you should know apart from a very obvious ‘read the contract’ part that everyone tell’s you.
This is Part 1. Before you rent tips and hints.!
Jump link to Part 2. Moving day to rented apartment
1. Agency or Private Landlord?
Here, it can be tricky. I personally rented from both and I opt for the agency option. Both have bad and good sides.
A) Agency bad side is that is pricey and you are more restricted. Agencies have fees per person or couple, that are non-returnable and this is to pay for the paper work and to secure your place. The fee really depends; it can by anything from £100-180 per person or £250 per couple etc. If your credit score is not particularly great, agency is going to find out. If you unemployed you may have to pay 6 month rent in advance. Also, agency usually have much more restricted contracts and where your landlord may agree to particular things like having animals, agencies often just have strict No policy. However, The good thing of agency is, that you may feel more secured. I have had situations where landlord was entering the property without 24h notice, landlord eating my food (sick I know) and being right pain in the bottom. When you rent via agency, youcan always complaint and the agency will look after you. Although, the renewal every 6months cost me £65 as they won’t do 12months and 3 years in a raw like that! I also have the fear the every 6 months the landlord may suddenly say no to renewal! Be-aware the most agencies charge for references (yes just for the answer the phone and saying you pay your rent on time).
B) Private landlord renting is definitely cheaper as landlords usually don’t charge upfront fees. Also, landlord can just give you permission for pets or small décor like re-painting walls, wallpapering and most likely the place will be unfurnished. The downside to renting from private landlord is that they are sometimes very really cheeky people. They sometimes work illegal. After you will pay the deposit and sign the contract, move in; to find out few month later that they didn’t protected it with tenancy deposit scheme and you want to move out is sometimes years of fighting it back. Make sure you have a copy of this document and your deposit was submitted to TDS. My previous landlord was such a cheeky man, I could write a book! I prefer to rent via agency as I feel more secure.
2. Finding property.
When you hunt property to rent you most likely are going to check on online sites and fall in love with ‘’the one’’. Try to hold you knickers and just check few things like the location and availability. Agencies and landlords are really cheeky these days. They often keep a little longer the property on the market so they can fetch potential tenants. Also, if you genuine in love online and are going to view the property be prepared and get potential papers with you, as the moment before you go or after, someone else may viewing it and they can snatch it right away! I had this situation and it is not good feeling that after you finally decided to be told is gone. Be decisive.
3. Check the area for crime. There is plenty websites online when you can check the area just type in google ‘check the area for crime’ and you have plenty of websites showing you info including the average rent etc.
4. Never ever pay for anything online! Unless is an agency you know. Don’t believe pretty pictures. There are plenty of scams so ALWAYS go and check the property. I had several unpleasant stations where online it was a show home and the reality was totally different. Again, cheeky agencies and landlord use similar property pictures which may be nicer.
5. Before viewing properties, make sure you prepare a list of questions. Save the ones you like and while making a booking for viewing already ask the questions the agent or tell them to prepare the answers. Always ask:
A) What’s the council tax band? (Print the band prices from your local council online)
B) If you can keep pets/bikes in property.
C) If the building managing company agrees to pets. (Sometimes landlord does but the building managing company doesn’t and you will be asked to move out or remove pets)
D) If there is a parking allocated, if not what’s the nearest- they sometimes know.
E) Check if there is anything sharing in communal areas ( washine machines etc)
F) Check the nearest metro/tram/bus stops.
G) Check for schools/nurseries
H) Furnished/unfurnished- Part furnished- what’s included. Sometimes part furnished means literally just kitchen units but no washing machines or fridge/freezer.
I) How long is the rent for 6months/12months etc.
J) Who is responsible for what bills, most likely you but sometimes landlord pay the council tax and the water rates, sometimes bills are inclusive.
6. Negotiate. Before you sign, make sure your landlord/agency agree to pets. Agree to re-paint the property or clean the carpet or anything that required. Make sure you EMAIL about it. Don’t just chat. You need to have it in writing! Always CC a boyfriend or another agency member in these conversations. It will save you loads of troubles in the future in case if something was missed out. You can negotiate the rent price, the deposit price and as above small amends like replacing fridge or any other electrical or furnishing. They may refuse it ,they may agree but always worth a try!
7. Get your documents ready, ID, passport, credit history, references ( email your boos/previous landlord etc) ger ready all bank details.
8. On viewing day, check bathroom and walls for any signs of mould. Also try to locate the North so you can see which room is going to the darkest/sunniest etc.
9. Contract. Once you have viewed property, have your questions answered and you happy, you can go and sign the contract. Read it! Take your time before signing it. Make sure you have the amends you discussed in contract. Agencies and landlords tend to promise you gold elephant just so you can sign the papers and once you sign it they can’t amend it. Check the contract for things like
A) Repairs, who is responsible for what
B) If there is any additional fees when move in/move out
C) Service charge if there is any.
D) Again, if the bills responsibilities are clear.
E) When you moving out, do you need to repaint walls/professionally clean carpets giving a receipt to landlord/agency etc.
F) If you agreed to pets, make sure you have it written in contract!!!
G) Check the date of your moving day. Make sure you have at least 2-3 days left on your previous tenancy as moving can take all day and you still need to come back and clean before you give away keys as if you left the property untidy, you can face some expensive cleaner charges taken off your deposit!
H) Check your contract if you allowed hang picture frame, repaint and decorate. My contract states that I can’t literally do anything! I have to leave the furniture back where they were in first place. Also, I have an agent coming every 4months for inspections to check if everything is ok. Check if you have this as well.