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The Essential Guide to renting for the first time

A step-by-step handbook to help rent a property

You’ve looked at your options and decided renting is best for you. Whether you are looking for your first property as a young adult, relocating for work, require a short term let whilst you are having works completed on your purchased home or your need somewhere to live whilst you search to purchase your forever home. Renting isn’t always for those waiting to get on the property ladder, it can be a means to offer you great flexibility however it still takes time and money to find the right property. So give careful thought to finding somewhere that will suit you. Below will set out the best way to find and secure the right property for you.

Before you start- Get financially prepared!

You need to ensure your affordability meets the criteria of the property you wish to rent. The simple calculation is annual salary = 30 x’s the monthly rent. For example, if you earn £30,000, your maximum monthly rental affordability will be £1000pcm.

You will also need to consider that to secure a property you will be required to pay a holding fee. This will never exceed the amount of one weeks rent. This payment is deducted from your first month’s rent providing you pass the referencing procedure. In addition, more often that not you will be required to pay one months rent as a Deposit along with the initial first months rent in advance. For all assured short-term tenancies rental payments are due monthly in advance.

Find a place to rent

Look at the criteria your property requires. Does it have to have a certain amount of bedrooms, be close to public transport or schools? Once you have narrowed your search area, you can use our search tool to find available properties.

Budget for your tenancy

Renting isn’t just about paying your monthly rent. Consider all the financial commitments you will be responsible for including council tax, utilities, food and travel.

Arrange your rental

You have chosen your ideal area; you have set your budget- now you are ready to start viewing. When booking a viewing the negotiator will usually ask you to confirm your annual salary and any adverse credit history. This can be CCJ’s, IVA’s or Bankruptcy. It is vital that you ensure that you have a clear credit history as failing your referencing could cost you your holding deposit fee.

You’ve found your property!

Congratulations, you’ve found your property and had your offer of renting accepted by the landlord. You’ve paid your holding fee and received the referencing request. As standard practice for referencing, previous landlords and your employer will be contact. To ensure the process runs as quickly and smoothly as possible, make them aware that they will be contacted. Work with your negotiator to secure a move in date, prior to your move in date your negotiator will arrange for an inventory report to be issued. This report documents the condition of the property and its contents at the start of your tenants. It is used to calculate any claims against your deposit at the end of your tenancy.

Tenancy responsibility

A tenant and landlord have specific legal responsibilities to each other. Understand what they are and what to expect.

Tenant’s responsibilities - look after the property.

  • Keep it clean.
  • Take care of appliances and furniture.
  • Seek permission to decorate. 
  • Report all repairs.
  • Understand how the boiler and major appliances work.
  • Locate your stop cock, fuse box and meters.
  • Check your smoke alarms. 
  • Be considerate of your neighbours.

Landlord’s Responsibilities

Your Landlord/Agent has responsibilities to you as a paying tenant:

  • Maintain the structure and exterior of the property. 
  • Install smoke alarms on each floor.
  • Fit carbon monoxide alarms in room using solid fuels (coal or wood for example)
  • Deal with problems related to water, electricity, and gas supply.
  • Maintain appliances and furniture they have supplied. 
  • Repairs. If something is not working, report it to the Landlord (or their Agent) as soon as you can.
  • Arrange an annual gas safety check by a Gas Safe engineer (where there are any gas appliances).
  • Give a minimum of 24 hours’ notice for property visits.

Moving out

When your tenancy is due to end, find out what you need to do before moving out of the property.