Top Questions You Need To Ask When You Are Looking To Rent
Whether you are moving out of your parent’s home or simply looking for a change of address, renting is proving a very popular choice. Whilst it is true that getting a foot on the property ladder is the ultimate choice for most people, there are some distinct advantages to be gained from renting over buying.
House prices are at an all-time high, pricing them out of the pocket of not only younger buyers but also those people whose family circumstances have changed. Financial instability and the uncertainty that we face with Brexit has made many people very wary of committing to a mortgage, at least for the next few years, so renting and the flexibility that it offers has become a rather appealing alternative.
With long-term tenancies beginning at as little as six months, moving in with someone to test a fledgeling relationship or taking the plunge and accepting a new job in a new area can make life much easier and far less complicated should things not work out.
Before you do rent there are a few things that you might want to ask to help make your renting experience a positive one.
1. Can I have pets in the property
If your family includes pets then this is one question you will need to ask very early on, there is no point looking at rental properties that won’t accept pets if you have fur babies. Don’t be tempted to think that a property that states “No Pets” will change their mind later, it’s not worth the risk.
2. Who is responsible for this?
If the rental property you are looking at is a flat then it is a good idea to find out who is responsible for the common areas, you want to find out if this is going to cost you any extra money on top of your rent, so you can see how it fits into your budget.
If the rental property is a house, ask about the responsibility for any white goods that will be in the property should you move in. You want to know if the landlord will agree to mend or replace anything that breaks down.
3. Where will my deposit be held?
By law, a landlord is required to protect your deposit in a deposit protection scheme. This protects both you and the landlord, if they are not doing this then it might be a good idea to walk away from the property in question.
4. What is included?
For anyone renting for the first time, this is especially important. Are there white goods in the property? What pieces of furniture will there be? Whilst this might make the rent a little more expensive it could still be cheaper than if you need to purchase these items, especially if you need them all.
5. Can I decorate?
Quite a few tenancy agreements will say that the landlord does not allow you to paint the walls or attach anything to them, so if you are looking to put your own stamp on a rental property then maybe you need to look elsewhere.
In some cases, and especially if the previous tenant was in the property long term or left it a mess, the landlord will have given it a fresh coat of paint. If you are really lucky they may let you have a say in the colour scheme provided it isn’t too bright!
6. How much will it cost?
Obviously, you will know what the monthly rent is before you visit a property in order to make sure it is within your budget, but you want to be able to factor any associated costs into your budget as well. How much is the deposit and are there any letting agent fees. You will also want to take into consideration things like council tax and utilities, is there a water meter, what sort of amount are you looking at to heat the house, if it isn’t well insulated your bills could be high.
If the property doesn’t have a driveway, or if it has a shared driveway, you might want to find out whether you will have any problems parking there. You may also need to find out if there are any restrictions on parking if it is on the main road, especially during the daytime. You might even need a parking permit from the council which is another cost to take into consideration.
If of course, you don’t drive, then don’t forget to inquire about local transport links.
8. What happens in an emergency?
Obviously, you don’t want anything to go wrong whilst you are living in the property, but if it should you want to know that the resources are there to deal with it in a timely manner. This might be in the form of a 24-hour phone number or a dedicated person in the rental office you can speak to who will arrange for issues to be sorted out.
9. Does the contract contain a release clause?
If things don’t work out, then you want to know what your options will be for moving our sooner rather than later.
If the contract contains a break clause, then you should be able to end a fixed-term tenancy agreement after six months, but you should check the wording to see exactly what this entails.
If there is a release clause then you might be able to get out of the tenancy before that timeframe, however, there may be a fee involved. Often this may mean that in addition to paying a fee to get out of the agreement you as the tenant are responsible for finding a new tenant.
10. Will I need a guarantor?
Even in the event that you have a steady job, you may still need to find a guarantor, unfortunately, there is no set threshold for income that would exempt you from this. The decision to require a guarantor will be solely at the discretion of the landlord.
With all these questioned answered, you should be able to tell whether the property in front of you is the perfect home for you, or whether you should look elsewhere.