What to Keep in Mind when Looking for a Home to Rent in the UK
- Ensure you know what you need/want before you start
Questions you may like to ask yourself include: What location are you interested in? How long are you prepared to travel to work/school/other amenities? What are the transport links/roads like at that location? What are the facilities nearby like (e.g. schools, supermarkets, parks, shops)? How long would you like to live there? What type of property would you like - a flat or house? What style of property do you like – modern or period? Do you need a furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished property? How many bedrooms/bathrooms/reception rooms do you need? Would you like a garden and, if so, what sort of size? Is parking likely to be difficult and, if so, do you need a garage? Are you willing to share any facilities with other residents? How concerned about security are you? What appliances and furnishings will you need to be included? What additional facilities do you require (e.g. Sky/Cable television, broadband internet)?
- Start with desk research
The quickest place to start researching rental properties is the internet. Websites for researching property rentals include http://www.rightmove.co.uk, http://www.zoopla.co.uk/, http://www.primelocation.com/, http://www.propertywide.co.uk/, http://www.propertylive.co.uk and http://www.rentright.co.uk/.
- Remember that lettings agents are operating in the interests of the landlords (not you!), so you will need to ensure that your own interests are met.
It is worth checking upfront that any agent you intend to deal with is a member of a professional body (e.g. National Federation of Property Professionals, Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors), as, to be a member, they must adhere to a recognised code of practice.
The National Federation of Property Professionals (NFoPP) is the umbrella name for professional membership to The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA), the Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA), the Institution of Commercial Business Agents (ICBA) and the National Association of Valuers & Auctioneers (NAVA). You can check at these websites for names of agents that are members in the area you are looking at. Additionally, the website PropertyLive.co.uk only lists properties for sale and homes to rent from regulated estate agents belonging to the NAEA, ARLA, ICBA or NAVA.
- When you begin to view properties, make a note of their key attributes, so you can compare them more easily.
A free aide memoire can be found under the ‘useful tools’ heading at The Relocation Consultancy website, which may help you with this.
- Find out the living costs for each property
How much is the deposit and when is the rent reviewed? What bills (if any) are included in the rent? Are there any charges for the cleaning of communal areas etc? Will there be a fixed term in the tenancy and, if so, for how long? How much should you expect to pay for the council tax/gas/electricity/water/etc. at the property? Will you be able to change utility providers?
Other costs to consider include telephone, broadband, Sky/Cable, TV licence, contents insurance, food, entertainment, clothes and travelling costs to work/school.
What to Keep in Mind when Looking for a Home to Rent in the UK. Article contributed by: Marie Darlow, Marketing Director, The Relocation Consutancy