Renting a property is still very popular. This can be a stop gap while you are saving for your own home, or you may like the flexibility of being a tenant where you are not responsible for the upkeep of the property and you can move if you choose to without having to sell your house.
Movingboom are always trying to help you save time and money, so we have provided a short guide and some tips to renting a property.
Can you afford the rent?
Before you rent a property, do a simple income expenditure so that you can work out how much you can afford to pay in rent each month. Work out what you have coming in from wages and other income such as benefits, and deduct all of your expenses. Your expenses should include utilities, travel, clothing, food, debts and anything else you pay out. Whatever is left is a guide to what you can afford to pay in rent. Only look for properties in this range and you may overcommit to a property you cannot afford. Remember that moving into a rental property, you will need to put down a security deposit and may need to pay an agent fee, so include these expenses in your workings out.
Find the right property to rent.
Search for properties online in areas that are good for work, good commuting areas, close to family and friends and have good amenities. As you would expect, the more desirable the area, the higher the rent, so your monthly budget will determine where you can afford to rent. The rental market is fast paced, so make sure that you have the money available for the first month’s rent and security deposit. You do not want to find the perfect rental property and lose out because you do not have available funds.
Ask plenty of questions.
So, you have found your ideal rental property online or with an agent. Make sure you ask plenty of questions before you commit. Property ads only give basic information so you need to know all of the details and what is expected from you as a tenant. Here are a few examples: Are pets allowed, is smoking allowed, what will the landlord maintain, are any utilities included, how much is the deposit, are there any other charges you need to know about? If you hear anything that concerns you, think about walking away. When you sign the contract, it is too late and you are then committed, and it is very difficult to get out of a binding contract. Save yourself the headaches and ask questions to help you make a decision.
Check the tenancy agreement.
When you rent a property, you will need to pass the referencing checks, and then you will be asked to sign an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement. Please ensure you read this very carefully. This is a legal document that is binding so if you are unsure about anything, do not sign the contract. Ask questions if there is anything you do not understand and do not be pressured into signing.
The security deposit.
To rent a property, you will be asked to pay a security deposit, that will be held by the landlord’s agent for the term of the rental. A security deposit is a form of compensation for the landlord, should you cause any damage to the property that is not "Fair wear and tear". All security deposits must now be registered with a government approved tenancy deposit scheme. This protects your money. If there are any issues, the scheme will provide a dispute resolution service and help with mediation to resolve any issues.
Make an Inventory
Make sure you make an inventory (Even if the rental property is not furnished). This way there are no disputes at the end of the tenancy about missing or damaged items. If you notice any damage when the inventory is being carried out, make sure that this is noted with the agent. You do not want to be blamed for damage that was already there when you moved in. If possible, take photos as evidence. These will be date stamped and if needed can be used in a dispute. Save any email correspondence about damages that you may have with the agent.
Paying your rent.
The easiest way to pay your rent is by direct debit or standing order. Always ensure that your rent is paid on time and in full every month. If you fall into arrears you may find it difficult to catch up and non-payment can result in legal action of you could be evicted. Late or missed payments can also show up on future references making it difficult to rent another property, so always make it a priority to keep rent up to date.
At the end of the tenancy
When you reach the end of your tenancy you can leave the property or renew. If you renew, your rent could change and you may have to pay the agent a fee. If you choose to leave the property, agree a date and time that you will have vacated the property. Make sure the property is clean and tidy with no damage. Arrange for the agent to check the property over and make sure that the inventory is correct. This should happen on moving out day. Take final meter readings and request final billing. Make sure you update your mailing address with all your banking and utilities companies. Once you have moved out you can apply for return of your security deposit and you can move on to your new home.