Renting can be an expensive process, especially with the first month’s rent upfront, 6-8 weeks deposit as well as referencing and admin fees from the estate agency.
The first step is to find a home within your budget that you are happy with to rent. Does the home have everything you will need? Enough bedrooms? Enough facilities? Enough storage space? This alone can take a while as we are all individuals with different requirements and preferences. It is better to start searching sooner rather than later, this will prevent you from taking a property you are not happy with.
All estate agencies have different admin and referencing rates. It will save you money by hunting around the agencies in your area for the lowest fees. Once you know which agency to go with, you can search their properties and see if there are any properties that you would like to view. Your chosen agency will appreciate your custom and once in their radar they will be happy to let you know of any new properties on the market before they go onto their website. Alternatively, if you don’t want to narrow down your search to one specific estate agency, you can always negotiate with other estate agencies, especially if their competitors are offering cheaper fees.
Some tenants don’t like the hassle of estate agents and would rather rent from a private landlord. If you are considering this please be aware that while you are saving money on fees, you are not protected against the landlord if you do not have an official tenancy agreement. Remember it is the landlord’s responsibility to keep up with any maintenance that needs fixing in the property.
Once you find the home to rent, there is nothing stopping you from putting in an offer (as long as it is close to the asking price). You are more likely to save money on cheaper rent if a property for rent has been on the market for a while. If it has only just gone on the market, it is unlikely they will accept your offer but it is still worth enquiring about. A landlord may like the sound of you as tenants if you are working professionals in comparison to tenants with pets or students. Don’t be afraid to ask, after all the worst thing that could happen is they say ‘no’. Another point to think about is working out how much a property to rent is going to cost you once you include rent, council tax, gas bills, electric bills, internet, phone-line and water rates. There are some properties where utility bills, council tax or both are included in the rent. This is helpful because there are no nasty surprises to worry about and this can save you more money.
Finally the deposit, the full amount should be given back to you once you have moved out (providing you haven’t damaged the property or broken the tenancy agreement). Deposits are kept under the DPS (Deposit Protection Scheme) which means the deposit is not looked after by the landlord or the tenant. If you have followed the tenancy agreement and kept the property clean and tidy then the landlord will give permission to DPS to return the full deposit to you. If the landlord isn’t happy with the condition of the property then they will ask for some or all of the deposit to pay for any damages. If the tenant disagrees with this then the DPS will allow the landlord and tenant to dispute the deposit. If neither party can come to an agreement, an adjudicator will receive evidence from both parties and distribute the deposit based on their judgement. Some landlords want to improve their properties at the expense of the tenant so be sure to take plenty of pictures when you first move into the property before even unpacking. Then all you need to do is take pictures on the day you move out to prove the property hasn’t changed.
Image License: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay / Hermann