What Do First-time Renters Need to Know Before Moving Day?
Renting your first home can be a very liberating and exciting experience. It can also be a stressful and daunting one. However, with a little planning and research and a great agent behind you, there is no reason why you can’t have a hassle-free and happy moving day. In this article, we’ll take a look at the things you need to know and prepare for before you are handed the keys to your new home.
Do your homework
Remember when your teachers would say doing your homework was important? Well, they were right, and that advice still applies outside the school gates. Thanks to the technology we have available today, there is no excuse or reason not to do some thorough fact-finding before signing a contract on your first property. It’s an idea to check out the local area at different times of day to see what the parking is like or the noise levels etc. and to ensure you are not paying over the odds its worth having a look online at comparable properties to check the price is realistic.
Don’t stretch yourself
When renting a property, it is always important that you choose a property that you can afford, make sure you know exactly what is included in the rent before signing the contract. For example, does the rent include council tax or water rates, if not then it may be useful to work out how much extra this will cost as it all adds up at the end of the month. Living beyond your means could land you in hot water further down the line.
Unpaid rent or late payment could mean you are evicted or that you find it hard to get a favorable reference from your landlord.
Be aware of deposits
Most rented accommodation requires a security deposit to be put down before you can move in. For tenancies that started after 6th April 2006 the deposit must be registered with a government- backed tenancy deposit scheme such as The Deposit Protection service or The Tenancy Deposit Scheme. They ensure you get your deposit back if you have not defaulted on any terms of the tenancy. Details of deposits together with their terms should be included in your tenancy agreement. Since the Tenant Fees Act came into force on the 1st June 2019, landlords can only ask for a maximum of 5 weeks rent as a deposit for properties with an annual rent of below £50,000 per year, above this amount is capped at 6 weeks.
Get everything in writing
Before you agree to move into a property or part with any money, it is important to have everything drawn up in writing. This will ensure you know exactly where you stand as a tenant. There are certain documents that a landlord must give their tenant by law, these include a copy of the government’s ‘How to rent’ checklist, a gas safety certificate (if the property has gas), details of the deposit protection scheme, an energy performance certificate and a letter with all contact details.
To accompany these documents there should be a legally binding tenancy agreement signed by all parties and a property inventory, preferably with photographs which details the condition of the property at the start of the tenancy. This last document is very important as it is a detailed record of the property and all its contents and will be used as a reference document at the end of the tenancy.
These are just some of the things you should be aware of a first-time renter. If you have any questions about finding the right property or your rights as a tenant, our team would be delighted to help.