With the UK property crash decreasing the value of property by an average of 20% we have seen an increase in people renting and according to a recent report published by Savills & Rightmove this is set to continue and by 2016, one in five homes in the UK will be rented. These are our top tips for renting a house.
If you choose to rent or buying is simply out of reach, or you are in between homes, have moved with your job or would like to try a new location before you buy, ads’ere have put together some top renting tips to help you…
Most importantly you need to decide where you would like to rent and if it’s an area you are not familiar with make sure you do your research. You need to think about amenities such as shops, schools, public transport, doctors, dentists and social activities. Make sure you visit the area at different times of day and have a walk around, visit the local shops, enquire at the schools regarding places and research social activities on-line. Also good to speak with the local council and find out about council tax.
Find property to rent
Think about your rental home as though you are buying and make yourself a check-list to help when searching for the right property. Top things to consider are the number of bedrooms, parking/garage space, energy bills, downstairs space, storage, garden space, maintenance and traffic noise. You can search on-line as well your local independent estate agents & your local paper. It is advisable to search for estate agents who are members of the National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) and members of the Association of Residential Lettings Agents (ARLA).
Make sure you take your check list with you and most importantly is to take your time. Check that everything is in good working order such as dishwashers, fridge/freezer, washing machines, central heating, taps and showers etc. Think about how your furniture will fit and how the layout will suit you and your flatmate/family. View at a busy time of day so as you can experience the noise levels and traffic. Ask the agent/vendor questions regarding neighbours, decorating and hanging pictures. When you have found a property you like always go back at a different time of day and take another look.
When renting a house or flat always ask the agent about their fees before you make an offer, you may be surprised to find that as well as your deposit and rent the letting agent may charge a fee for administration, reference checks and renewals. Once you have agreed costs you need to ask for a tenancy agreement in writing and make your contract legally binding. A deposit is almost always required to cover any damage or rent arrears, to ensure safety of your deposit you need to ensure that your deposit is held with one of the following Tenancy Deposit protection (TDP) schemes, the Deposit Protection Service, Mydeposits or the Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
It is important that when the letting agent supply’s you with a full inventory that you both agree and go through it with a fine tooth comb, helping to secure the return of your full deposit. Within the first few days of moving in make sure you take note of any problems you come across and also the condition of furniture and soft furnishings and ensure you let the landlord know in writing, keeping a copy for your own records.
Safety in your rented home
All electrical appliances and wiring are the responsibility of the landlord by law, it is also their responsibility to ensure that gas appliances are in good working order and that the boiler is up to date with safety checks. The boiler should have annual checks and be documented by a qualified person who is on the Gas Safe Register. Your landlord is also responsible for fire safety and all smoke alarms should be in full working order and any furniture on the inventory should meet fire safety regulations.
So there you have it, our top tips for renting a house. For further information about your rights and responsibilities as a tenant please contact the Citizens Advice Bureau.