An Invaluable Guide To Renting
Secure your ideal rental home with these top tips
The rental market, especially in London, is a competetive place. However, our invaluable Guide to Renting will help you find and secure the rental house of your dreams.
First things first
Write a list of essentials, as this will narrow the field. The more flexible you are, the better chance you have of finding somewhere you love. These will get you started; add anything else you might need. Do remember that being highly specific (eg. 'I need a large kitchen/diner that seats ten people' or 'I have to live in this one-mile radius') will severely limit your options!
Budget: What's your monthly budget? Bear in mind the deposit you will need to cover. Since rules changed in 2019 you will pay no more than 5 weeks' deposit for a property with an annual rent of £50k or less, and 6 weeks' for any over £50k.
Location: Do you need to be within walking distance of public transport? Do you require parking? Research council tax bands when deciding where you would like to live.
Who with: Do you want to live alone, or with housemates? It's important to keep your letting agent or landlord abreast of who's living in the property, whether it's people you already know or housemates you've found to share with.
Facilities: Do you need outside space? Do you require communal facilities such as a lounge area, a gym or a communal garden?
Furnishings: If you rent a fully-furnished property, you are responsible for keeping all of the furniture and appliances in good condition. Unfurnished properties will allow you to kit out the rental to your tastes. Part-furnished properties usually include white goods such as fridges and washing machines and can free up cash for furniture in your style.
Long term or short term?
A long-term rental will usually be a contract for six to twelve months. Consider offering a longer period if it's something you're able to do, as it will offer security for both you and the landlord.
If you require somewhere temporary, some landlords offer rolling contracts, either weekly or monthly. This is a two-way agreement, so you could also be asked to leave. Make sure you're clear on what the arrangement is.
When you apply to rent, your (potential) landlord will do this check to ensure you have a legal right to rent in the UK. It's a good idea to take your documentation with you to viewings, so you can immediately proceed with the necessary checks if you find a home you want. For UK citizens this is a driving license, birth certificate or passport. For foreign nationals, you'll need any documentation that proves you have the right to live in the UK.
Things to have in place
Deposit: As mentioned above, you'll need 5-6 weeks of rent for your deposit. This will need to be paid before you move in. Your landlord is legally required to put this into a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme.
References: Your landlord is likely to ask for references from your current or previous landlord, and most likely your employer. If this is your first time renting, character references can usually be given in place of landlord references.
Proof of income: You'll need to prove that you have income. If you are in a contract, collate the last few months of payslips along with your most up-to-date employment contract. If you are self-employed, you'll usually need documents that cover a longer period of time; up to three years. You may be asked for bank statements, trade accounts and tax documents.
Guarantor: You may be asked to provide a guarantor. This person agrees to cover the cost of your rent if you fail to pay or find yourself struggling. A guarantor is usually a parent or close family member.
Things to consider
Credit score: Your landlord may run a credit check, so if you know you don't have a good credit score, take steps to improve it. You may still be able to rent with a poor credit score, but your landlord may ask for rent up-front or require a guarantor.
Council tax: Check which council tax band the property falls into, so you can budget for the cost. If your utilities are included in your rent, it's worth checking with your landlord if council tax is also covered. People living alone or with people who are exempt (such as students) can receive a 25% discount on their council tax bill.
Rent: If you're paying weekly instead of monthly, don't get caught out-you could end up paying more each month than you thought. Multiply your weekly rent by 52 and divide by 12 to get an average monthly cost.
TV License: If you watch or record any live TV whether it's on a television or via streaming services, you'll need a TV license. The same goes for watching or downloading any programmes on BBC Iplayer.
Utilities: Are these included? Utility costs are currently incredibly high, so remember to budget for them. As a rule, you'll be looking at around 20% of your monthly rent for utilities.
Responsibility: Read the contract carefully. If you're living with other people, make sure everyone is named correctly on the agreement and that you can protect yourself financially if other people fail to pay their part of the rent.
T's & C's: Check any small print. For example, who is liable if the property is broken into, or for emergency repairs? Check the inventory and what you have responsibility for. Are there penalties for late payment of rent?
Be organised, friendly and courteous. The landlord/letting agent may have several offers for the property you desire. Being positive and flexible with the landlord's preferences, and flexible with your own conditions will help you stand out as the most attractive tenancy prospect.
Register with Anthony for an exceptional lettings service in Ealing and surrounding areas. 07369 269627