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The Property Scene Renting Guide

Our Top Tips

Nowadays it seems we are becoming an agent of renters - it is usually cheaper than owning your own home and bills are more predictable too, which is great news for those who prefer stable finances. 

When looking to rent a property, our advice is to choose one that suits your lifestyle, think about whether you would like furnished accommodation or maybe just part-furnished? 

There can be a level of frustration finding the right property to rent as properties can rent quickly, especially the good ones.

You could even qualify for a council or Housing Association property if you have sufficient points, are on the waiting list or have a specific need. Unfortunately, it can still be difficult to find good property to rent using these methods; so that is where Property Scene can help.

After finding a property you think you would like, contact the estate agent who can arrange a viewing of the property.

It is worth noting that you should start viewing in good time as a lot of property to rent won't be available to move in to for at least four weeks.

You should also have ready;

  • A cash reservation fee
  • References
  • Bank details
  • ID
  • Addresses for last three years
  • Guarantor (if needed)

You will need to sign a tenancy application form allowing the agent to check references and run a credit check. The reference check will usually cost you and be non-refundable.

Once you have passes your references, you may be asked to pay a reservation fee or holding deposit. 

In most cases, you'll be asked to pay a deposit. Get a receipt for it and carry out checks to make sure you are fully satisfied that your deposit is protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme.

The deposit will usually be equal to around four to seven weeks' rent. You pay it to the landlord or agent and they can keep some or all of it if you cause damage to the property (beyond fair wear and tear)

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy in England and Wales, which started on or after 6th April 2007 where a deposit was taken, that deposit must be protected in one of the government approved Tenancy Deposit Protection Schemes (TDP).

The deposit is administered by the scheme throughout the tenancy and will be returned in full shortly after the end of the tenancy, providing the property is returned in the same condition as you found it at the start of the tenancy. Usually, no interest is paid on the deposit.

If, at the end of the tenancy you feel that your deposit has been withheld unfairly, the organiser of the TDS can step in and sort out disputes with your landlord.

All places built after June 1992 and all HMOS must have mains wired smoke detectors on each floor and licensable HMOS must have a full electric inspection done every five years.

Before you sign the tenancy agreements, you should:

  • Make sure you have visited the property and met the letting agent/landlord
  • Before you hand over any money to anyone make sure you have carried out due diligence to protect yourself against fraud
  • Carry out checks to make sure you are fully satisfied that your deposit is protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme
  • Make sure you have seen the gas safety certificate and instructions for all electrical items
  • Be satisfied that all the furniture is safe
  • Have keys for all exit doors
  • Check the inventory carefully and note anything that has been missed or is incorrect - please re-read our section on 'Deposits and Inventories' carefully.

Other things to do are;

  • Read your meters on moving in day
  • Redirect post 
  • Prepare a standard letter to notify utility providers, banks and anyone else who needs to know what your new address 
  • Take out contents insurance to protect your possessions
  • Set up your standing order to pay rent so it's in the agent's or landlord's account on time.