The Tenants Guide to Finding & Securing Rental Property
If you're a tenant trying to find a new home it can be a highly emotional and time-consuming challenge that can test your patience and call into question what you really want.
To get you started, here’s our quick guide for tenants looking for their perfect property to rent...
Be prepared to be flexible
On your search for a property to rent, you ‘may’ get lucky but it’s better to start out in the full knowledge and expectation that your perfect property probably isn’t available to rent. Knowing this will save you a lot of time and energy!
Know what you really can’t do without
Be prepared to compromise on some criteria in favour of those things you really can't do without. For example, if parking is a 'must-have' then don't compromise and only see properties that have parking. But be prepared to compromise on price or location as a consequence.
If the first property fits your criteria, take it!
Just because it’s the first property you’ve seen doesn’t mean it’s not the best you will see. Lots of prospective tenants miss out on the property they want because it was the first they saw, and they thought that they should take a little longer and 'shop around'.
Have your questions ready
Have a pre-prepared list of questions to ask the negotiator who shows you the flat. Typical questions are:
- What is the council tax band?
- What is the EPC rating?
- How much is the deposit?
- Who manages the property?
Do research on prospective areas
If you are new to Bristol do a research trip first to get an idea of which areas suit your criteria. Make a weekend of it and get to know our fantastic city. Have fun. Once you have a better idea, then look at Zoopla and Rightmove to compare properties, rents and criteria.
If you email letting agents asking for a 2-bed flat in Clifton Village with private parking and a private garden for under £500 per month with bills included, you probably won't get a reply! Ask for something realistic and your agent will be able to help.
Take a camera on your viewing
If you see a lot of properties you can easily forget details of what you have seen. So pictures or even a video are a great aide memoire.
Don’t look too early
Most tenants give a month’s notice, so contacting an agent in June when you want to move into a property in December is unlikely to get a positive response.
Know what date you need the property
Many tenants see a property, love it, and then say, “We haven’t given notice yet”. That does not put you at the front of the queue when the agent is putting prospective tenants forward to the landlord.
Factor in pre-moving costs
In addition to advanced rent you will need a deposit, removal firm/van hire, and contents insurance, among other things. Also remember you are unlikely to get back your deposit from your old property on the day you leave, so be prepared to provide a second deposit for a short period of time.
Don’t pay any agency fees
As of 1st June 2019 tenant fees chargeable by lettings agents are banned. In the unlikely event that a lettings agent tries to illegally charge you a fee, refuse to pay it and talk to a reputable lettings agent like Accommodation Unlimited.
Do your homework and when it comes to getting a property to rent be prepared to compromise!