Private rentals are extremely popular in the UK due to an increasing preference among the population to stay relatively flexible and mobile. Another factor is the difficulty of saving for a deposit and securing a mortgage, and these aren’t always considered the essential next steps for young renters any more.
If you, like many others, are planning to move into a rented property and you’d like things to work out for you in the long run, it’s probably a good idea to consider all of the following tips.
Get your finances in order
Obviously, an essential step before going ahead with a rental is getting financially prepared. You need a realistic understanding of how you’re going to stick to a budget each month, factoring in rent, utilities, council tax, insurance and so on. You will also have to pay a deposit at the beginning of your agreement which is typically at least one month’s rent.
Finding the right place
Another obvious but essential factor is finding a property that actually satisfies your needs. Viewing a few different places before making a decision is highly recommended, but if you find something great early on you should sometimes trust your instincts. Depending on how competitive the local area is, you will probably only have a matter of days to make a decision after a viewing, and sometimes only hours, but don’t be pressured into anything that won’t work for you.
Check and ask
You need as much information as possible before you make any commitments, so it’s only fair to ask questions and you shouldn’t feel obligated to go along with anything you’re not clear about. It’s common for things to be accidentally forgotten or missed off when you receive information from agents or landlords, so chase them up as required and make sure it’s clear who is responsible for different things. This definitely applies to when you come to actually signing a tenancy agreement, because this is legally binding.
Pay attention to the inventory
An initial inventory report will usually be prepared so the state of the property and any furnishings and fittings are recorded. Make sure any existing problems are accounted for so you can’t be blamed for them later. Photos should be included for clarification.
Report any issues quickly
In order to reduce the risk of any long-term problems developing between you and your landlord or agent, make sure any issues that arise are reported in writing as quickly as possible. It may be good for you to talk to your landlord on the phone or in person to make arrangements if things need attention, but anything that could affect your agreement should be done via email or similar methods so you have a record of it later.