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How-to-rent-checklist_Header - Essential Living

How to Rent: Checklist for Renters Moving to the UK

Blog Guide to Renting
01.06.18

If you’re moving to the UK for the first time, it might be that the rental process is slightly different to what you’re used to. In the UK, a rental agreement is a formal contract between the tenant and the landlord, and this means that there is a series of processes to be completed before you move into your new apartment.

Before You Begin

Before you start your search for the perfect property, you have to work out what type of space will suit your needs, and you have to calculate your rental budget. Doing this will help you refine your property search. On average, renters in the UK can’t afford to spend more than 35% of their take-home pay on rent, but this depends on other factors that will be personal to you.

Decide which area you would like to live in. Larger cities like London are incredibly diverse, and different places have different atmospheres – it’s all about finding the right location for you. As of early 2016, landlords in the UK have to check if you have the right to rent a property in England, which means that you will be asked to provide some supporting documents to prove this. Arranging these documents beforehand will ensure that the rental process can run smoothly.

Check Who You’re Renting From

Once you’ve narrowed down some properties, take the time to look into who you are renting from. When it comes to the rental process, it will either be handled by a landlord or a letting agent. If you’re renting directly from a landlord, find out more about them – if they are subletting the property, you will need to find out if they have permission to do so from the property owner.

If the rental process is being handled by a letting agent, there will likely be extra fees involved. By law, letting agents have to be transparent about their costs, which will give you a good idea of how much the overall process will set you back.

Questions to Ask Your Potential Landlord

  1. How long is the tenancy for? Rental agreements usually run for fixed periods of 6 or 12 months. If you need a more secure agreement, you can request a longer period of up to 7 years.
  2. Are there any house rules? Find out about any rules that you might have to follow throughout your tenancy. Are children or pets allowed, and will this impact your decision?
  3. Is the property safe? Double-check that the property is safe to live in. Is it fitted with working smoke detectors, and do all of the appliances work properly?
  4. Is the property mortgaged? Find out if the landlord is paying a mortgage on the property, because if they fail to keep up with payments, you may have to leave.

Always Check the Paperwork

When you settle on the right property, double-check that you’ve filled in the appropriate paperwork, and ensure that it all makes sense to you. Keeping printed copies of all paperwork will act as your safety net if anything goes wrong. Make sure you have…

  • A written tenancy agreement that you fully understand
  • An inventory (or check-in report), which will help in settling any disputes that you may have
  • A record of meter readings, so you don’t pay the bills for the previous tenant
  • Up-to-date contact details for your landlord or letting agent
  • A gas-safety certificate
  • An energy-performance certificate
  • Record of your deposit

Transparency Is Key

We believe that transparency between landlord and tenant is the key to a healthy rental experience, and when you’re moving to the UK for the first time, having a sense of security in your agreement make the entire process easier for you.

For stylish apartments and outstanding service, take a look at our London-based locations.

Internal link to Right to Rent blog.

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