We all know how exciting house hunting can be, but it can also get a little stressful at times. To make sure that the process is as easy as it can be for the next time you are considering moving to a new home, we’ve put together some helpful tips for tenants in this essential lettings guide.
Timing is everything
Start looking for accommodation ideally 4-8 weeks ahead of your move date. Property portals are a great place to start to get an idea of prices and areas, but many properties are snapped up before they even reach a website.
Get in touch with an established, reputable agent as they may have suggestions for an area to look at that you hadn’t thought of before, and they can alert you to any brand new properties on their books that are worth viewing.
Be realistic about what you can afford
There will be other costs in addition to rent, such as utility bills, TV license, broadband, contents insurance, council tax and of course food, travel and general living expenses, so make sure that you make a realistic offer on the property you like.
Even if the offer is a bit lower than the asking price, agents are obliged to put forward all offers to their client for consideration – so the worst that can happen is that the landlord can say no.
Get your paperwork ready
This means having a valid passport and visa (if applicable) to demonstrate your Right to Rent, which is a check landlords and agents are required to carry out prior to granting a tenancy. They need to see you in person and check your original photo ID in order for this to happen.
You will also need to provide a minimum of three months’ bank statements, an employer reference and a current landlord reference.
Be prepared to compromise
There is no such thing as the perfect property – there will most probably need to be a compromise somewhere along the way. What is the feature you could do without? Is it having a parking space? A concierge? Could you look at properties on the next stop along the tube line?
An established agent with a wide enough network of offices can show you properties across various locations, which is how many people discover new parts of London alongside their next home.
Read the tenancy agreement before signing
When a let is agreed, the most common type of contract the agent will produce is known as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). It will include the address of the property, all landlord and tenant names, the rental amount and date it is due, plus any specifically negotiated terms.
Contracts do not automatically include a break clause, so make sure you understand the potential costs of terminating your tenancy early, just like you would with a gym or a mobile phone contract.
If you are considering looking for a new home to rent, contact one of our local experts or visit our dedicated lettings section to start your search. And if you are thinking of letting out your property and would like some advice.