Interested in renting a home in the UK? If you’re an expat moving here you are so check out these top tips in this guest post…!
The rental market in the UK is good at the moment, meaning there are plenty of houses and flats up for rent. But then, you hear so many horror stories from tenants and landlords alike, about shady rental contracts, conniving landlords and all the other crooks and cowboys that go with it. For the most part, of all of these stories of heartache could have been avoided. Here are some tips for getting it right.
1. Know Your Market
Don’t just sign the first rental contract that is put in front of you, do your homework. Find out how much rental properties are going for in the area. Are you being ripped off or are you getting a good deal? What does the rental price include, such as utilities and furniture, and how much are people in the neighbourhood paying? Asking these kinds of question means that you are armed with information to get you the best deal.
2. Use a Reputable Rental Agent
This is one of the most important tips; agents are the independent voice and vehicle between the landlord and the tenant. By going through a reputable rental agency, you may be paying a little more, as they have to be paid as well, but you will have the peace of mind, for all parties, that there is accountability all round. If you don’t pay your rent, or the landlord doesn’t live up to his side of the bargain, there are serious consequences, and a solid rental agent will not hesitate to rope in the strong arm of the law if need be. Use a good local business directory to find trustworthy letting agents in your area.
3. Understand Your Contract
Rental contracts, whether provided by a rental agency or directly from the landlord, are a legal document. And a legal document is mostly jam-packed with all sorts of legal/rental jargon that makes little sense. So instead of looking like we think it is written in double-Dutch, we sign it. Big mistake; go through every inch of your contract with your agent or a contracts specialist who will be able to explain each and every clause to you, so that it doesn’t come back to bite you hard later.
4. Take Photographs
This is an important one, and a tip an actual real estate agent uses in all of their deals, whether it’s a rental or a property for purchase. The day you move in, before your movers get there, go in with your rental agent and take pictures of everything inside and outside. Take pictures of water features, plumbing, stoves, heating – you name it; take your time to do it. Give your agent a copy, keep a copy, and when you leave, do the same. In the event that there is a discrepancy in refunding the deposit, or something happens that the landlord said was you for your account, whip out the photographs to prove it was there in the first place.
5. Draw up an inventory
A lot of rental properties are let fully-furnished, and even though there may already be an inventory of items listed in the apartment, it is a good idea to do your own as well. Make sure your rental agent is present, two people are better than one after all, and make sure that the agent gets a copy. If there is anything missing right from the beginning, both the owner and the agent will be able to follow it up with the previous tenant immediately. Otherwise when your contract comes to an end, you could be liable for the missing item.
People who rent properties don’t own them but they do have every right to be treated well and fairly. Follow these tips and you should own more peace of mind!
These tips were kindly supplied by Harrison Murray estate agents during a telephone interview with Thomson Local, who have provided this paid for post.
Over to you readers, do you have any extra tips for expats arriving in the UK and planning on renting a home here?