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Seven top renting tips for tenants

Wed 16 January 2019

Searching for a rental property can be confusing, stressful and overwhelming, whether you’re a seasoned renter or are renting for the first time. There are, however, a few considerations you should take before signing on the dotted line. Claire Pile MARLA of Stags Lettings department provides those all-important top tips!

Know your finances 

On average, 35% of a regular wage is used towards rent and with the added costs of utilities, telephone, internet, TV license and general household items plus your weekly food shop, you must make sure you have done the maths. 

Inspect the property’s condition, safety and security 

When viewing a property, do take note of the condition, keeping an eye out for damp patches, mould and peeling wallpaper, and don’t be afraid to test the plumbing and appliances to ensure they are all working. Safety should also be a key factor; are there smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted in the required places? Is there a landlord’s gas safety certificate to confirm the boiler has been checked? Are all the doors and windows secure? These are all important points to be considered and checked as safety is paramount. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions 

If you unsure about something or want to know more detail, don’t be afraid to ask the landlord, agent or the current tenant before going too far, particularly if these questions could affect the property’s suitability. Does the property accept pets? Will the landlord allow me to redecorate? Is it a long term let? These are all crucial factors to iron out before committing. 

I have found the right property – what next?

Most agents will undertake credit, employment and previous landlord checks to ensure that there have been no past problems with the way in which a property has been kept or the rent has been paid. In addition, you will be asked to provide identification to confirm you have the right to live within the UK. 

After the checks are complete the tenancy agreement will be drawn up and you will be asked to sign. Make sure you are also provided with:
  • A copy of the gas safety certificate 
  • The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) 
  • The Government’s How to Rent Guide 
  • Prescribed information regarding the protection of your deposit
On or before move in day you will usually be required to pay one month’s rent in advance and a deposit prior to the keys being released to you. The deposit is of course refundable at the end of the tenancy unless there is any unpaid rent or damage to the property or its contents. To help protect your deposit, ensure you have an inventory with photographs at the start of the tenancy and ensure you notify the landlord or agent of anything that have noticed that hasn’t been recorded when you move in.  

What if there is a problem during the tenancy?  

Depending on whether your landlord has instructed an agent to manage the property or their behalf or whether they manage it themselves you should let someone know as soon as possible if there is a problem with the property or any of its fixtures and fittings. Depending on the nature of the problem, the agent or landlord will usually instruct a suitable contractor to visit the property and attend to the issue.   

What happens at the end of the tenancy?

Most issues arise at the end of a tenancy and involve disputes about deposits. To help avoid these you should: 
  • Refer to the original schedule of condition
  • Ensure all items are where they were found and that the property is given a thorough clean from top to bottom - don’t forget the oven! 
  • Don’t forget to ensure that all rubbish is removed and the outside areas are left tidy for the time of year

How to choose an agent 

Look for an ARLA Propertymark protected agent. ARLA Propertymark agents are experienced and trained professionals who are required to undertake regular training and keep up-to-date with legislation and best practice. In addition, they are also backed by Propertymark’s Client Money Protection Scheme, meaning your money safe and you can have complete peace of mind. 

If you are looking to rent a property and would like to receive regular updates on properties currently available to rent contact you local Stags office.

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