Lets face it, at some point in our lives almost all of us have had to rent a home, so we know just how horrifying an experience it can be when things go wrong. There seems to be advise galore for first time buyers, families climbing the property ladder and pensioners trying to hang onto their home, but it is rare for renters to get any help.
If you choose the right property, agent and landlord - your experience may be one of joy, but choose the wrong place and your tenancy could be 6 months or more of pain and misery. So its all about making the right choices... have a look below for some tips that will hopefully make sure you're next renting experience is more hospitable than horrible.
Do your research:
It is a good idea to spend as much time as you can investigating the area you are intending to move to. Make sure that it is an area you want to move to. If you have kids, are there good local schools? Are the transport links suitable for your needs? Do you feel comfortable with the general 'feel' of the area? The best way is to have a good wander around on foot.
Use the whole rental market:
It is important not to just use the High Street estate agents. Although they do have a wide range of properties available, you can also try property management agencies and private landlords to see that you are not going to be paying too much for your place. Try using Gumtree.com as well.
Take your time viewing properties:
Viewings - What a pain in the you know what! Yes this is undoubtedly one of the most labour intensive part of the whole process and you will just have to steel yourself until it is over. There will be many places that you visit and don't like and you will probably waste many minutes trudging round after the agent nodding and smiling and saying 'oh yes that's nice' while knowing all the while that there is no way that you will ever live in this place! but eventually you'll come across somewhere that you do like and it is important that you don't just give it a once over - really check the place out carefully. Is there central heating, a washing machine and fridge freezer. Is the shower ok? Are the windows in good condition? It is best to make a checklist for yourself so that you don't miss anything in the rush.
Set up direct debits or payments:
Make sure that you are not one of those tenants who regularly does not pay on time or you will probably find that you will have trouble getting help when you need a new oven or your boiler stops working. So, be in control of your finances.
Do a full inventory:
If you skip through the inventory and move in as soon as you can, you are leaving yourself open to losing cash from you deposit later on. Take your time to go through everything as carefully as possible and remember that it is not just the contents that need checking, make a note of whether the carpet and soft furnishing have been steam cleaned or not and their condition. Sometime in the first few days make sure to identify any problems and report them to the landlord or agent - it is best if you email this over as you will have a record of it should things go wrong later down the line.
If you happen to move into a furnished place but you have some furniture of your own you will need to arrange to have the landlord's stuff stored for the duration of your tenancy. If this is the case you will need to look carefully for a storage company with competitive prices. There are hundreds of storage facilities around but try Henfield Self Storage who offer storage in London at fantastic prices with great customer service. They have branches both North and South of the river and are well worth a look.
Be in contact with your landlord or Agent:
Landlords are not mind readers. They are not going to know what problems you are encountering if you don't inform them. If the washing machine or fridge breaks down, tell them straight away - you get the idea. It is important that you don't feel shy or awkward about contacting the landlord if you have any issues, having them fixed at no cost to yourself is one of the main privileges of being a tenant. Also the landlord will probably appreciate being kept informed of how things are going with the property as it is their investment you are living in after all.