I Am The Blog

The latest property news from your online estate agent.

What Do You Need to Rent a Property?

Online letting agent tenancy agreementIf you’re looking to rent a private property, there are a few things that you’ll need to do before making appointments to view houses and flats within your budget range. These guidelines will help when you begin the hunt for a property to rent, whether you are a seasoned tenant or moving home for the first time.

Understand the Market
Flat hunting is time consuming but you can cut down on wasted effort by having a realistic idea of what you can afford and what is on offer before you start the viewing process. Searching with an online agent is a good start as you’re already saving money on tenant fees!

There are often big differences in price between furnished, non-furnished and semi-furnished properties. Some tenants prepare to purchase their own furnishings in order to make the space feel like home while others want the convenience of a fully furnished property from day one. Decide which option best suits your needs and your available finances and then filter your search accordingly. 

You’ll also need to decide if you want to live in the property alone, would consider renting a room in a house to conserve funds or want to share with someone you know. This will help you to narrow down the size of the property you want to rent and will also play a part in determining your rental budget. But, it is important to remember that the tenancy agreement is a legal binding agreement and if you are moving in with someone and later find out that they are the flat mate from hell, you can’t just replace the room buddy with someone new. You will have to inform the landlord or online estate agent and have the rental agreement modified or a new one drawn up.

Be clear on your preference of property and location so as not to go wasting yours or anyone else’s time. Before even viewing the property it is important to know the following before hand:

• Location: it the property near local transport facilities and other amenities such as shops or restaurants? Think about lifestyle and how the location of the property fits in both with your work and social activities.

• Parking: What kind of parking facilities are available and are they secure? Is the parking inside or outside and how easily accessible is it from the property in question?

• Security: Is there a concierge or does the property have a community gate? Are there CCTV cameras in and around the parking areas or on the gate to the community?

• Service charges/communal fees: are the service charges included in the rental of the flat and what exactly do these include; cleaning communal areas, heating? It is quite rare for landlords not to include this in the rental price but it’s always good to check.

• Bills: Are bills included if you are renting a room in a house? Does it have shared wireless? If not, most providers will require you to take out a 12 month contract so make sure you are aware of your liability and don’t let your exciting move take your mind away from boring but essential matters like checking the small print.

Budget and Finance
Budget is a major factor when deciding on a property to rent whether you go through an online agent or directly with a private property owner. Doing some homework on what rental price you can expect to pay for a certain type of property in a certain area will help you to decide if the asking price is reasonable and give you some bargaining tools. Don’t be scared to ask for a reduction, it’s always worth a try. If you are a GREAT tenant with super credit history and landlord references and can afford the property, you have some useful bargaining power!

You will be required to pay for certain things up front when renting a property. These include a deposit which is typically calculated as six weeks rent, one month’s rent paid in advance and a holding deposit payable to the letting agency or private landlord. As well as these initial costs, you should also calculate other monthly outgoings such as council tax, utility bills (water and electric), TV licence, broadband etc. to be sure you can comfortably manage all financial commitments associated with the property before committing to a lease. 

The Property Ombudsman
Ensure that the rental agency is a member of the Property Ombudsman, which is an OFT Approved Estate Agents Redress Scheme. The Property Ombudsman ensures a code of practice, which protects tenants as much as it protects landlords.  A letting agency of this caliber does not have to be costly but will give peace of mind. Online estate agent I Am The Agent is a member of both the Property Ombudsman Lettings and Sales.

Rental Agreements
Tenants should always insist on proper signed documentation with regards to their rental agreement. A verbal agreement could easily go sour leading to loss of deposit and incur additional costs. Take the time to read through the agreement before signing and ask questions if there’s anything you’re not sure of. 

Most landlords will require at least one or two references before allowing you the keys to their property. These must be non-relations and rental agencies will usually contact previous landlords for any prospective tenants. You can save time by asking potential referees in advance if they would mind being contacted. Note down their name and contact details plus their relationship to you to speed up the process when you do find a property you’d like to call home.

If you are not a UK national and have just moved to the UK or if you are a student you may be asked to provide a guarantor. A guarantor will ‘guarantee’ your ability to pay the rent and vouches to pay the rent on your behalf should you not be able to do so.

Credit Referencing
Any online letting agent worth its salt will advise on credit checks. This is important for the landlord’s peace of mind and gives assurances that you can pay the monthly rental fee in a timely manner. If you’re worried about your credit history, you can ask to see a copy of your credit report by contacting a company such as Experian. If you do have a history of bad credit, it is often worth considering taking measures to improve your rating and assist with securing your preferred property or to offer to provide a guarantor. The most common references cover: affordability, previous landlord reference, employee reference, and credit history. An example of the reference we use can be found here. You can purchase a reference with I Am The Agent for £49.99.

We care about our tenants. Without you we would not be the fastest growing online estate agency in the UK, so this is our little way of making sure your new home is not filled with mishaps, JUST JOY!

If you’re still looking for a property to call your own, thousands of landlords around the UK advertise property online with I Am The Agent. Visit http://www.iamtheagent.com to start your search. 


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