Renting For The First Time Guide For Tenants
There’s no doubt that moving into a rental property for the first time can be overwhelming. You might not know what you’re getting yourself into, it’s not “real” home-ownership in the traditional sense, but there are still plenty of legal things to bear in mind, as well as all the moving arrangements!
Even more so if you are moving from abroad!
While you may be tempted to sign up for the first place you see, keep in mind that it will be your rental property for a short or long period, and you want to be satisfied there.
Here are our recommendations for first-time home renters to assist you in finding the ideal property for you.
Know your tenancy rights
Your tenancy agreement comes with tenancy rights,fixed-term, and notice periods so it’s best to familiarize yourself with them before you start looking for a rental property. A tenant’s legal guide is a good place to start with understanding your rights.
You can find out more about tenancy laws like the tenant fees act, council tax, tenancy agreement and tenancy deposit protection on the Gov.UK webpage.
Set a budget that’s realistic for the area you want to live in
Before you start looking at rental properties or flats to rent, it’s best to get your finances in order and know how much you spend on rent each month. You don’t want to be spending lots of money on rent just because it’s more convenient than looking further out. If there are other utility bills involved, estimate them well ahead of time so they don’t catch you off guard later. If you’re still unsure of what your maximum rental price should be, just keep in mind that your monthly or annual rent shouldn’t be any more than 1/3rd of your take-home salary.
Know what features are necessary for your home
There is no one-size-fits all mentality when it comes to what a home has to have. Some people can get by without a dishwasher, others might needs a garden because they are ‘Renting with Pets‘. You’ll want to think about any features that are non-negotiable for you and write them down so they don’t get forgotten when you’re viewing potential properties.
Ask friends and family for recommendations
If you’ve not had experience with rental properties yourself, your friends or family members might have. You don’t know what questions to ask the landlord so they can find out if it’s suited to your lifestyle until you do a bit of research on them yourself. Try asking what their expectations are from a tenant and let them know yours as well . It’ll make things go much smoother when going through the process together because each party will understand where the other is coming from.
Use an online search tool
There are many websites out there that cater to people searching for rental properties in the United Kingdom, but you need to use care when choosing one because not all of them provide accurate listings or tenancy agreements. When using any of these sites keep the following tips in mind:
• Be sure you’re looking at current listings with their correct up-to-date information.
• Read the rental agreement details to ensure they meet your tenancy needs and expectations in terms of tenancy laws.
• Check the location of the rented property to make sure it’s within commuting distance for you.
• Evaluate ratings and reviews by previous clients when available; pay attention to what other tenants have said about their experience with the letting agent or landlord.
Prepare For The Referencing Process
Referencing is the process of getting background information on you to ensure that you’re capable of paying rent and not likely to cause damage or disturbance in the rental property. Landlords will want to know things like:
• Where you work.
• How much money you earn (if possible).
• Where your salary comes from (a bank statement is usually sufficient).
• What other rental properties you have lived in before.
Work on your negotiation skills
You may find yourself in scenarios where there’s more than one interested party for the same property or it turns out that the landlord needs notice from someone else before they can offer it up to you. In these cases, being good at communicating is going make all the difference in getting what you want quickly and efficiently.
Process Of Renting A House For The First Time
If you’re thinking about renting a property in the United Kingdom, you’ve joined the increasing ranks of “generation rent,” which have risen from 10% of all households in 1996 to 22% or 5.4 million households today.
The property rental market in the UK is extremely large and there are around 20,000 property letting agencies. If renting a house is something that interests you, here is an overview of the renting steps and process.
If you’re not already living in the UK:
To start with, if you are moving to the UK from abroad, renting property is usually your only option if you can’t afford to buy property. If this is your first time renting a property in the UK, there are some forms and permits that you will need to get before taking up residence.
If you already live in the UK:
If you’re looking for a rental home as a local resident, rather than a newcomer, there will usually be fewer forms that need to be filled out before renting property. If renting from an agency or letting agent, many will want proof of income such as pay slips or contact details for their current employer so they can check employment status.
Step 1 – Look for a property to rent
Whether you’re moving into your first flat or house, or are relocating from a previous property, you’ll need to figure out where you want to move and what you want. The more information you have about the property as well as the neighborhood in which it will be located, the simpler your search will be. When you’ve found a few properties that might work for you, start to narrow it down.
Step 2 – Conduct viewings
Once you’re happy with your shortlist, it’s time to start viewing the properties. If you’re able to view a property yourself, do so. This way, you’ll have a better understanding of the area, transport links, amenities, establishments and whether it’s a good fit for you or not. If your budget won’t allow for self-viewings, investigate letting agents in the city as they can arrange viewings without your physical presence. Because of the advanced technology nowadays, some letting agents offer 360 Tours which is very convenient for the prospective tenants to have a look at the property from anywhere and whenever.
Step 3 – Decide on a letting agent
If you’re letting an agent handle your tenancy for you, it’s important that you do some research into letting agents in the city where you want to live. Make sure to ask questions about what services they offer and how much they will charge. If necessary, ask for references from past clients. The letting agent should provide all of this information as part of their service to you as a tenant. Also, make sure to check if the letting agency is registered with a government-approved redress scheme such as Property Ombudsman Scheme which can be used as an alternative arbitration scheme for disputes between letting agents and their clients. Ask if they are members of ARLA Propertymark and have Client Money Protection.
Step 4 – Make an offer
If you feel that it is the right property for you and it’s within your budget, you can make an offer to rent it. If there are other people interested in renting the property too, your agent will be able to tell you what offers (if any) they’ve received and whether yours has been accepted.
