Tenants seeking their next home should consider their options and plan carefully before renting a property.
Wherever they move to is likely to be their home for some time to come and they need to ensure it meets their needs and the rental process is smooth.
*Think carefully about where you want to live, the type of home you require and the level of rent you can afford
*Don’t forget to budget for extra costs – utility bills, television licence, broadband, council tax, management fees etc
*Consider renting through a reputable agency – they will be the intermediary between you and the landlord, and are there to support both parties
*Spend time searching online to get an idea of what is available, where it is and how much you should expect to pay
*If sharing a home, think carefully about who your housemates are and whether you actually want to live with them and share responsibility for the property
*When visiting a property or discussing it with an agency or landlord, do not be afraid to ask questions – it is better to be sure about everything before signing on the dotted line
*Once you have found a property and both parties agree to go ahead, check you are happy with your tenancy agreement – and make sure you read the small print
*Ensure your landlord uses a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme – if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007 then this is now a legal requirement
*Ask for an inventory, check it carefully and query anything you are unsure of
*Take photographs of any areas of pre-existing damage and discuss them with the landlord or agency
*Ensure all gas appliances have been checked by a Gas Safe-registered engineer and that at least one smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector has been installed
*Students may be asked to provide a “guarantor” (often a parent) who will cover any damage costs or shortfalls in rent. Your guarantors must find out whether you have a joint tenancy, with a single agreement, in case they are liable for overdue rent or damage caused by the other tenants
*Do not forget to insure the contents of your new home – shop around for the best deal
*Enjoy the experience of renting and feeling at home in the property for the time that you are there