It is important you budget correctly when you are deciding on the location and property type you are looking to rent. You should also note that you will generally be expected to provide a security deposit equivalent to six weeks rent. This means that in a typical tenancy your initial rent and deposit payment will total around two and a half months rent.
Offering to pay the rent for more lengthy periods in advance, for example six months or a year, will be more attractive to landlords and may allow you to secure a better deal with a landlord from the outset. It could also be the deciding factor if you have a rival bid from another tenant for the same property.
Make sure you choose the right home even if it is only going to be for a year or two. Location is often key, so ask yourself are there good links for my work and social life? How many bedrooms do you need? If you have friends or family to stay is it worth paying for a room that is often empty and will a sofa bed in the living area suffice? Who manages the property - the agent or the landlord? Are there any signs that the property is not well maintained, as this could be a sign of things to come! Also we recommend making a visit at night to see if the street/ location changes to the point it could be detrimental to your enjoyment.
The rental market is cyclical and outside of the main season rents are often pressured due to the lack of tenants looking compared to the number of properties available. This is often a good time to lock in a long term deal with the landlord. On a recent survey 74% of landlords said they would prefer to keep a tenant they know rather than go to market for a higher rent, so keep up those payments, keep the place clean and the chances are 7.4 landlords out of every 10 would rather keep you on at a more affordable rent than go to the market and take a chance.
In almost all circumstances a landlord or their agents will require some form of reference from you and by law you must prove that your status allows you to legally reside within the UK. At Hudsons we use the services of a specialist referencing company. This reference will contain an affordability test which will require your annual income to total at least 2.5 times the annual rent (or in the case that you require a Guarantor, three times the annual rent). If you are a student and have no UK based income you will usually be required to pay the rent 6-12 months in advance.
Whilst the most common tenancy term is for 12 months think about how long you might want the property for. It may be to your advantage to offer a longer term and agree a slightly lower rent if the landlord is receptive to such an offer. Also consider whether you may like the ability to break the tenancy at any time after six months, as you may feel that committing to a full year could be difficult due to personal or employment reasons. Remember to read your tenancy agreement very carefully for any terms and conditions that may be unfair or that you cannot honour. Once signed it is a legal document so you must be fully aware of both you and your landlord’s rights and responsibilities.
As much as a landlord may want to know all about you and assess your suitability for their property, make sure you know who you are dealing with and use a reputable agent that has accreditation with a recognized industry body such as The Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA). By law you must be given details of how your deposit monies are to be recorded with a government approved scheme, so ask for details of this before you part with any money. Hudsons are accredited and licensed ARLA Agents as well as a member of The Tenancy Deposit Scheme so you are in safe hands.
For further details and advice please see The Department for Communities and Local Government’s guide.