Viewing Properties

First of all you need to know what your looking for…. A house? A flat? Do you mind if it’s ground floor or if some stairs are involved? What location do you want? Are you flexible on location if the property is perfect or flexible on the property if the location is sorted?

Once you have an idea of what you want, the next stage of the rental process is to start viewing properties. It’s a good idea to have a set of questions ready to ask about each property you see as this will give you a clearer idea of the property and will allow you to directly compare each house / flat that you see.

Some questions you may think about asking:

  • Is there any storage space?
  • Does the property come with parking?
  • Is the broadband/signal a good speed?
  • Does the Agent or Landlord look after the property?
  • Are pets allowed?

Depending on what you want from a property and the reasons you’re moving, you’ll have your own questions to add to this list too.
We would suggest you take a tape measure with you when viewing properties as well as the measurements of your furniture. It’s no good deciding that you want to live in a certain house only to find that you won’t get your bed up the stairs, or the sofa is too big.

Household bills

Don’t forget to budget for household bills when looking for your property. These include:

  • Council tax
  • Water
  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Broadband & phone line
  • Contents insurance

Household bills can make a big difference to your budget and what you have left over to pay for rent, so calculating these costs needs to be done as a priority.

In order to save money, be sure to visit a comparison site to compare providers before signing into a contract for each bill. Sites such as MoneySupermarket, MoneySavingExpert, and uSwitch can save you hundreds of pounds each year, so it’s well worth shopping around.

Securing Your Property

You’ve found the perfect place for you to move into, and now you want to progress the process. It’s time to secure your property. The rental market moves quickly, and if you find something you want, you need to go ahead or it could be snapped up by someone else. Making a prompt decision can save you a lot of time and heartache.

The first thing you’ll do is make a formal offer through your negotiator. You’ll be required to provide detailed information alongside your offer related to the referencing process that will follow once the offer is agreed. Upon the offer being agreed you will also be required to provide a down payment showing your commitment towards the Landlord. Now the property becomes known as ‘let agreed’ (not ‘let’, however, everything is still subject to contract).

You and anyone who is going to be on the tenancy agreement with you will need to be credit referenced. This simply confirms that you can afford the monthly rent and that you don’t have serious credit problems. Failing this check doesn’t mean you can’t rent the property, but it could mean that you need to find a guarantor who will agree to pay the rent if you can’t for any reason. Once the checks are done you will be told the outcome so that, should you need to, you can find a guarantor.

Once all the checks have been carried out and the letting agent (and landlord) is satisfied, you will need to pay the deposit and first month’s rent. After that, it’s simply a question of agreeing a moving date and getting packed up!

Looking after your property

When you’ve moved into the property, there are certain things that are generally either the tenant’s or the landlord’s responsibility.
As the tenant, you are obliged to pay your rent on time, whether that’s weekly, monthly, quarterly, or annually. The payment terms will be set out in your tenancy agreement.

You must also keep the property in a good state. It must be well ventilated, sufficiently heated during the winter, and clean of rubbish and dirt. It’s also your responsibility to check smoke alarms, change light bulbs, and get the windows cleaned.

Your landlord will look after maintenance and repairs, but you need to report any breakages or faults, and be able to provide access for the repairs to be made. If you damage any decoration, furniture, or amenities that don’t come down to general wear and tear, you will need to pay out of your deposit.

Moving out

When it comes to moving on, you’ll need to give notice to your landlord, via your Agent or directly to the Landlord. If you’re on a rolling contract, you can usually give 1-2 months’ notice, but if you’re in a fixed term contract – usually 6 months to 1 year – you’ll need to give notice 1-2 months before the end of your contract. If you want to leave before the end of your contract, you’ll generally need to pay a leaving fee, unless your agreement contains a break clause.

Your tenancy agreement will detail everything you’re expected to do before you leave the property. This could be having the property professionally cleaned, and dry cleaning the carpets. General best practice will be to fill any picture hook holes, touch up paint scuffs and chips, and leave the shower and bath sparkling. The inventory from when you first moved in will be useful in helping you get the property ready.