Today’s economic climate means more and more people are choosing to rent a new home, rather than buy. But how do you avoid the pitfalls of renting a property, whether it is a single room, a flat or a house? Read this rental guide for advice on securing your rented property and getting through the maze of tenancy agreements.
How do you find the perfect property to rent? There are two main routes. Through a letting agency who manages rental properties on behalf of landlords or through a private landlord who manages their own property. And some landlords appoint letting agencies to help them find a suitable tenant but manage the tenancy themselves. The renting experience can be very different depending on whether a letting agency or landlord is managing the property.
There are pros and cons to going through a letting agency. It can be a time-saver for a tenant. A good letting agent has many rental properties on its books and will arrange viewings at those that suit your requirements. They can often deal with all aspects of the tenancy quickly and efficiently.
However, it is usually more expensive to rent through a letting agency as they charge admin fees for most of their responsibilities, such as drawing up the contract, carrying out credit checks and auditing inventory. A letting agent introduces as many rules and regulations as possible. While this safeguards you as a tenant, some rules may be unnecessary, restrictive and inflexible – and expensive for you.
If you decide to use a letting agency, connect with as many possible to secure a property for rent quickly. Keep in contact with them as the best rental properties are usually snapped up immediately.
Renting a property through a private landlord can have advantages. There usually fewer fees as, for example, many private landlords will not run full credit checks; they are often satisfied with looking at your pay slips to confirm your income. They may have less stringent rules about allowing pets to reside in the rented property and, on the whole, tend to be more flexible. And, it’s easier to foster a real relationship with a private landlord than with a letting agent who could have hundreds of rental properties to look after. This can make the tenancy run more smoothly throughout.
Be aware that not all landlords are au fait with rental legislation which can lead to tenants not being protected should things go wrong.
The tenancy agreement lists your responsibilities as a tenant. It is essential that you read the tenancy agreement carefully before you sign it.
So, you’ve find a rental property you like and you’re happy with the tenancy agreement. Your next step is to state your intention to rent the property by providing a holding deposit. This will take the property off the market. The letting agent or landlord will then request references from you and carry out any necessary credit/income checks. You will then be asked to pay the full deposit and the property is yours for the rental period.
A few hints to help avoid common tenancy problems.
Make sure your letting agent is a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA) who has to adhere to a stringent code of practice.