Anna Hart Property ConsultancyAnna Hart Property Consultancy

Finding a new rental house – how to do it right Part 1

6 February 2012

These days, it pretty much sucks to be a tenant. Rents are high, and so are the fees. Everything seems skewed in favour of the landlord, and agents don’t always do their best to help you. But on the plus side, you get the chance to live in a house you couldn’t afford to live in if you were buying, and it’s a fabulous way of checking out a new area without making a huge commitment. Here’s a list of tips to help you find and secure your next rental house:

  1. If you’re currently renting, make sure you know what your notice period is. Read your tenancy agreement thoroughly and make sure you know what you need to do in order to give notice and end your current tenancy. If in doubt, speak to your landlord to confirm. This can have a huge impact on when you start looking for houses and whether you’re likely to be successful in your application. Landlords with houses available right now want them filled as soon as possible, so they’re not likely to wait for you if you’ve still got 2 months notice left. Think about the timing, and get your notice in at the appropriate time so you’re viewed as a good prospect by the new landlord.
  2. When you start looking for houses make sure you’re looking in the right price bracket, especially if you’re upsizing. Work out your budget – it’s not just the rent that matters, but also the bills that you’ll need to pay. Council tax, electricity, gas, water, and insurance costs will vary from house to house, so make valid estimates and make sure you can afford it before you go and look at it.
  3. Talk to lettings agents about what you’re looking for; purely using the online portals as your search capability could mean that you’re missing out on properties that get let before they’ve even hit the websites. Agents know their portfolios and should be able to suggest properties to you that you might not have otherwise considered. If there isn’t enough information on the property listing (usually much less effort is put into creating rental listings than sales ones), call the agency and ask questions. This could save you loads of time viewing unsuitable properties. Also find out about each agency’s application process and fees – they can vary significantly and you’ll need to include these fees in your moving budget.
  4. The rental market can move really quickly, so if you see something you like, make an appointment immediately to go and see it as soon as possible. It is common for viewings to be cancelled because someone else has just put in an application, so don’t hang around and expect the house to still be available next week.
  5. When you do go to view a house, check the obvious things like whether the rooms are big enough and laid out in a way that suits your needs, but also look for the things that will have an impact on your life there. Is it double-glazed and centrally heated? If not, expect your energy bills to be higher. Is there a water meter? What’s the parking situation – are there any restrictions? If the house is furnished, does it have everything you need? Are the kitchen appliances included or not? Are any areas excluded from the tenancy, for example the garage or loft?
  6. Check out the area at differing times of the day, especially if you’re moving to somewhere new. Look at Google Maps, Streetview, and a satellite image to see what’s around the house. You could find something that’s a deal-breaker, so it’s best to know what’s nearby as well as what the house looks like inside.

Part 2 will follow soon – check back for updates!

Have you got any rental tips? Add them in the comments section below! Thanks for reading :)

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