The Inside Edge
Moving into your own place is an exciting time for most of us.
Then again, lots of us have heard (or experienced) the horror stories when it comes to renting – mouldy rooms, elusive landlords and broken furniture amongst the common complaints.
So what should you look out for? Recent research into features of a ‘dream home’ found that the most desirable feature is an indoor swimming pool, followed by an en-suite bathroom. Other responses included a cinema room, a sauna and even a moat!
You’re not likely to find many of those things unless you’re willing to spend a lot of money – but there are certain things you should check when searching for the ideal home to rent. Our friends at thinkmoney have put together this list to help you.
This point doesn’t really stand if you’re planning on kitting out your new home all by yourself, but many rental properties come fully or partially furnished. This can really help you keep your costs down, but don’t forget your monthly rent will probably be a bit higher than unfurnished properties.
If you’re looking for a furnished property, check that everything is in good condition. A bit of wear and tear is natural, but if you find things like broken slats on the bed or a sofa that sinks when you sit in it, it’s your landlord’s responsibility to get them fixed.
Heating & windows
If you’ve never lived in your own place, you might underestimate just how cold the winter months can get! Make sure your new property has a good heating system and preferably double-glazed windows, which do a much better job of keeping the heat in.
In general, electric heating systems will cost a lot more than gas, so you might want to steer clear of properties with a little electric heater in each room. Similarly, gas fires use gas a lot more quickly than a good gas boiler with radiators.
This will be less important if you’re happy to wrap up warm and leave the heating switched off – but there’s a lot to be said for the comfort (and lower bills) that a good heating system brings.
No mould & damp
Mould and damp are usually signs of a problem with the building itself – and they could be very bad for your health. Unfortunately it’s a fairly common issue with older properties, but landlords can (and should) get it fixed in most cases.
A friendly landlord
As a tenant, your landlord is your first port of call when something goes wrong – they are legally required to repair or replace anything that came with the property (as long as the problem is not your fault).
So it could pay to make sure you are happy with your landlord before you sign up for anything. There’s no way to be certain, but if you have any doubts about them you may want to keep your options open.
It may be easier if you find your landlord through a lettings agency, as they should only have honest landlords on their books – and will usually contact them on your behalf.
Ground rules that suit you
Most lenders have ground rules for their tenants, whether it’s no smoking, no pets or no decorating. Breaking any of these rules is likely to cost you your deposit, and maybe more – so make sure your new home suits you before you decide to move in.
If you’re planning on buying a puppy, check with your landlord first. And if you’re planning to wall-mount your TV, make sure they don’t mind before you start.