The number of tenants in the UK is expected to surpass the number of homeowners by 2039. With the fierce competition that renters face in the property market today, first-time renting can seem like a daunting experience. By having a comprehensive list of must-do’s and don’t’s by their side, first-time tenants can avoid certain common mistakes and make the best of their moving-in experience.
Letting agents in Cheltenham take us through the best tips for first-time tenants in the current housing market.
- Understand your finances
It is imperative for first-time tenants to make sense of their finances before taking any crucial renting steps. If you’re unable to afford to rent a property, it makes little sense to start looking into anything else. Moreover, there are other things to consider while renting, such as utility bills, deposits, housing expenses, etc.
Some of the costs first-time tenants should consider are:
- Bills such as electric, water and gas
- Council tax
By understanding their finances, tenants also get an estimate of their budget and how flexible they are in their rental choices. After applying for a property of their choice, the landlord may perform background checks on the tenant’s finances. These will include credit checks to analyse the tenant’s spending history and past financial record. Tenants must consider whether their monthly income is sufficient to pay the rent, monthly expenses and any additional bills that may occur. In cases where the tenants’ past financial history may not be sufficiently qualified, they may make use of a guarantor to vouch for their application.
- Define criteria for property selection
After determining the budget, the next step is to decide on the kind of property that is needed. While some tenants may favour a generous parking space, others would prefer a property closer to the schools in the area. Depending on the budget, renters will also get an idea about the number of bedrooms they expect to have in a property of their choice. Another thing to consider is whether the property should be furnished or unfurnished. Houses with good furnishings and a garden would certainly be priced more steeply than unfurnished houses without any outdoor lounging or green spaces.
- Be careful of property scams
Usually, properties that are listed by agents are considered legitimate. However, sometimes, there may be cases where property scams occur. One such is fake property listing, where a non-existent property is listed to make tenants pay a holding deposit before visiting the property. Another such scam is when scammers such as fake homeowners and agents show fake properties to demand a deposit. For this reason, renters must be careful and choose only registered to let agents verify that the properties they see on online portals are legitimate and never agree to pay a holding deposit or fees before viewing or verifying a property.
- Make a property viewing checklist
It’s easy to get distracted or bogged down by the nitty-gritty of property viewing as a first-time tenant. But even the slightest negligence can end up costing you thousands of pounds in the future.
Some things you need to look out for during property viewings:
Make sure to check how well-maintained outdoor spaces such as gardens or decks are.
Rooms areas: Make sure that the total property area that has been promised to you is actually accurate.
You can check the light switches, ensure there is running water on all taps and even check the hinges on all doors.
How secure is the property? Do all the locks on the doors work? Is the property in a safe neighbourhood?
- Know your tenancy agreement and obligations
As a tenant, you will need to put in a security deposit before moving into the property. This is to protect your landlord in case of any property damage or damage to the property items. An assured shorthold tenancy has to be linked with a TDS or Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Such schemes are mandated by the government to prevent disputes between landlords and tenants. If the yearly rent is less than £50,000, deposits are restricted to 5 weeks’ worth of rent. Deposits are limited to 6 weeks’ worth of rent for homes with annual rental values exceeding £50,000.
The tenant and the landlord sign an agreement of mutually agreed-upon terms when the tenancy begins. Although tenancy agreements might be challenging to comprehend, it’s critical that you fully grasp what you’re agreeing to.