is held in a protected scheme. Take photos on the day you move in to record the condition of the place (decent LLs will provide an inventory clerk but will charge you for the service - you can arrange your own, usually cheaper). Make sure you read all the meters.
Loads of good info from Citizens Advice Common problems with renting
Thanks both, will keep looking online for info too.
Go read how to rent on gov.uk. that defines your rights and responsibilities, and the landlord's responsibilities.
Dont rent a dump expecting it to improve. Make sure the property exists. Check everything over.
That said, most landlords are decent and know what they are doing. Mn and shelter disagree of course.
Make sure you can live with everything about the property (decor, white goods/appliances, heating system, insulation, garden, type of shower, security, etc) as they quite often won't be what most people would choose for their own home, but you won't be able to change them.
If you're a first-time renter, think about who can give you references, as most LLs/agencies will want a previous LL as a reference. You may be able to get away with a character reference from your employer or similar, but check first.
Don't rely on Zoopla or Right Move to find properties, as once they go up they will likely have viewings almost immediately (at least in London). I've always had more luck going to letting agents directly and often they'll take you to see several properties that they haven't had a chance to put online yet.
Im not a fan of Agents, but as its your first time I would use one. But check their fees - all their fees. They vary hugely for no apparent or good reason. If there is a choice chose an agent registered with ARLA or a large chain. It doesnt necessarily mean theyll be good, but you have a better chance and a chain of command to complain to.
When you go in to register with several have all your paperwork with you - neat and orgainsed. 3 months bank statements, ID, work details, references, 3 months payslips. They may not want to see it at this stage, but be prepared. Be smart and polite. Be upfront about any issues - debts, pets. Dont let an Agent tell you the landlord doesnt accept this or that, ask politely that they ask the landlord or perhaps offer to meet you (not saying theres anything negative about your situation!). I have chosen tenants that havent sounded ideal, but on meeting them have accepted them and been very glad that I did.
Once registered, phone regularly, as they will have forgotten about you!!
Dont rent a dump - if your told work will be done. Say youll go back when the work has been done. Chances are it will never be improved.
When you do find somewhere : check your contract carefully, check the inventory carefully, make sure your deposit will be protected (within 14 days you should have paperwwork from the Deposit scheme saying where it is).
Check smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms are provided and working.
Check there is a gas safety certificate, maybe a electrical safety certificate (not legal), instruction manuals, numbers to call for problems.
Finally, there are really strict laws for tenants and landlords. If theres something youre not happy about google, ask advice. Dont suffer in silence. You are needed by the Agent and the landlord, so dont be made to feel unimportant.
There are decent tenants and decent landlords with lovely properties - I just wish we meet up a bit more frequently!!
Wishing you the very best in the search for your new home.
Really helpful advice everyone, many many thanks!
I hadn't thought of registering with agents with paperwork in tow, does seem like a practical idea.
Thanks again all
Booked to see seven properties over the next few days and the advice that I read on here was so useful. Thanks once again.
Expect the first couple of months to cost you a fortune: if you move in in the middle of the month, you might need to find six weeks rent on top of the deposit and various agency fees that you will be charged.
Find out how long the previous tenant stayed there and why they left
Find out whether the property is fully managed (ie the agency is the first port of call to resolve problems) or if the LL manages it themselves. If the latter, find out whether they live locally or would need to drive some way to come to the property.
Check for things like an obviously old boiler (inefficient / costly / could break), damp / mould in the corners of the room, condensation on the window.
if the ll manages the property themself it doesnt necessarily mean that they will fix the repairs themselves, so where they live doesnt always matter.
Definitely go for deposit protection! I've had two landlords that didn't protect and it caused loads of trouble (legally they have to though!
I've rented 8 different properties, only ever had one minor deduction to getting my deposit back. Always tell the LL straight away if something breaks.
Make sure when the LL visits the house is pristinely beautiful as it keeps them happy and stops them coming round all the time, and made him give us a bit more leeway.
I've lived in houses with cowboy landlords- caused some issues but on the whole worked out both ways as they let you get away with more (pets for example) also lived with very uptight landlords but more by the book can cause less trouble.
I have some impressive horror stories (vermin, major leaks, living without a boiler, living above a cannabis farm, getting asked to move out randomly) but it's all always worked out fine.
Best advice is to make yourself at home, don't be afraid of putting up pictures etc. And use anyvan.com to save hundreds on your moving costs!
Think about how 'smart' a place you want to rent - for years we lived somewhere where the decor was far from immaculate, but it meant the inevitable bangs and scrapes from us didn't show. Plus it was much cheaper than market rent at the time (£800, when £1200-£1400/month for a similar property in the area was normal).
Check you have out of hours contact numbers - we didn't, which made the time water started coming through the living room ceiling on a Saturday more exciting than it needed to be.
Ask others who live locally who their agent is (assuming the agent is managing the property). Ours was good; some other local ones have been spectacularly awful (think random power cuts that last for hours).
Check the inventory when you first move in. Take photos of any damage so you don't get charged for it when you move out.
Enjoy your first home together!
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