In this guide we will take a thorough look at the process of renting a property, including the benefits of renting, how to find your dream home, putting a deposit down and what your rights and responsibilities are as a tenant.
Renting your home can be beneficial for many reasons, as not only can it be cheaper than owning your own home but bills can also be far more predictable. Many people choose to rent as it provides them with less responsibilities and greater financial freedom. Renting is also much more conducive to a 'no-strings' lifestyle as you are able to move home whenever you want to in a relatively hassle free-way.
Finding a property
Properties available to rent are rarely hard to come by and most people are usually able to find a handful of suitable properties without too much trouble. Many newspapers will advertise properties and there are various websites which can offer help. However, for added security and the benefit of real knowledge of an area you should always seek the advice of an experienced estate agent.
The first step to renting a property is finding somewhere that is right for your needs. Factors such as the size of your family, your mobility, your job, your budget and whether you want any extra perks such as gardens, off street parking or second bathrooms will usually play a crucial part in your decision.
Once you have put together a shortlist of properties which you are interested in the next step is to go and visit them to see what you think. Seeing a property in the flesh is often the only true way to discover if you could picture yourself living somewhere and it also provides a solid way to discover if there are any problems with the property.
When you do visit a property, it's always a good idea to bring someone along who you trust and perhaps won't be living in the property; an outside opinion can help you to take a more practical look at living somewhere.
When you visit the property you should ask questions about the condition of the property, specifically; is it secure? Are there any problems with mould or damp? Are smoke alarms fitted? Do the gas, water and electric all work sufficiently? You should also ask to see an Energy Performance Certificate which will give you an indication as to the costs of living in the property and by law this must be provided.
A good letting agent will be able to answer any questions you have and will provide you with information about rental costs, deposits, additional costs, tenant responsibilities, and any other important information.
Applying to rent a property
Once you have found your dream rental property, you will need to apply to live there by informing the letting agent or private landlord of your intentions. In order to approve you, a landlord will usually want to confirm that you are of good character and able to keep up with your rental payments. They may ask for proof of identity, recent bank statements, bank details, confirmation of employment and they may also wish to carry out a credit check on you before they accept your application.
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Should you be successful in your application to rent a property, the next step will usually be to pay a deposit which is required by the landlord. Commonly, this is one month's rent in advance together with a deposit of equal to six weeks rent which will be held by the landlord under a Tenancy Deposit Scheme.
Rights as a tenant
All tenants of private rented property have specific rights and responsibilities which they need to uphold.
As a tenant you must take good care of a property, turning off water mains in the winter while you are absent from the property, for example. You must keep up with your rent payments at all times, even if there is an ongoing dispute, such as one over repairs to the property. You must also keep up to date with council tax and you must not sublet the property unless it is approved in advance by the landlord. Finally, you must repair or pay for any damage to the property that is caused by you or your visitors.
Your landlord must also adhere to his or her responsibilities and these include keeping the property in a state of good repair, protecting deposits, respecting the tenants' privacy, upholding fire safety measures and providing you with all the necessary information that you might need over your tenancy agreement.
If you have a dispute with your landlord then you should seek advice from the Housing Ombudsman Service who will be able to help you make a formal complaint.
If you are thinking about renting property then you should seek the help of an experienced estate agent, particularly one who is knowledgeable about the area you wish to move in to. Here at Hudson Moody we have a range of properties available in and around the historic city of York.
Get in Touch
Call us on 01904 629629 to find out more or alternatively search for properties online.
See our list of Tenants' Frequently Asked Questions.