Renting for the first time may be exciting and fun, but it also comes with a good degree of responsibility. That being said, choosing the right property to rent is very important – it can make the difference between a tenancy of comfort or a long period of strain and stress. Here, then, is what you need to remember when renting a flat for the first time:
- Check out the market. Don’t just visit rental property that you are interested in – visit flats which don’t suit you as well. This will give you a better idea of why flats are priced the way they are. It’s not just a matter of floor space or amenities, it’s also about location, neighbourhood, access to public transport, and shopping areas. Study the market. Use a map.
- Fix your budget. Write down what you need and why you need it. List the number of rooms you require, your preferred location (if you would like to live in Chelmsford, for instance), and so on. Once you have listed your exact requirements, it will be harder for the landlord or agent to persuade you to pay more for something you don’t need.
- Visit several times. Visit the property at least twice, at different times of day. This will give you a better sense of the neighbourhood. Additionally, it will also help you gauge issues such as noise and lighting. Make your visits count. Don’t just make it a 10-minute walk-through. Talk to the agent. Ask questions. Inspect the switches and the taps as well.
- Make an inventory. You’ll have to pay a deposit, and to ensure you get your deposit back it’s a good idea to take an inventory of what there is (furniture, etc.) and to list down any broken or damaged property. Let there be a clear understanding between you and the landlord of what is there and the condition it is in.
- Report problems immediately. Don’t hesitate to call the landlord if there is a problem – especially concerning heating, plumbing, or electrical wiring. These things are generally the landlord’s responsibility to fix, and must be done right away.
- When dealing with an agent, ask about their fees. You’ll immediately discover whether the agency is reliable or not. Agencies that are transparent and do not charge high fees can be trustworthy. Agencies that charge ridiculous commissions may not be trustworthy when it comes to deposits. It’s always better to choose an agency with a long standing in the community – a firm that you can trust.
- Set up a financial plan. The worst thing you can do to a landlord or agency is delay payment. Not only is timely payment a sign of good housekeeping – it also gives you the right to demand quick response if ever there is a problem with a tap or anything else.
- Negotiate for a cheaper rent. If the property has been vacant for a number of months or even years, chances are the landlord may be agreeable to a cheaper rent. The prospect of having the property empty for another couple of months tends to make landlords more agreeable.
- Mind your deposit. Make sure you know exactly where your deposit is going, and what the requirements are to get it back once the tenancy is over. The deposit is still legally yours, unless the landlord can prove that it is needed to cover any damage you have left.
- Read the contract carefully. The contract may mention issues that have never been discussed before. Do not be afraid to negotiate, and have the contract adjusted if necessary.
Renting for the first time can be exciting, but lack of experience can make the ordeal stressful. Choose your rental property wisely. For more information about renting a flat, especially in regards to flats to rent in Chelmsford and other thriving areas, consult with an expert agent from Beresfords Group today.