At ONE Estates, we understand that the decision to rent a home is a big decision that should not be taken lightly. If you are a landlord, we have a great range of Buy-To-Let (BTL) mortgages. If you are a prospective tenant, we have all the cover that you will need when it comes to insuring your possessions.

We also have an enviable range of properties available for rent in the region; you can find details of them here.

We have used our expertise in the rental market to put together this guide to help you on your way.

1. Choosing your rental property

The rental market tends to move a lot more quickly than the selling market, so being prepared and pro-active is key. Get to know the areas that you are looking to rent in before making a decision, so that you can be ready to visit a property when it comes onto the market. As most properties will be largely unfurnished, you will need to provide essentials such as beds, washing machines and furniture.

2. Using an intermediary

It is increasingly common for landlords to use letting agencies to manage the letting process. Their role is as follows:

  • Get the best return for the landlord, in the shortest amount of time
  • Vet the prospective tenants in order to reduce risk of damage to the property
  • Manage contracts and bonds
  • Liaise with you as a tenant during the course of the tenancy for any issues around maintenance or concerns
  • Carry out inspections during the course of a tenancy

3. Agreeing a contract

There are certain things that will make you more attractive to landlords, so it is useful to be prepared if you have set your heart on a property.

If the market is demand led, i.e. properties are being let out soon after going on the market, then a landlord is more likely to want a minimum 12 month contract. The longer you are prepared to stay, the more likely it is you will succeed in getting your rental.

Landlords will tend to prefer non-smokers who do not have pets, as both of these factors could lead to damage to the property.

Finally, be prepared for background checks to take place on your income. Landlord’s will want to know that you can afford the property for the contract term.

It may sound obvious, but ensure that you have checked the fine detail of the contract, especially around fixtures and fittings. Also make sure you agree with the assessment of the property condition inside and out; this assessment will be carried out by the landlord or their agent and shared with you. Failure to do so may jeopardise you having your bond returned at the end of the contract.

4. Upfront payments: paying your bond and rent

You should expect to pay a bond prior to moving into your new rental property. The value of this bond will differ from house to house, but you should budget for at least one month’s rent. On top of this, you will be expected to pay your first month’s rent in advance. So, make sure that you have this cash available, or risk losing your property.

Your landlord or their agent will place your bond in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. This is to ensure that your bond will be secure for the duration of your tenancy.

5. Safety

Your landlord is required by law to ensure the safety of the premises for the term of your tenancy. This falls into three main areas:

Gas: By law, your gas equipment will have been installed by a Gas Safe engineer. In addition, your landlord has to carry out annual safety checks on all appliances, and ensure that you have a Gas Safe check record within the first 28 days of your tenancy.

Electricity: Your landlord is obliged to ensure that the electrical system is safe and has been checked by a certified engineer. Your landlord must also ensure that any electrical appliances are also safe.

Fire: Your landlord is responsible for the safety of your accommodation for the period of your stay. This includes ensuring that there are working fire and carbon monoxide detectors on all floors of the property, and that escape routes are fit for purpose.

6. Bills and maintenance

You are responsible for your bills during your stay. These include water, electricity, gas, broadband and phone, TV licence and council tax. This means making sure you take readings on the first and last day of your tenancy.

Whilst your landlord is responsible for building insurance, you will also want to consider insuring your property in case of damage or theft. ONE Estates have access to a full range of protection cover, including contents insurance, which you can talk to us about at anytime.

Your landlord, or more typically their agent, are responsible for any maintenance that might be needed during your stay. This covers anything to do with plumbing and drainage, boiler repairs and service, as well as gas and electricity safety checks. You are responsible for smaller repairs such as batteries, light bulbs and fuses.

7. Know your rights

The rental landscape is in a constant state of change. Typically, tenants are better supported by legislation than ever. However, it pays to know your rights should anything go awry during the course of your tenancy. There is a multitude of great advice available on the internet, including on the website. In case of disputes, the Citizen’s Advice Bureau are also on hand to help.

8. The end of your tenancy

You will be expected to vacate the property on the date agreed in the contract. You will be expected to have maintained the look and feel of the property to the exact standard that you found it in on the day you moved in. The landlord or their agent will carry out an inspection on or around the date that you will vacate the property, and will remove the cost of any reparations from your bond before it is returned to you. This includes decoration, cleaning, gardening and repairs.

If you need any further information, please don’t hesitate to contact the office on 0113 487 6666.