Published by: Danielle O'Connor
Renting for the first time can seem a little daunting, but here at Webster & Darby, we like to make sure this process is straight forward, and stress free for our clients. Here we have a created a guide that will help you find your first rental..
Before you start:
· How long do you want the tenancy for?
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy can be any term from twelve months to seven years, most contracts will be one year with a six-month break, but we can be flexible and work alongside what suits you and the landlord best.
· What can you afford?
You will need to work out what you can afford, take into consideration that its highly likely you will have all the bills to pay on top of your rent, as well as your usual outgoings. Our tenants will need to be able to earn 2.5 times the monthly rent each month. You could also provide us with a guarantor, who will need to earn 3 times the monthly rent each month. You will also need to consider fees that will need to be paid before moving into a property. At Webster & Darby we charge tenants an administration fee of a week’s rent plus vat, we ask for the first month’s rent, as well as deposit which is five to six weeks depending on the landlord’s instructions.
· What area are you considering moving too? There are many things you will need to consider when you are looking at potential areas such as; can you afford a place there, what are the transport links like, how local are the amenities, how good are the schools in the area? Obviously, you will need to find an area that highly benefits you, even if it means sacrificing a few elements in your search.
· What sort of property are you looking for? Now that you have figured out your budget and what area you would like to move too, you will need to think about what you really want in your first rental home, look at your lifestyle and start from there, for example, do you own a car? Would you require off street parking/garage, or would on street parking be okay? Create criteria of what exactly you are looking for, not every property will have exactly what you want, so you may need to sacrifice a few things for example off street parking or a private garden, as they might not be possible within your budget.
· Things to look out for on a viewing:
· Check how well maintained the property is, it is usually the tenant’s responsibility to look after the property, but things such as the roof, gutters and windows are down to the landlord or the agent if they are managing the property.
· How much storage space is within the property.
· How well the property is insulated, ask the agent for a copy of the EPC to look at the energy rating.
· Check the taps, bath, shower and flush the toilet to make sure all is working okay, the landlord or managing agent should be aware of any issues, and would arrange for a contractor to come out and resolve it.
· The closest transport links and local amenities – how far away are you from the local train station or bus stop.
· Look for smoke alarms – this is a legal requirement.
· Things to ask during viewings:
· If the property comes furnished, or part furnished, ask what furniture will remain in the property as some may belong to the current tenant.
· The length of tenancy the landlord is looking for. · Who is responsible for bills such as; electricity, gas, water and council tax, some landlords may include some bills in the rent. · Who will be the main point of contact during the tenancy?
· The fees that you will be charged if you were to offer on the property.
· Is there any charges if you were to renew the contract at the end of the tenancy? At Webster & Darby, we charge our tenants £150 including vat to renew their contract.
· What notice period will need to be given when you want to leave the property.
· How much notice will you be given if the landlord wants to terminate the contract.
· How will your deposit be protected?
· Ask if the landlord will be open to a pet being at the property, or if children are allowed.
· What is the offering procedure?
When you have found the perfect place:
Now that you have found the perfect rental home, you will need to make an offer on the property, most agents will ask you to pay a holding deposit. At Webster & Darby, we ask for £500.00. Along with the payment, you will be asked the price you are offering, your move date, and if you have any further requirements. We will make a confirmation of offer with the breakdown of costs and supply you with a copy. With this information, we will take it to the landlord and propose your offer. If the landlord accepts, we will then carry out referencing. The £500.00 will be deducted off your total balance that you need to pay before you move in. If the landlord does not accept your offer, the £500.00 will be refunded straight back to you.
As for referencing, it’s a very straight forward process. We use a third-party company, so we supply them with your details and information about the property. They will then contact you to get more information to carry out credit checks, employment reference as well as a landlord reference if necessary. If you fail referencing, there can be ways around this like getting a guarantor.
Once referencing has completed, we will create an Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreement for you. Within in this, you will find all your rights and responsibilities for your tenancy as well as the landlords. You will need to pay the remaining balance that is on your confirmation of offer.
Before you move into the property or on the day you move in, you will be supplied with your copy of the AST, Energy Performance Certificate, Gas Safety Certificate, and the contact details for your landlord or managing agent.
During your Tenancy:
· When you first move in to the property:
· Check your meter readings.
· Contact the current suppliers for all bills you will need to pay for, you can change supplier if you want too.
· Check your inventory report, you will have 10 days from when you have received it to see if there’s anything that needs to be added to it.
· The remainder of your tenancy:
· Pay your rent on time.
· Look after the property like it’s your own home.
· Be considerate to your neighbours.
· Do not sub-let, contact the landlord or managing agent if someone is leaving the property, and you
need a replacement.
· Regularly test smoke and carbon monoxide alarms.
· Report any need for repairs.
· If a new tenant is replaced during a tenancy, there will be a charge of £205 plus vat to cover referencing and to cover the changes on the tenancy, and to agree terms with all parties.
If you are looking for a property to rent, or will be in the future, please feel free to pop into our office in Raynes Park, or give us a call on 0208 5434 301.