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The tenant's guide to renting for the first time

The rental market is thriving with demand from tenants of all ages and demographics, whether you’re a student, a young professional or looking for your own place in a great location, renting out a home is one of the best ways to start finding your feet in the world of independent living.

However, if you’ve never rented a home before, you might be surprised by how much there is to know about and to prepare before move-in day. As such, here are a few handy tips to help you on your way…

Set a realistic budget

Make sure that you’re financially prepared for a rental home before starting your search. It’s important that you have a stable income, no unmanageable debts, and a clear idea of how much rent you can afford. It could be helpful to create a list of all of your monthly outgoings such as insurance, phone bills and weekly food shops so that you can get a good grasp on your affordability. You will need to allow some leeway in your monthly budget for savings, hobbies and any other unexpected expenses that could crop up while you’re paying rent.

Know what you’re looking for

When it comes to finding a home to rent, there is no one-size-fits all, so you’ll need to consider which features are most important to you. Whether it’s garden space you’re looking for, or a pets-included policy, save some time by refining your online searches using key words. You should also make a list of features that you’re willing to compromise on, such as a dishwasher or a spare bedroom, as it could be difficult to find the right home within your budget if you don’t take a flexible approach.

Prepare for the referencing process

Tenant referencing is the process which establishes that you are a suitable tenant. Your landlord or letting agency will need to make sure that you have provided accurate information and that you aren’t likely to cause any problems. The checks include:

  • Right to rent check – By law, this check must be completed to confirm the tenant’s immigration status, and whether they qualify for renting in the UK.
  • Financial checks – These checks look into your income through bank statements as well as references from your current or previous employers. Some landlords will want to make sure that you can afford the monthly rent, and therefore may ask for 3 months’ worth of bank statements.
  • Credit checks – Your landlord or letting agent will need to check the information on your credit report against lenders’ records. This includes any County Court Judgements (CCJs) and any outstanding balances owed.

Delays can be frustrating when you’re ready to get moving, so make sure to have most of the necessary documents and details at the ready before you start attending viewings, as this will eliminate any last-minute scuffling.

What you will need:

  • A bank account statement
  • Proof of income (E.g., latest payslip)
  • Referees
  • Identification (passport, or driving licence and birth certificate.)

Get your deposit ready

Before you can move into your new home, you will need to put down a refundable deposit to potentially cover damage to the property, or any missed rent payments. Should you leave the property as you found it and paid your rent on time, your deposit will be returned to you in full at the end of the tenancy. It’s better to gradually save up a deposit sum beforehand than pay outright from your monthly wage, as this can be a heavy financial blow on top of the first month’s rent.

Speak to your local letting agent

Once you’ve spotted a property that ticks all of your boxes, make sure to contact the local letting agent on the listing as soon as possible to book a viewing or request more information. A great letting agent will be able to tell you all there is to know about your potential new home and help you get the ball rolling for your exciting move as a first-time renter.

Are you looking for a home to rent? Contact us today

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