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The Complete Guide & Checklist for Renting Apartment

Renting Apartment

Rental rooms have always been one of the basic requirements while someone makes the plan of changing city, shifting place, while starting a new journey.

If you are from London or have been living here for some time, and you are looking for a flat to rent in London, you will have to consider many factors before moving.

To start a career, when budget constraints almost ring like doorbells, when impulsive traits push you to do something exclusively purposeful, you cannot but opt for rental places. 

For many people, living in a rental property seems more feasible. It saves them from the massive deposits needed to buy a home, continuing maintenance costs, and monthly payments, and allowing them to move much freely when they want to change jobs. To put it simply, if you rent a home, you have more flexibility and freedom. 

To make this task a hassle-free job, we have listed down the complete guide and checklist before you move into a rented apartment.

Flat hunting? You might want to SearchSmartly to save your traveling cost & time. A location where you can commute to a particular address without the need for a drive. There are several factors to consider, and the walkability score is among the first things to look out for. 

Another critical aspect to look out for before renting apartment or a house is the lifestyle’s affordability. Your budget will determine how comfortable you can survive in any state or neighborhood. 

City centers are more expensive compared to the countryside with London leading. Opt for a community where the house rent compares to the average earnings for that area. 

Also, digging up crime statistics should be on your bucket list while house hunting. The safety of you and your family should always come first. Because real estate agents are not allowed to disclose such intimate details by law enforcement, you should take it upon yourself to conduct thorough research and make inquiries on the neighborhood’s crime rates.

Before you start looking at places and find your perfect home, you must set a budget. You should know how much it will cost you to live in that property and area.

One principle you must follow is that your rent should not be more than one-third of your monthly income.

Contemplate the following costs that you will incur when you rent a place. To be on the safer side, you should overestimate these costs. 

Once you are out viewing the properties consider this checklist as a great starting point:

Following that you might want to use some or all of the following questions/tips to help make a better-informed decision:

Questions to ask the current tenant

Checking the condition of the house

Questions for the landlord or agent

The next step to finding the right home is to find the best area. See how well-connected it is to your office, nearby train station, shops, parks, or gym. If you are going to use public transport to work, check how long your daily commute will be and the cost.  

Check the locality and get a feel for the surrounding area. You can ask the current tenants about the neighbors and locality. Your letting agent will also be able to give you information about the locality. 

Try using the following checklist to cover off key questions about the area:

How safe is it? a good way to check this is by checking the crime rate here.

An apartment or house inspection is one of the most important things before moving into a new home. Since most landlords will request a security deposit, this should be one of the first things to look out for. After a thorough inspection, put together a list of all the damaged items and areas. 

Most landlords will provide you with a copy of a checklist for inspection, but you can opt for a pre-printed list just in case they don’t. It is important to note that you might incur charges for damages you did not do when moving out without a signed inspection list.

Below are some of the prime checks:

There are essential interior aspects to check during a move-in inspection. Ensure you examine the place for general room features like floors, cracked plasters, and dirty or worn out carpets. 

Don’t forget to look out for kitchen appliances; spend extra time going through switches, burners, and other fixtures that might pose a threat in the future.

An apartment or house inspection is one of the most important things before moving into a new home. Since most landlords will request a security deposit, this should be one of the first things to look out for. After a thorough inspection, put together a list of all the damaged items and areas. 

Most landlords will provide you with a copy of a checklist for inspection, but you can opt for a pre-printed list just in case they don’t. It is important to note that you might incur charges for damages you did not do when moving out without a signed inspection list.

Below are some of the prime checks:

There are essential interior aspects to check during a move-in inspection. Ensure you examine the place for general room features like floors, cracked plasters, and dirty or worn out carpets. 

Don’t forget to look out for kitchen appliances; spend extra time going through switches, burners, and other fixtures that might pose a threat in the future.

Most property owners issue their tenants a lease that dictates the rules and regulations around pet ownership. Countless rental units across the UK do not allow pets, and if they do, they are accompanied by a lot of rules and regulations depending on the type of breed and size.

If you are a pet owner, you understand that they are also part of the family; hence getting a suitable welcoming home is vital. Avoid signing any lease that is against ownership of pets.  

Always read through the policies and make sure they are pet-friendly before renting apartment. Also, do thorough research on animal-friendly listings and realtors.

You can also put together a pet resume to create a favorable profile for your pet. Include records for vaccination and proof that your pet has undergone proper behavioral training

If you want to avoid the hassle of frequent repairs, always insist on the property’s age. Renting old apartments can be stressful and appalling. Anything from drafty windows and plumbing issues, you will undoubtedly have a hard time getting comfortable. 

While most home buyers and renters usually focus on the price and location, a property’s age is a fundamental aspect to look out for. 

It is necessary to ask for information about the house before handing out a security deposit. Since most old houses and apartments will have old water heaters, get ready for a high cost of utility bills (if they are not included in the rent). Old heaters are not energy saving compared to other modern appliances.

However, it all depends on your preference; if you love an old house’s vintage and charm, you can opt to upgrade the amenities. If you are a retro-rental enthusiast, there are few things to consider before renting a home. Ensure you check the flat for the efficiency of the utilities and appliances. Also, watch out for peeling paint and water damages. This may cost you in the long run.

Agency charges

Letting agents in Northern Ireland might charge you for their services, but upfront fees are banned in Scotland, England, and Wales. While choosing the letting agency, you must ask for details of all costs that you would incur.  

Under the government-approved tenancy deposit protection, your landlord or letting agent must put your deposit in the scheme within 30 days of getting it. This is applicable if you have rented a property on an assured shorthold tenancy. Scotland and Northern Ireland have different TDP schemes. 

This scheme ensures that you receive your deposit back if you:

Professional Inventory

Your letting agent must finish a professional inventory, of the place you want to move in, to document its condition. They must take dated photos of any kind of damage. It should also be given to you in writing. When you have a detailed inventory, you are responsible only for the damage during your stay, which could help you save money and avoid inconvenience. 

Once you have the complete paperwork, you can move into your new rental home. 

Your landlord or letting agent will ask you for identification, before you sign the contract, to check if you have the right to rent in the UK. It is a mandatory practice for landlords. 

The contract

Once the agreement is ready, you must read carefully and understand everything from the beginning to the end. This will contain all the essential information, such as the notice period and length of the agreement. The most common type of tenancy is assured shorthold tenancies (ASTs). 

Check who will be the point of contact and manage the property. 

Be aware of your rights

You must have the following documentation:

These documents will protect you from any kinds of disputes and inconvenience. 

The tips mentioned above should be the most comprehensive list to help you find and decide on the best rental property for you!

Author Bio:  

Taha Dar is a young entrepreneur the founder of SearchSmartly. SearchSmartly is a property matchmaking platform making renting faster and easier for tenants by using our expertise in technology and data science to truly understand each tenant’s unique, personal needs. Our technology matches tenants to the properties and neighborhoods that best fit their needs. This is different from traditional search platforms that take a one-size-fits-all approach, leaving the tenant to perform hours of research to understand the neighborhood around each property, often wasting agents’ time in the process.

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