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Guide to Renting: How to Rent a Property

Are you looking to rent an apartment or house? Renting is a fact of life for many of us, with many now expecting to rent for life, whether through choice or being unable to buy a home. One thing to consider is that the rental market is fast-paced, requiring you to make quick, well-informed decisions.

In order to choose a property you’ll be happy living in – and, most importantly, staying in – it is imperative that you know how to rent a property. From finding and securing a new home, all the way through to what to expect from a tenancy agreement, our guide to renting will help you find your dream property.


Have your finances prepared

Before moving in, you will need to pay a security deposit and probably one month’s rent in advance. These initial checks establish that you can afford to rent the property and will, therefore, make a good tenant.

Other things to consider

How long do you want the tenancy for? A tenancy is usually a minimum of 6 months (sometimes 12 months), so if you aren’t sure, you can ask for a tenancy to be extended. But remember, there are living costs involved in extending your fixed term tenancy agreement.

Before renting out a property, start gathering together documents that your agent will need to confirm your identity, immigration status, credit history and possible employment status. You can also check out this checklist provided by the official government site.


Establish your criteria for your rental property

Before you start looking, carefully review what sort of property you want and which best suits your current lifestyle. This is especially important if you’re renting out a property for the first time. Here are some examples:

  • Will you need on-site parking for your vehicle?
  • Do you want or need a garden for yourself, children or pets?
  • Do you need an unfurnished, semi-furnished or fully furnished property?
  • Where do you want to live?
  • How close to work do you need to be or your child’s school?
  • Do you need to be close to public transport links?
  • Do you want to be in the centre of town?

Once you have done this, make a list of your essential search criteria so you can easily narrow down your options and streamline the renting process. We offer a number of ways to find a rental property that is available now – use our property search, adjust the filters and advanced features to find exactly what you want, where you want.


Arrange viewings

This is one of the most important sections in our guide to renting as the only way to really get a feel for the property, is to arrange some viewings. Go through your list of favourites and arrange viewings through the site or ask the branch renting the property. 

Many lettings agents offer virtual viewings or video tours so you can see if the place is right for you before going in person. Here are some important tips to ask yourself:

  • What’s included in the rent?
  • What additional bills are there? What is the likely cost?
  • How much is the deposit?
  • Are there permitted payments further down the line if I choose to renew the tenancy?
  • How long is the contract?
  • What notice period is needed when I want to leave the property?
  • What insurance does the landlord have to cover the property? What insurance do I need to cover myself?

And if you’re looking at renting through an estate agent, make sure you understand the benefits of doing so.


Budget for your tenancy

Look deeper at your finances by reviewing the ongoing costs of running a rental property. There will be a few significant outgoings when you first set up a new tenancy in the renting process:

  • Your first month’s rent
  • Your security deposit – this will be a total of five weeks rent per tenancy where the rent is under £50,000 per year, or six weeks rent per tenancy where the rent is £50,000 or over per year
  • Outgoings such as the purchase of furniture if you rent an unfurnished or part furnished property
  • Your refundable holding deposit of one week’s rent per tenancy.

Additionally, once moved in, you will have ongoing costs such as:

  • Your monthly rental payments
  • Phone bills, broadband and line rental
  • Council tax payments
  • Utility payments such as electricity, gas and water (some of these may be included in the overall renting costs

It’s important to take these costs into consideration when you’re renting out a property. Remember too that it’s important to keep paying your rent on time and in full, as this may affect your credit score. To avoid this, we advise you to write down a projection of all your monthly outgoings (not forgetting disposable income spent) so you can see how much money you have leftover.


Tenant application process

Now you’re further down the line in the renting process, and you will have legal responsibilities to your landlord as a tenant. Read your written tenancy agreement carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities – and if you have any qualms, make sure to seek advice from a professional before you sign.

Agree on an inventory (or check-in report) with your landlord and, as an extra safeguard, make sure to take photos. This will make things easier if there is a dispute about the deposit at the end of the tenancy. If you are happy with it, keep a copy for your own records.

And lastly, remember to take meter readings when you move in to help make sure you don’t pay for the previous tenant’s bills. 


Living in your new property

Hopefully, our guide to renting has helped, and you’ve made the big move! Now, if you have any maintenance issues or questions, you will be advised who to contact during your tenancy to discuss whether action is needed by yourself or the landlord.

Regarding property inspections, a property managed by the agent will receive regular visits by a member of staff to ensure the property is being maintained on behalf of a landlord (which normally only occurs a few times a year). This is also a great opportunity to raise any concerns during your time there.

Renting out a property? Check us out

At Open House, we make the renting process seamless and easy.

We’ll put you in the strongest possible position as a tenant.

Get in touch!

Contact us today and get the ball rolling!

Alternatively, you can check out our properties available for rent or if you’re looking to purchase, you can check out our property search database.

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