Whether you have rented before or this is your first time when you rent a home there is a lot to think about.
If the rent is less than £25,000 per year and you do not live with the Landlord the tenancy automatically becomes an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). An AST usually lasts for 6 to 12 months unless you agree a fixed term for the tenancy in advance with the Landlord.
When the fixed term of the tenancy has expired, the landlord is able to gain back possession of the property provided they give two months written notice to the tenant. In addition if you owe at least 2 months or 8 weeks rent the landlord can ask you to leave.
Before you even look at a property work out what you can afford by looking at what your basic outgoings are likely to be. For instance:
Most people find a place to rent by looking in the local press, on property websites or local agents. However if you find a property to rent it will be managed either directly by the Landlord or more usually by a letting agent.
Remember the Letting Agent is acting for the landlord and has no contractual duty to you. Check if the agent is ‘sole agent’ if not other agents may be trying to let the same property. Check the agent is an RICS member as they follow a Rent Only Management Code and Service Charge Management Code – protecting your consumer rights.
Once you have found a property, before you sign anything you should:
Protect your rental payments, lifestyle outgoings and contents:
As a tenant, your landlord cannot be responsible for insuring your possessions, and as someone who has a financial commitment to pay rent for your home, not to mention regular household bills, you may also be concerned about what would happen if you lost your income.
Our partners Mortgage Advice Bureau can arrange cover for your contents, as well as cover in case of accident, sickness or unemployment, and it may be simpler and more affordable than you’d expect. For insurance business we exclusively arrange products from Legal & General. For more information click here.
You should get assurances or certificates from the landlord that the property complies with these regulations:
Once you have found a property you will need to agree the terms and conditions with the landlord. You will need to supply the landlord with relevant information and ensure you sign the necessary paperwork.
Before you sign anything the landlord or agent should provide you with a clear statement of rent, tenancy, deposit and any costs of setting up the tenancy. This includes the administration costs of getting your references. The letting agent will get reference by contacting either:
Even if someone is going to be your guarantor you will still need references. If you are self employed you may need to provide copies of trading accounts and an accountants reference.
Once the letting agent and landlord are happy with your references you will be asked to sign a tenancy agreement. Before signing read it thoroughly and check the paperwork mentions the following important points:
You will not be able to move in until you have paid your deposit, first months rent and any fees. Once this has been done don’t forget a few important things:
Return the property to the landlord at the end of the tenancy in the same condition as at the start allowing for fair wear and tear. Remember if you are away: