How To Find The Best Rental Property That’s Within Your Budget – PART 2

Following on from our previous article on the series of finding the best rental property that is within your budget. We have collated a few more tips that will be beneficial to you when looking for that new home.


Test the property, don’t just view it

  • Once you’ve found several properties that match your criteria on the type of property you are looking for, book your first viewing.
  • It’s better to take the mindset that you are testing the property rather than viewing it, as you will have more of an open-mind approach to the features in the property.
  • When you sign for a tenancy it is based upon renting the flat or house as seen, therefore when it comes to looking round the property you should test everything as you go and make sure that the property actually your criteria.
  • It also makes sense to take pictures of any problems as you view to back up your list of improvements.
  • Turn the taps on to test water pressure, test the shower, flush the toilet, check the fixtures and fittings are all fine, open and close windows, and most importantly list any work that would need doing before you move in.
  • Remember don’t allow yourself to be rushed through a property by the landlord or letting agent, they may only want to spend 15 minutes showing you round, but you will ultimately be the one living there so make sure you take full advantage of your visit.
  • You should also try and view a property on more than one occasion, ideally at different times of the day. This will not only allow you to have a second check of the property itself but should also help you get a better feel for the surrounding area.

 
Quiz the agent

  • When you’re viewing a property, take the opportunity to ask the letting agent exactly what you are getting for your money and what features you will not be receiving. 
  • Will any bills be included in the rent, what’s the current council tax level for the property and will the property will be thoroughly cleaned and any repair work completed before you arrive and settle in?
  • Ask if there are any additional on-going expenses, such as communal heating and lighting charges, garden maintenance fees or security features that you may have to contribute to.
  • Checking the energy efficiency of the property is also worthwhile; ask to see the Energy Performance Certificate – the better the rating the more money you can expect to save on your utility bills and the less future hassle.
  • This is also the time to ask what fees you would be expected to pay to the agents themselves. This will allow you to have a clearer understanding of where exactly your money is being distributed to.
  • Letting agents will often charge a finding fee and credit reference fee before you can move in and these can vary significantly, so find out in advance what the Agents basic fees are.
  • If you’re faced with high fees, you may want to check if you letting agent is registered as an Associated Residential Letting Agent, the registered body to avoid any upcoming disagreements.
  • Asking if lots of people have already viewed the property and how long has it been on the market for is also worthwhile. If the agent is struggling to find a tenant, there may be something wrong with the property or they may be willing to accept offers below the advertised rent or a reduction in fees. It’s always good to be aware of these signs.
  • You should also check how long your rent will be fixed for and if the landlord has added a clause in the rental contract that means he/she can increase the rent at any time as this can save you a lot of future stress.

 
Deposit Protection

  • Deposits vary from anything between a month to 6 months rent, often depending on your creditworthiness, so make sure you can afford to pay the deposit before you sign a rental agreement and proceed with anything.
  • You should also check how your prospective landlord will be holding your deposit while you rent the property.
  • Landlords must use a government approved deposit protection scheme to protect your deposit. If they fail to do this they must then repay 3 times your deposit, so check exactly where your money will be heading to.

 
Negotiate

  • Although demand for rental property has gone up in recent years with fewer people able to buy if you are looking to rent you still hold the upper hand and make sure that YOU leave satisfied at the end of the day. As you will be the one to live in the property. 
  • There is no reason why you have to accept the listed rental price, instead view this as the maximum you would be expected to pay and see if you can reduce the costs. Although it’s unlikely that you’ll be able to get a large discount on your rent, even £10-£20 a month will add up over the course of a standard 6 or 12-month tenancy.
  • If there proves to be little flexibility where the rent is concerned to consider what bills (if any) are included. Some landlords may be willing to cover the costs of some utilities if pushed before you sign. As this will benefit you.
  • Remember once you’ve signed the tenancy you will be tied into the rent and the terms you’ve agreed, so you are only in a position to improve your deal before you commit and move in.

So these are the last few tips we have on finding the best rental property that is within your budget.