Tips for Tenants

Guide for first time renters

You’re looking for a new home to rent but you’re not sure where to start. Let us help.

➀ Plan your budget

You will have a few significant outgoings when you first set up a new tenancy:

1. A tenancy set up fee charged by your letting agent to conduct a credit check, seek references from previous landlords and employers, setting up the tenancy agreement and protecting your deposit.
2. Your first month’s rent.
3. Your deposit which will be at least the same amount as one month’s rent, and is often more.

In addition, you may encounter other initial fees, such as:

4. An additional person fee charged for every other person included in the tenancy.
5. A guarantor fee. You may need a guarantor (usually a parent or guardian) if you cannot provide appropriate references (for example, students who have never rented a property before).

Other initial outgoings might include:

6. Furnishings, if your chosen property is unfurnished.

Once you have moved in, you will have ongoing costs:

1. Your monthly rental payments.
2. Your council tax payments.
3. Your utilities including gas, electricity and water. Sometimes these may be included in the rent.
4. Phone bills, broadband and line rental.

Make sure you take all of these costs into account when you’re thinking of renting a property.
Write down a projection of all your monthly outgoings (not forgetting money to spend on food, clothes and the pub) so you can see how much money you have left for rent.

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➁ Search for a property

When do you want to move? We recommend beginning your search around 6-8 weeks prior to your ideal move date.

Start looking for a house to rent. Property portals allow you to register for daily updates of new properties and this is a great way to stay ahead of the competition from other’s searching for property.

Depending on what you can afford and your personal circumstances, you may decide to rent somewhere on your own, with a friend, or find a room in a shared house.
If you’re a smoker, have children or pets, or receive housing benefits your pool of properties may be limited as not every landlord will accept these kinds of tenants.

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Tips for viewing rental property

When you’re looking for a new home to rent, making the most of the viewing is crucial.

Use our top tips to help.

1.Get there quick.

The competition for good rental properties is high, and the best properties will be snapped up quickly. To be sure you don’t miss good properties, try to get there quick and be the first to view. Sign up to email alerts to be ahead of the crowd.

2. Ask the right questions & be prepared.

What’s important to you? What questions do you need to ask? Make a list, because it can be easy to forget these things once you’re making a viewing.

Then, make sure you ask the right questions:

•   How much is the rent per calendar month?
•   What is included in the rent?
•   What additional bills are there? What is the likely cost? If it’s a house-share, how are the bills split and who pays them?
•   How much deposit is needed? Where will my deposit be protected?
•   What fees do I need to pay to set up the tenancy?
•   Are there fees further down the line if I choose to renew the tenancy?
•   How long is the contract?
•   What notice period is needed when I want to leave the property?
•   Who should I contact in the case of an emergency?
•   What insurance does the landlord have to cover the property? What insurance do I need to cover myself?

3.Take a friend.

Never go to a viewing alone. Take a partner, a friend, or attend the viewing with a letting agent. It’s safer, and you’ll have someone to ask for a second opinion.

4. Check the bills.

You can request to see utility and council tax bills so you know what to expect. Is anything included in the rent?

5.What’s included?

Is the property furnished, or will you need to bring your own bed? You need to know as this could be a significant additional cost that you may not have budgeted for.

6. It’s all in the details.

A modern kitchen and a huge garden can be scene stealers. But don’t forget to look at the details too. Check all doors are secure. Check the water is running properly in the kitchen and bathroom. Look for smoke alarms in every room.

CHECKLIST – Download Useful guide.

This guide is for tenants and landlords in the private rented sector to help them understand their rights and responsibilities.

It provides a checklist and more detailed information on each stage of the process, including:

what to look out for before renting
living in a rented home
what happens at the end of a tenancy
what to do if things go wrong