A guide to renting a property
If you are considering renting a property for the first time, or if you want to refresh your knowledge of the process, this article lays out the steps in the form of checklists and guides that will help you through the process of renting a property.
This guide includes 3 sections; a checklist for, 1) the first viewing, 2) preparations before moving in and 3) the actual moving in day.
Renting a property - Initial viewing
When viewing your selected properties it is worth taking a checklist along with you, as a guide and reminder of what to look out for.
In the excitement of the moment it is very easy to overlook some really important points that are often thought about after the event.
Obviously check that the property is clean and tidy. This includes looking out for mould and damp, as these are typically quite difficult to put right, and can affect your health.
2. Parking arrangements
Check parking arrangements. Is off road parking available?,if so for how many vehicles?Is i difficult to park? Will this be a problem?
Check which bills you will be liable for, typically, gas, electricity, water, council tax. Ask what the typical monthly running costs of the property are likely to be.
4. Energy supplier(s)
Find out the current energy supplier(s) - For one, you may have a personal preference that a certain supplier is used, such as a green energy supplier.
Check mobile phone signal. This is often overlooked and can be problematic later down the line.
If required check if pets are allowed, and if so, if extra charges apply.
Check if you are allowed to decorate, or hang pictures
Check that fire alarms are installed on all floors, and are mains connected. These must be provided as a legal requirement.
Ask to see the EPC certificate. There is a legal requirement for the landlord to show you the Energy Performance Certificate.
10. Solid fuel
If solid fuel appliances exist, check that Carbon Monoxide alarms are installed. These must be provided as a legal requirement.
11. Multiple visits
Perhaps visit the property at different times of the day, to get an idea of whether the neighbourhood becomes busy or noisy at certain times.
Are the rent and monthly bills affordable?
If possible, speak to a neighbour, as they will be honest about the surrounding area and potentially provide you with invaluable insight.
Renting a property - Before signing the rental agreement
Once you have decided on a property to rent, the next step will be to sign the tenancy agreement, pay the first month’s rent and a deposit (usually to the value of one month’s rent), and agree a moving in date.
Our checklist and guide to renting a property will help you avoid some common pitfalls prior to signing the agreement.
1. Tenancy agreement
Ask to see a copy of the tenancy agreement. Read it carefully or have a solicitor check it over. Ensure that you agree any amendments with the landlord or letting agent prior to signing.
Confirm that your deposit will be protected in a certified deposit protection scheme. For details of the deposit protection rules, click here.
3. Gas safety certificate
Ask to see an up to date gas safety certificate. These are required to be carried out every 12 months by law, so check the date on the certificate
4. Electricity safety certificate
Ask to see an up to date electricity safety certificate. This link provides information on the landlord’s responsibility regarding electrical safety
5. How to rent
Request a copy of the government’s “How To Rent Guide”
6. Notify of new address
Before you move in ensure that you arrange a change of address for all your contacts. This should include personal, financial and governmental organisations. This page provides a comprehensive checklist list.
7. Doctors & dentists
If necessary sign up with the nearest Doctors and Dentists
Renting a property - Agreement and move in
Once you are satisfied with the property, the tenancy agreement and all certificates, the section below will help guide you on the final steps in the guide to renting a property.
Your signature and that of the landlord or letting agent should be witnessed at the point of signing
2. Payments for renting a property
At this point you will be handing over the deposit and first month’s rent. The landlord or letting agent is obliged to register your deposit within 30 days of receiving it. In due course you should receive notification in the form of a Certificate Of Protection
At this point the landlord or letting agent should carry out a full inventory with you. This is very important as it provides a record of the property condition and all included items. Ensure that any damages or scuffs and marks are noted in the inventory. Ensure that photos are taken. List all items that are included, including their condition, including white goods and furniture.
4. Meters - A
Make sure you know where the water, gas and electricity meters are located. If you are in a shared property, such as a block of flats, the meters for each unit are usually located in the same place.
5. Meters - B
Take readings (and photos) of electricity, gas and water meters. These will need to be sent off to t your the relevant providers, along with your details as the new tenant
Obtain contact numbers for your landlord and/or letting agent, in case of emergency
Prior to beginning the process of renting a property, it may seem like a straightforward task of finding a home, informing the agent that you are interested, paying the deposit and moving in.
However, there are a number of aspects which can easily be forgotten about due to the excitement of finding a new home.
By taking into consideration all of the steps noted in this guide to renting a property, you can be much more certain that nothing has been skipped or forgotten about during viewings, contracts and moving in.