Moving out for the first time and getting your first steps onto the renters ladder can be a very daunting task. Aside from moving into a totally different house and sometimes with a number of different people you still have to worry about viewings, budgets, contracts and much more.
An English Housing survey published in January 2018 found that 46% of 25-34 year olds now live in private rentals, compared with 27% in 2006-07. Many experts expect the upwards trend of more people renting to continue so it makes sense to prepare yourself if you are considering renting out accommodation.
Below we’ve put together a list of 5 tips to help you on your renters journey!
1) Have a budget and stick to it
Renting a place that you cannot afford is one of the top first time renter mistakes and you should do your best to avoid it at all costs.
Budgets help you manage your money and keep you from getting into trouble financially so it’s essential for a first time renter to establish what they can afford beforehand and then stick by it. Don’t bother looking at properties over your budget and this will only lead to heartache, undue stress and confuse you into spending more than what you can.
Once you’ve established a budget you can go searching for a property. Try to go for one a little below the top end of your budget because new homes can often involve hidden costs so by opting to spend a little less you give yourself some breathing room just in case you do need to spend a little on the property you’ve moved into.
2) Check out the property as if you were going to buy it
First time renters tend not to check out a home thoroughly as they come in with the mindset “I won’t be living here forever so it doesn’t matter that much”. This approach is way to lax and could cause you a lot of stress and more importantly money later down the line.
It’s not uncommon for landlords to try and rent or sell a house in poor condition. A couple of things to look out for when viewing a property are:
- Are the rooms big enough?
- Does it have the right amount of storage space for your things?
- Is the plumbing, heating and other utilities up to scratch?
- Have a smell, can you smell or see damp?
- What are the neighbours like?
- What is the general state of the property itself?
If one of the above or something else doesn’t meet your criteria you can potentially use it to bargain with the landlord and reduce the rent!
3) Know your Rights, your Landlords & Anyone else Living in the Home
As a tenant you have rights and you should familiarise yourself with these by visiting your local council or talking to a relevant expert. By doing so, you know what you are entitled to so if a landlord ever tries to do something that goes against your rights you can stop them in their tracks.
That said, landlords also have rights some of which are included in tenancy agreements that are signed at the start of a rental agreement. Again, you would be wise to know the rights of your landlord and what you can ask for to avoid any issues in the future.
If you’re living with other people in the same property, they also have their own space and rights. Spend some time learning what they are and your whole rental experience will go by much smoother!
4) Be vary of Rental Scams
Just like in other property sectors, for example we buy any house scam companies and dodgy estate agents, scams also exist in the rental sector.
Many of these fraudsters generally target first time renters as they are inexperienced and easy targets. A general rule of thumb you should follow is, “if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is”
With that said, below are a couple of things to watch out for in order to avoid rental scams. If one of these do crop up, alarm bells should start ringing on your side and you should either break contact or pass up immediately on anything offered.
- The fake landlord or agency are offering you a very low price in comparison to other similar properties.
- The letting agency has little to no online presence.
- They won’t allow you to see the property beforehand.
- They ask you for money up front.
- The landlord or letting agent won’t draw up or sign any essential paperwork.
If you keep your wits about you and do some investigating it’s not too difficult to spot a scam!
5) Confirm everything in Writing
This one is pretty self explanatory and very important. It’s essential for both renters and landlords alike to sign a legally binding contract which outlines the rights and regulations for both parties. This keeps both parties in check and inside their boundaries.
Tenancy agreements can also include specific clauses you may have agreed with a landlord in advance so by having everything in writing you are protected just in case the landlord ever decides to go back on his word.
We hope the 5 first time renter tips provided in our article has given you the information and confidence you need to go out and find the perfect rental home!