Short guide to renting
When you’re new to the renting game, it can often feel overwhelming, confusing and even a tad scary at times. No need to worry though; we believe there are just five simple steps that need to be followed in order for you to rent with confidence and without worry.
Make sure you sign up for an account so that you can set up Instant Property Alerts on Property Pal and be alerted as soon as properties that match your criteria come on to the market. This way, you don’t need to spend your commute, lunch hour and evenings scanning. By logging in you’ll also be able to sync your browsing activity and preferences across all your devices, ensuring you can always seamlessly pick up where you left off.
Drive around the areas you feel you would like to live. Most agents and landlords use boards and contacting the agent direct can be the best option to discuss the property.
It sounds obvious, but do not be tempted to hand over any money before you have seen the property, especially if asked to do so to view a property. If you are moving to a new area and need to secure somewhere before you move, do your best to get there to see it first, or send a friend or family member on your behalf. If you, or a person acting on your behalf can’t view the property and you are asked to give a deposit or fee to secure it, ensure you do some background checks and at least arrange to meet the agent in person, at their office, to ensure they are legitimate.
It may also be worth checking on Land Registry, or even Google street view, to make sure the property exists and is definitely theirs – nothing wrong with being a little cautious, especially when it comes to handing over money!
Though there are fees associated with using an estate agent, you can rest assured that the correct contracts will be in place, securing you more as a tenant and giving you more rights should you have any problems. Look out for recognition that the Estate Agent is a member of an industry redress scheme to make sure you’re in the best hands.
You’re often given a contract in an awkward and pressurized situation but make sure you stop and read it properly and don’t be afraid to point out anything unexpected or you need explained.
Some important things to make sure you’re on top of are:
- What does the rent cover? Are bills included or extra?
- What is the move in date and how long is the tenancy for?
- Do you need to do a professional clean on move out?
If it’s agreed that parts of the contract can be changed, wait for a new, amended version of contract to sign – don’t sign the original contract and take their word for it that changes will be made.
When you get the keys, do a thorough walk-around with the inventory and take pictures of any faults with a time stamp, ensuring you report any discrepancies now to the agent or landlord. This will help to protect you and your deposit should there be any discrepancies when you move out, acting as proof that they weren’t caused by you.