Whether you have rented before or this is your first time, when you rent a home there is a lot to think about.
Does the property meet your needs?
Many factors need to be considered including:
- cost – both the cost of setting up the tenancy, as well as how much the rent is and how much you will need to pay extra for bills, such as council tax and utilities?
- location – is it close to shops, doctors, schools etc? Is it a safe neighbourhood?
- infrastructure – are there good transport links e.g. trains, buses etc?
- size – will the property accommodate your needs? For example, are there sufficient bedrooms or number of bedrooms required?
What type and length of tenancy do you need?
If the rent on the property is less than £100,000 per year and you do not live with the landlord, the tenancy automatically becomes an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). An AST usually lasts for six to 12 months but you can agree a longer fixed term tenancy with the landlord. If you choose a longer period, the landlord might ask for the rent to be increased part way through the tenancy. Take care not to commit to a longer tenancy unless you can negotiate a surrender of it. There may be a cost and you are likely to be liable for the rent for the full term of the tenancy.
What happens at the end of the tenancy?
When the fixed term of the tenancy has expired, the landlord can gain back possession of the property provided they give two months’ written notice to the tenant. In addition, if you owe at least two months or eight weeks rent, the landlord can apply to the court for possession and an order for payment.
What can you afford?
Before you even look at a property, work out what you can afford by looking at what your basic outgoings are likely to be. For instance:
- The monthly rent
- The cost of getting your references
- Inventory and tenancy agreement costs
- The deposit and any miscellaneous costs
- Council tax
- Water rates, gas, electricity, and telephone charges
- TV licence
- Insurance for your belongings
Energy Performance Certificate
All homes being let will require an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC). The EPC is broadly like the labels now provided with domestic appliances such as refrigerators and washing machines.
Its purpose is to record how energy efficient a property is as a building. The certificate provides a rating of the energy efficiency and carbon emissions of a building from A to G, where A is very efficient and G is very inefficient.
EPCs are produced using standard methods with standard assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective tenants to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment.
Image: Mark Moz