We’re right in the middle of property’s busiest season. This is the time of year when it seems as though the world and his wife are moving, selling or renting. While we love to be kept on our toes, and certainly aren’t shy of a bit of hard work, we always want to make sure we make time for our wonderful clients.
During the summer, we meet a lot of first time renters, both excited and nervous when it comes to the thought of living in a new property for the first time – luckily for you lot, we came up with some top tips and what to expect as a tenant newbie. But they’re not our only visitors - we also come across graduates moving out of student digs and into swish city centre apartments, and those tenants who just fancy a good ol’ change of scenery.
No matter what your motivation is for moving, we thought we’d help you guys out on some of the important tenant stuff that, to put it simply, you NEED to know:
1. Deposit Protection
This should be number one on every tenants list. While it’s the law for landlords and letting agents to put your deposit into a protected scheme, it’s so important that you are aware of what you need to do, as this will make it easier to obtain your deposit at the end of your tenancy. Once you’ve handed over your funds, ensure your landlord or agent provides you with a certificate. Keep hold of this in a safe place and you’ll be good to go with minimal fuss once the time comes to move out – it’s as easy as that.
2. Check your inventory
For those of you who might not have had the pleasure of nosey-ing through an inventory, it’s a document you will receive once moving in to a property. This handy little document comes complete with pictures and details of items within the home and the condition they’re in. Go through everything with a fine-tooth comb and flag anything that doesn’t quite look right. You’ll need to do this within 7 days to make your claims valid so there’s no time for dilly dally-ing.
3. Paying on time
An easy enough task you would think, but there’s always the risk of someone letting the side down. We’ve all been there when you’ve underestimated your funds (aka accidentally splurged on that new top/game/lipstick you couldn’t live without). But did you know paying rent on time can boost your credit score? It may not sound glamorous but this can be useful when you apply for things like credit cards and bank accounts - so it’s actually just as beneficial for you to pay your rent on time as it is for the landlord.
4. Get clued up
Each property is different. As is every tenant and every landlord. You may have previously lived in a property that allowed you to have pets and paint the walls lime green but this won’t be the case with every rented property you move into. It’s your responsibility as a tenant to check your contract and know exactly what’s what, so be sure to do your homework on this one.
5. Bills, bills, bills
If you’ve already rented before then this might not be anything new, but if you’re renting privately for the first time, sorting bills out yourself can be a be a lot to take in, especially if you’re coming straight out of the comfort of uni where bills are usually included in your rent price.
Remember you can also use these as an opportunity to save money – take meter readings the minute you move in (unless you fancy paying for someone else’s electricity…) and do some research on whether you’re able to switch energy and water suppliers. It may be dull but it’s all part of growing up and earning those all-important life skills!
6. Ask questions
If you’re a first-time tenant, it’s understandable that everything can be overwhelming and well… just a little bit scary. Although you may want to come across as all-knowledgeable, there is nothing wrong with asking questions about anything you are unsure of – it’s what agents like Ascend are here for! Any good landlord or agent will be more than happy to answer your queries as it helps create a good line of communication from the get-go. Even a property Einstein has to start somewhere, right?
7. Need to report a problem?
If you’re looking to rent long-term, like it or not something’s going to go wrong, Whether it’s a property issue or a broken appliance, you need to know who sorts what. If you need to refresh your memory, we’ve got you covered in our tenant problems posts here and here.
Lucky for you tenants, if there is a problem that you need help with then we’re always here at your beck and call. We’ve made it even easier for our tenants to report problems by creating an online portal, so you can report issues in an instant, meaning you don’t have to hang around to get that leaky tap fixed!
8. Look before you leap
Moving property is one thing but moving to a whole new city, well that is a pretty big step in our book. Exciting as it may be, we would always recommend all tenants get to know a new area before fully committing to renting in a new city. Get to know your local travel links, nearest shops and supermarkets (and the nearest pub of course!) to familiarise yourself with your new surroundings. As residents of both Liverpool and Manchester ourselves, our A-Team consider themselves locals so we’re always happy to answer any questions you might have too.
9. Learn to budget
While renting certainly doesn’t rack up the same sort of costs as buying your first home does, there will still be fees to take into account and other factors you may need to budget for. We all love a good splurge every once in a while but your home will last much longer than a few cocktails or a new TV. Be sure to weigh up your outgoings and just watch the pennies every now and again it’ll be a doddle – if you’re anything like us, then chances are you’ll love your new home so much you’ll be too busy admiring your new abode to go out anyway!
10. Love your pad!
Keeping your home in tip-top condition is a really important part of being a tenant. A few unwashed dishes from time-to-time is no biggie but anywhere you choose to live should be treated with respect, regardless of whether you’re owning or renting. We’re firm believers that your home is your castle and a mucky pad just doesn’t cut it. To give off that wow factor, take time and care not to damage walls, clean and tidy up regularly and you’ll thank yourself later on down the line.
Looking for your next property? Look no further. We’re here to help guide you through your property journey, no matter what your needs. Check out our contact page on how you can get in touch with our A-Team.