Part 1 of this post can be found here
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 the second part of my list of tips to help you find and secure your next rental house:
- I always like to ask whether the house is managed by the owner or by the agency. It helps to know who you’ll have to contact if there’s a problem. You’ll have your own views as to whether you’d prefer dealing with the owner or an agency, but it’s a good idea to know the situation before making your decision to apply.
- If you have a viewing at a property you have high hopes for, ask the agency for the application forms in advance. Fill them in and take copies of your proof of identity with you (usually you’ll be asked for a photo ID and a recent utility bill with your name and address). You don’t want to miss out on the house by being unprepared. Be ready to make an application payment up front at the office, so have your card or some cash with you.
- If you really get your heart set on a property, be prepared for a fight. You might not be the only one who wants to live there, so get that application in as soon as you can and maximise your chances of being selected by considering signing up for 12 months instead of the usual 6, and offering to pay rent for a number of months up front to alleviate any financial stability fears.
- If you email in an application, make sure it’s been received by the agency. I always ask who the application should be sent to so I can be sure the right person gets it straight away. Answer your phone if it rings – you don’t want your application being held up by a simple lack of information. Give it every chance of success!
- Call your referees and let them know that they will be asked for a reference soon, and tell them the name of the lettings agency.
- When it comes to signing your tenancy agreement, make sure you read it through with a fine toothcomb before signing it! You can’t always do anything to change clauses, but it’s very important that you know exactly what you’re signing up to before you do so.
- Ensure you are given the full details of the deposit protection scheme your money has been put into. Legally, private AST landlords must submit your deposit to an approved scheme – more details can be found on the government website here.
- And finally: make sure you check every single line of the inventory in the first couple of days, and if anything doesn’t match, take photographs and let the agency or landlord know immediately. Usually if you’ve not said anything after 7 days of moving in, you’ll be held to the original inventory, even if it was wrong. It’s up to you to make sure it’s right.