A Few Handy Tips For Tenants

Date Published 20 March 2012

Searching for a property can be daunting, stressful, frustrating and time consuming. You're starting a new chapter in your life so it should be fun and exciting. Here's some handy tips so you can prepare yourself and make your search for a property as stress-free as possible....you'll soon be holding the keys to your new home!

**Decide what you want/need

You would think this is an obvious one! You`d be wrong.

A lot of people looking for a new place to live can`t actually decide what facilities/characteristics they want with their new home. It can often help you decide what you're looking for by writing down things you need with a property. For example, must have a balcony, needs an allocated parking space, do I want ground floor or must I have a lift in the building.

After making this list you will probably have a much better understanding of what you're looking for, this will save wasting your time looking around properties that weren`t suitable for you from the start. Don`t forget to ask the landlord or letting agent if the property your enquiring about has all of these feature`s, if not don`t book the viewing.

**Use the Internet as this will give you a good idea of what property is out there and what has been on the market by looking at `under offers` also. It will also give you a good idea of rents in the area.

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**Make sure you have your references ready – you will be asked as any Landlord or Letting Agent will want to take up references so having these ready will enhance your chances

Your financial or employment reference will probably need to show that your income is at least two and a half times the rent. Any previous Letting agent or Landlord's reference will need to say that you've been a good tenant and paid your rent on time and kept the property in a good condition. If you are self-employed you'll need to get your accountant to give you a reference that should state that you're ‘good for the rental amount' proposed. Prepare your referees – the biggest problem agents have is waiting for references so make sure they know to expect a call and to respond rapidly.

**If you are currently renting give notice to your current landlord or agent as being able to move within a month is ideal.

If you can move quickly you will get preferential treatment by Landlords and Letting Agents, if they have to wait two months or even one month you will not be top of their pecking order.

**Make the time to view properties and be flexible about when you can go.

You might find that most people can only view after work hours or at weekends so if you can take some time off during the day it will increase your chances of seeing something before anyone else.

Make a list of the ones you like the most and try and do them all in one day.

**Research the landlord/agent and protect yourself

The property is going to be your home for the foreseeable future so you don't want to get stuck with an unreliable landlord or an unhelpful agent. Some tenants think that choosing a landlord from a free website like Gumtree is great because they're saving on an agency fee but think about it; if a landlord is happy to rent their property to tenants without proper referencing do they care about the property enough to be a responsible landlord? And if they didn't want to pay an agent to find a good tenant, how are they going to feel about replacing that broken washing machine 2 months in?

Using a registered agent protects yourself, you will have an official tenancy agreement, your deposit will be officially registered and you will always have someone to go to for help and advice. A useful website to check out independent reviews on letting agents is allagents.co.uk


**When you see the property that matches your requirements do not hesitate, make an offer for it immediately as you can bet your life if it's a great property there will be someone else who will.

Good properties rent fast! If it's the best you've seen it's likely someone else thinks exactly the same! First to put your money down gets the landlord to focus on you and not someone who has yet to do the same. The thing to be is realistic about price, condition and location and not too pedantic about getting things perfect. If you have a list of reasonable requirements the most suitable property may match at 70% of these.

**Try and offer the longest rental period you can as landlord's hate having their property empty.

You are more than likely to be offered 6 months initially but by making a long term offer the agent or landlord will see you are committed and it will again push you up the pecking order with the letting agent.

**Be prepared to move quickly as landlords and Letting agents want to move people in within days, not weeks.

This is important even if you are not actually going to move into the property on the date you specify. Many tenants manage to get their offer agreed because they can ‘move in' rapidly.

**And one for good luck….Make a Decision !!

So many people procrastinate for too long and end up trawling around too many properties and then decide eventually the one they had seen a few days ago was the best. By then it's too late and has been let.

When you see something you like make a decision and go for it!