Tips if You’re Thinking of Renting a Property
If you’re struggling to get a deposit together for your own place and struggling even more to feel like a fully-fledged grown-up living with your mum and dad, renting could be the answer.
The spike in the housing market means more people are finding it difficult to get on the property ladder, so renting a place is a great option.
Renting offers greater flexibility than owning a property. But it still takes time and money to find the right place. Here’s a few tips to help you in the search.
- You don’t need a red box and a pin-stripe suit to work out a budget. You know what you earn, you know what it costs to survive each week without having to give up beer/footy/friends/Samba or whatever. Do your sums, set a realistic target and stick to it.
- Don’t forget to factor in things like contents insurance. Your landlord should be responsible for building insurance, but you might want to double check this isn’t squirrelled away in the small print.
- You’ll have to pay a deposit. That’s a given. It can be anything up to six months rent in advance. But – and this is crucial – make sure it’s protected. Ask your landlord or lettings agency which scheme they’re with before signing on the dotted line.
- Check whether you need your own TV licence, or you’ve got access to broadband.
- If you’re renting through a lettings agency be sure to ask about fees or additional charges rather than being hit with a sudden unexpected bill.
- Work out where you want to live. We don’t want to muscle in on Phil and Kirsty’s territory but aim for the worst place in the best location, rather than the best place in the worst location. You can do a flat/house up. You can’t do a great deal about the surrounding environment.
- Vet your landlord as closely as they’re going to vet you. If they comes across as a bit dodgy now, imagine what they’ll be like when you’re effectively living in their place.
- Really check the place out and don’t be temporarily blind-sided by the thought of how cool it’s going to be living in your own place. Look for damp. Keep your nose on full alert for musty smells. Stare at the ceiling. Are there cracks or damp spots? Inspect the plumbing. Flick a few switches. Does the fridge and shower work?
- Ask the right questions. How long is the contract? Will the rent go up? Are any white goods included? Can you see safety/ servicing reports for the cooker/fire/heating etc? Who lives upstairs/ next door? Are they fit? (Ignore that last one.)
- When you move in, take loads of photos of the place – especially if there are cracks, scuff marks, dents, doors missing, that kind of thing. You don’t want to be held accountable for any damage when the time comes to move out.
- Pay your rent on time and you’ll boost your credit score. All you need to do is opt into the free Rental Exchange scheme whereby you make your payments to a third party called Credit Ladder, who then passes on the payments to your lettings agency or landlord. Your payments are recorded, and the details passed on to credit ratings agency Experian. Obviously only do this if it’s going to work in your favour.
- If the place needs a little sprucing up, ask the landlord first. You might think your penchant for turquoise paint and flock wallpaper is very tasteful. He might disagree.
Finally, don’t sign any contract or part with any cash until you’ve gone over everything. At least twice. Three times if you can. Four times would be good. Best of luck …