If you are renting a property for the first time and just found a suitable property, then there are a number of things you need to do to make sure the transaction runs smoothly. Renting is much simpler than buying a property but there are still some pitfalls that can create, not only a headache, but also a hole in your finances. So, here are my Top 10 Tips for renting a property.
1 - If you have to pay a holding deposit while the application is processed, make sure you get a receipt for your money, as well as written confirmation on whether a refund will be made if there is a problem with your application.
2 - Before you arrange a time and date to sign the tenancy agreement, ensure that all parties to the transaction have seen a copy of the agreement and read it through thoroughly. If there are any areas of concern make sure that these are raised prior to signing to avoid problems in the future.
3 - Make sure you have the details ready for who is going to provide references (e.g. employers, previous landlord or agent) and of course your bank details.
4 - You will almost certainly be required to pay some rent in advance (typically one month) as well as a damages deposit. Make sure that you are clear on what these charges relate to and what element is refundable and when. Also establish whether you will be required to pay with cleared funds (bankers draft or cash) or if a cheque/card is a acceptable.
5 - The letting agent may not be responsible for the ongoing management of your rental property as he may have just been engaged to find a tenant. If this is the case then you need to obtain the details of the person or company, that will be responsible for the ongoing management and maintenance, once you've moved in. If the landlord is responsible then you will need to be comfortable with this arrangement and satisfy yourself that he will be available for emergency call outs, if required.
6 - Make sure you obtain copies of all relevant safety certificates, i.e. gas & electric and keep these and all other related documentation safely in a file.
7 - Remember, responsibility for the property rests with the tenant. You will be responsible for securing the property when you are not at home as well as reporting all faults promptly. It is also important to check whether there are any further responsibilities for the tenant under a head lease if the property is in a block.
8 - Prior to moving in the letting agent will carry out an inventory on the contents and condition of the property. Make sure you are provided with a copy of this inventory and are happy with its contents.
9 - Once you have signed the tenancy agreement make sure you contact all your service providers promptly as there may be a lead-in time before connection can be made. Once you have moved in make sure you take meter readings immediately and inform the service providers – you don't want to be charged for the previous tenants usage!.
10 - If the letting agent will need to make periodic visits to the property set these up at a mutually agreeable time and make a note of them.
Follow these tips for renting a property and (fingers crossed) both the transaction and your future rental should run smoothly. Good luck!
Picture taken by Horia Varlan - flickr