Step 5 – Tenant Referencing
Tenant Referencing is the process of checking that you’re a suitable tenant. The landlord will want to make sure that you’ve provided accurate information about their potential tenants and aren’t likely to cause any problems. Your new tenancy agreement will be based on this information, so it must be correct too.
There are different types of referencing depending on your situation:
Credit checks– This checks the information in your credit report against lenders’ records including any County Court Judgements (CCJs) or amounts owed etc…
Right to rent check – If you don’t have a UK passport or Home Office documentation, you’ll need to pass a right-to-rent check which confirms your immigration status in the UK qualifies for renting a property.
Financial checks – These will look at where your money is coming from. This could be a bank statement as proof of income as well as references from your current or previous employers. However, you must remember that the landlord will want to make sure that you can afford the rent which might mean asking for 3 months’ worth of bank statements just in case.
Step 6 – Pay Tenancy Deposits
On top of paying the first month’s rent, you’ll need to pay a tenancy deposit. This is usually equal to one month’s rent and goes towards covering any damage or unpaid utility bills and other bills should you ever leave the property. Some landlords also request an extra holding deposit before signing the tenancy agreement – this will go towards your final week’s rent but it won’t be returned if you decide not to sign. ( this must be no more than one week’s rent)
Step 7 – Sign the Tenancy Agreement
Once everything has been agreed and you’ve paid any holding deposit, it’s time to sign your assured shorthold tenancy agreement. The landlord or their letting agent will give you a copy of the signed agreement before officially accepting rent from you. Make sure you know everything there is to know about the rental agreement, payment arrangements, and any other hidden fees.
Step 8 – Documents and Inventory
Once you’ve paid your deposit and at least one month’s rent, plus the signing-up fee , your agent will give you copies of the energy performance certificate, gas safety certificate, and any other documents they may have for you. You should also receive ‘Contents Insurance‘ details including what’s covered by your landlord if anything were to happen to the tenant during their tenancy. The final thing that most agents provide is a copy of ‘How to Rent‘, which is a guide explaining everything in detail about renting in England.
Many landlords hire an inventory clerk to document and photograph all of the meter readings, fixtures, fittings, and furniture within a property before you move in. This is an important step as it confirms to you and your landlord that everything within the property is in good condition.
Step 9 – Collect Utilities
Before moving into your new property, make sure that you’ve set up all utility services such as electricity, gas, water, broadband internet access, etc… For almost every provider out there, all you’ll need is your postcode and ID so it’s quick and easy to switch over. Some companies may require more information including who the previous owner was so if possible get that information from your landlord.
Step 10 – Admire Your New Property
Finally, before you move in be sure to walk through the property with your landlord or letting agent and check everything again. If anything has changed since you’ve signed the rental agreement, make sure they put it in writing and sign off their changes. Then just sit back relax and enjoy your home!
What Do You Need To Rent A House
When it comes to renting a home, you’ll need to be ready and anticipate paperwork like the tenancy agreement as well as what you will be expected to pay. Fortunately, we’ve broken down the most essential information for you below.
A document that establishes your identity
Your landlord and/or letting agent will want to verify that you are who you claim to be. In most situations, a driving licence or passport will suffice, but if you don’t have one, a signed bank card and a current utility bill, and tv licence might be acceptable.
Bank Account Statement
It appears obvious, yet you’ll need a bank account to rent a new house. The majority of high street banks can supply simple bank accounts that allow you to set up standing orders and direct debits. This will make managing your monthly outgoings much simpler.
Proof of Income
Prove that you are able to afford the monthly rent, residential landlords will usually request that you provide evidence of your earnings. This is typically done by supplying your latest pay slip or a letter from your employer confirming your salary rate.
For your landlord or letting agent, there are three sorts of references you may be requested to supply – therefore you’ll need to provide phone numbers, current address, and dates from the previous three years for the following:
- Employer reference
- Previous landlord
- Personal reference
Budgeting And The Cost Of Renting
Take these figures into account while looking at the property market and ask how much each of these expenses when you look at properties you’re interested in.
When you’re looking at properties, check what type of heating it has and how much the energy bills are. Keep in mind that these costs can go up during winter. This might influence your decision of where to look for a property.
Once you have moved into your property, you will also have to pay council tax. This is an ongoing cost, so remember to take this into account when comparing different properties on price per week/month.
These are often not part of monthly rent payments but are always indicated as ‘additional’ costs. Sometimes they are rolled up with Council Tax if they are collected together by your local council.
Repairs and maintenance issues
Ask the landlord or letting agency if there is a sinking fund for repairs and how it’s used. This will give you an idea of whether anything has to be paid upfront, so check this before signing any agreements.
Broadband and TV
This is something you need to pay every month. Ask the letting agent what provider they use and if it’s included in your rent . If it has TV Licence included, is it for a year or per quarter? This also varies and you need to keep track of this cost as well if is not included in rent.
These are paid every 3 months usually, but again- check if they come together with council tax or separately. They can be very significant costs during summer/autumn/winter so prepare yourself beforehand.
How Long Does It Take To Rent A House
In order to avoid unnecessary delays and potential problems, first time tenants should be aware of the process required when searching for a rental property.
Every landlord has a list of documents they require from a tenant before they can successfully move in, so first time tenants need to have these ready at hand. Depending on the state you live in this may include:
• Credit check application
• Rental history or application
• References from previous landlords
• Photo ID
• Proof of income/employment
• Application fee
If all forms are not completed properly first-time tenants can expect delays of up to three weeks before being allowed entry into their new property. On average first-time renters who do things by the book typically wait around one week before they are able to move into their first rental property.