If you can’t (or don’t want) to buy your own property, and living with your parents has lost its charm, renting is the next option to consider. Now you have to decide whether you might qualify for social housing. If not, you’re entering the world of private renting… so what happens next? Jamie Langley of Red Key Property Services has this advice to offer.
1 House or apartment? Each offers different living styles, so which one would suit you best? The rent you pay can also be very similar once you break it back to the total space available. Think also: if you shared a property, could you afford to live somewhere bigger or better? Bear in mind the differences between a furnished property and an unfurnished one – in terms of cost, security of tenure and feeling like the place is ‘yours’.
2 How much can you afford? Don’t just think about the rent. Bear in mind Council Tax, TV licence and any other utility bills that will wing their way to you – both monthly and for any set up fees. Add in upfront payments too, notably whatever fees your letting agent charges (check these out VERY carefully in advance!), plus the deposit (likely to be at least one month’s worth) and moving costs.
3 The best properties go fast, so get your ‘ducks in a row’ in order to move quickly on a property you like: that includes having a holding deposit ready, photographic ID, proof of address and people who will give you a reference (including your employer and possibly your previous landlord.
4 Consider just how long you really want to let a property for. Moving takes effort and costs money, while being stuck with a long lease might restrict your ability to move to a new job. If you’re unsure, check how easy is it to extend the lease or withdraw from it if your situation changes.
5 Bear in mind that credit checks will be carried out by any responsible agency. And if you don’t get through that stage, you might lose a deposit. If in doubt, get your credit worthiness checked out first.
6 The best properties can often go before they even appear on a letting agent’s website – because they will also keep registers of likely tenants. Consider joining one or two of those lists.
7 Check out the agents you rent through too: they should be registered with ARLA to protect tenants and landlords alike.
8 Make sure you pay maximum attention to the Inventory – this will be important when you come to leave and negotiations are underway for the return of the deposit.
9 Remember that – while the agent will write to gas, electricity, water and council to tell them of the change of occupier – it is YOUR responsibility to set up accounts for gas and electricity and to inform the landlord or their agent of your chosen supplier.
Finally, remember to take out Contents Insurance for your belongings for the term of the tenancy. It would be bad enough losing your own stuff… but having to replace your landlord’s would not be funny either!
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