Before you start looking for a property, if you are renting with other people sit down and agree on what you are looking for. List your priorities such as distance from work, schools, parking etc. Your new landlord will ask for references, which could include previous/ current landlord and/ or your employer. Make sure you have contact details to give to the landlord once you find a property that you wish to rent.
SEARCHING FOR A PROPERTY
Now you have your finances in order and you know how much you can afford. Find your property from the following areas:
- Letting Agents’ shop windows
The first 3 points we all know off and have been used for many years, however the internet has changed all this. So what has the internet done. Makes searching for a property easier with search engines. Just enter minimum specification you require the property to meet such as price, number of bedrooms and area, and properties that are of interest to you, saving you valuable time. Most Letting Agents now have websites with details of all their properties categorised by area and size.
Always view in daylight hours as you can spot problems more easily and also see how much natural light enters the property. When you go to view the property take the following with you.
- A family/ partner or friend: For 2 reasons, one is safety and the other is for a second opinion.
- Pen and paper: So you can note anything about the property such as work to be done or any answer to questions that you have asked the vendor.
- Digital camera: As no film cost why not take some pictures so that once you have left you can review what it was like. You will probably find other things from the photos that you did not realise when you were viewing the property.
During the viewing you may want to ask the following questions.
- Council rates. Don’t forget you can get this from http://www.upmystreet.co.uk
- Water and sewage rates. Sometimes this is the same company and therefore included all in 1 bill however can be separate bills.
- How is it heated?
- How much it costs to heat? An estimate of gas and electricity bills.
- What are the neighbours like?
If the property is a flat then other questions to ask are
- Is there a ground rent and who is responsible for the cost.
- Is there a maintenance charge and who is responsible for the cost? This covers items like cleaning common areas such entrance, gardening etc.
If you are in an area that moves fast you may have to make an offer within a few hours otherwise you may loose the property.
PROPERTY FOUND – WHAT NEXT?
If you have not already researched the area then now is the time before you start paying out. The following websites will provide you with some basic information about the area such as the council tax, crime: http://www.upmystreet.co.uk
In addition to this website it is best to visit the location at the following times so you can assess the noise level.
- Weekday during rush hour. This will help you to deduce whether people use the road as a shortcut.
- Weekday evening. This will as per 1. and also see what parking is like on the road.
- Saturday during the day.
- Saturday evening
Once you have found a property to rent a good landlord will do the following.
- Go round with the landlord to do an inventory check for both to sign and date it on the day you move in. If more than one person renting make sure all names sign. This should be done on the day you move in.
- Make sure all name sign and date the assured shorthold tenancy agreement.
If the above is not done then insist on it. It saves problems when you ask for your deposit back at the end of the agreed term. The landlord also has responsibilities such as
- Gas installations such as your boiler tested by a Corgi registered engineer either once a year and also when you re-let to new tenants. A copy should be given to the tenant.
- Comply with fire safety regulations by providing fire exits, smoke detectors and fire extinguishers. This will depend on the type of property that you are letting out so check with the local council.
- Furniture must comply with the 1988 fire and safety regulations.
- If the building was built after 1992 it must have smoke alarms on every floor.
- Water supply and waste removal pipes must be kept in good working order.
- External maintenance is also the responsibility of the landlord who must give you a UK contact address.
- Repairs are the responsibility of the landlord.
Now you have moved in to your new property you will probably want to get all payments in order. Below is a general list of items that will require you attention.
- Telephone: Change this into your name
- Gas: Change this into your name.
- Electric: Change this into your name.
- Contents insurance
- Water rates
- Sewage rates (this may be the same company who supply water)
- TV License
- Maintenance fee: This covers the communal parts if you are renting a flat.
Finally why not get to know your new neighbours by inviting them to your flat-warming party!