Top Tips for First Time Renters – Part One

With an increasing number of people looking to rent I thought it would be useful to give some advice to those who are first time renters. Latest data from the industry body Propertymark shows that the private rented sector is under pressure as their members report an average of 142 applicants registered per agent branch (in February) compared to an average of just five properties to rent in the same period.

It might feel quite overwhelming so – in the first of a two-part series – here are some top tips to keep you up to speed with what you need to do before you make the move, to help make it as smooth as possible. 

Work out your finances

First, work out a budget for you and research the areas you can afford a property based on the monthly rent for the type of property you are interested in. Remember that on top of this, you will also need to budget for services including gas, electricity, water, phone, broadband, TV license and Council Tax.

View safely

It is always important to view safely, but guidelines changed over the time of the pandemic and may be subject to change again so be aware of this. If in doubt, at Pennington we can advise on everything you will need to do and what to expect.

Know your rights

Before you sign your tenancy agreement, you will be asked to provide proof that you have the right to live in the UK so make sure you can. After you sign the contract, you must be given a copy of a Gas Safety Certificate (if the property has gas), an Electrical Safety Certificate and the property’s Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). You will also be given the Government’s How to Rent Guide, your Deposit Protection Certificate and what is called the Prescribed Information (this last one may take a few days.)

Ensure you are protected

Make sure you are clear about what kind of tenancy agreement you’re signing as you are entering a legally binding agreement so take your time and read the contract thoroughly. Ask as many questions as you need so that you understand everything it contains and if you’re not happy, ask for any changes or amendments you want.

I’d recommend using a letting agent who is a member of Propertymark as they will have Client Money Protection. Without this, your money is not protected. Letting agents are required to display all fees they charge and the redress scheme to which they belong, in case of any issues down the line. If the agent can’t provide you with this information, quite simply don’t use them.

Next week I will look at other issues you need to consider before renting, but if you have any immediate questions or require any other advice, please do not hesitate to contact me as I am always happy to help.