Finding a property
Don’t assume all parts of a city or regional area are the same. Do your research and select the areas you like the look and feel of. What are the main things that are driving your search – is it schools, it is proximity to work, close to family, living in a thriving up and coming area? Speak to your agent about what are your top priorities for finding your ideal home.
Find a local property agent that knows the area you are interested in. Register to be added to their database so you receive up-to-the-minute information on properties as they come on stream.
Make sure you advise the agent of all your requirements, particularly when you will need the property from. If you need to move in urgently and on a specific date, they will do their best to accommodate your requirements. Tell them if you are looking for a property that is fully furnished (or unfurnished) allows kids, pets and if you are a smoker as not all landlords are as accommodating.
Be flexible with your property agent. In popular areas, properties won’t stay around for long so make sure you are available to view the properties as they arise and can move quickly to secure the one that suits all your requirements.
If you require any improvement works to be made at the outset, or add/remove furniture, put in your request as soon as you decide to make an offer. It can be much harder to get these jobs agreed once you have moved in.
Once the tenancy has been agreed, you will need to sign the lease and pay your deposit. Review your lease thoroughly and ensure you are happy with the clauses and requirements. Your property agent is required to hold your deposit in an approved tenancy deposit scheme so ensure you receive all of the details and file it somewhere safe for future reference. The agent will also be required to conduct security checks on behalf of the landlord so make sure you have the details of all your previous rental addresses.
Make sure you are clear about the various fees and charges you will be expected to pay and ask your property agent to provide these along with your lease. You will be expected to pay a security deposit and the first month's rent upfront. There will be other administration fees that you will be liable for, too, like references and drawing up the tenancy agreement.
Within the tenancy agreement you may also find that extra charges will apply if there is an unexpected change of tenant and also at the time the tenancy is renewed. At the end of the tenancy it's common for the outgoing tenant(s) to be charged for the inventory check-out. Check your tenancy agreement to see if these items are covered.
Ensure you have the contact details of your property agent along with contact details for any issues that arise. Look after the property as if it were your own, it is your home for a period of time after all! This will reduce the likelihood of any disputes over damage when the tenancy comes to an end. Insurance cover for your furnishings and personal property are your responsibility and not that of the landlord or your property agent, so make sure you have them in place!
If the property was professionally cleaned when you moved in, then the chances are you will need to arrange for the same to be done when you move out. Whoever is managing the property - be it the property agent or the landlord - they will want to see a receipt for the cleaning.
It goes without saying that you should leave the property in tip top condition and remove all your belongings, otherwise you risk losing part, or all, of your deposit.