There are several factors to consider before finding a property to rent. These will largely depend on your personal circumstances, preferred location and personal needs.
You will want to look at what is available and you will find these advertised on the property internet portals. Most agents use these to advertise the property they have available.
Once you have found a suitable property, you must agree the terms of the let which may involve some negotiation. Once the terms are agreed, formal documentation will be drawn up setting out the terms and conditions of the let. This will need to be signed by both you, as the tenant, and the landlord.
When you find a property, before you sign anything you should:
- look at the property – is it clean, what kind of condition is it in and does anything need repairing?
- find out what furniture, carpets, curtains and other equipment is included in the rent
- find out what your responsibilities are, particularly at the end of the tenancy, such as employing professional cleaners or replacing broken furnishings.
Here is our list of common problems that can occur from when your tenancy starts to after it's ended:
Tenancy Deposit Protection requires anyone holding a tenancy deposit (either a landlord or managing agent) to belong to an authorised scheme which protects the deposit during the tenancy and deals quickly and independently with any dispute over its return at the end of the tenancy.
Your landlord or agent must tell you within 14 days of you handing over the deposit which one of the three authorised schemes your deposit is protected by and provide you with details of the scheme.
For more details on the authorised schemes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland please visit rics.org/tds
Once the letting agent and the landlord have approved your references you can sign the tenancy agreement. Before signing, read and, if necessary, get professional advice on any documents you are asked to sign. Check the paperwork mentions the following important points:
- length of tenancy – most lettings are Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs)
- how often and when to pay rent, as well as any other costs
Once you are interested in a property, check the letting agent is an RICS member and that the firm is ‘Regulated by RICS’. This will ensure that you are treated fairly, can rely on the information you are given and that you and your money are protected. There are many letting agents who are unregulated and extra care should be taken when dealing with these agents.
The letting agent may make an administration charge for processing the application and for completing the relevant paperwork, including the recommended inventory.
As a tenant, you have the right to have your home kept in a reasonable state of repair. However, you also must look after it.
You should also agree with your landlord/ letting agent how much, and who will pay for, work at the end of the tenancy, such as checking the inventory, renewing the agreement or cleaning the property.