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.
Don’t waste precious time looking in multiple places for properties, but instead go straight to the place that has more properties and more agents than anywhere else. Make sure you sign up for an account so that you can set up Instant Property Alerts 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 (although, if you want to do this anyway, who are we to stop you?!). 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.
It sounds obvious, but don’t be tempted to hand over any money before you’ve seen the property, especially if asked to do so in order to view a property. If you’re 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 (with logos such as these below) 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 which you don’t agree with. 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.
After you’ve moved in, your landlord or Estate Agent has a legal obligation to add your deposit to an accredited deposit scheme within 30 days. Make sure they have done this and have sent you a certificate of validation, as it is illegal for them not to do so and it will be the deposit scheme you would open a ticket with if, after you move out, you have any problems getting back your deposit.
Resources: WMA PROPERTY