5 Things to Be Aware of When Renting
Most people have rented at one point in their life. Whether it was a questionable student house or you simply can't afford to break into the housing market, most of us rent or have rented. But the renting marketplace can be an absolute nightmare so I thought I'd put together a list of things that you should look out for to avoid getting trapped in a place that belongs on Watchdog...
1. Check the fees - can you afford them?
Whenever I find myself on Rightmove, it's so easy to simply assume that because you can afford the monthly rent, you can, therefore, afford the property. But sometimes the fees are so extraordinarily high that it may take a bit of saving just to get the ball moving. Fees are agency-specific so it's worth noting which agencies in your area charge more than others. Also, check the status of the fees - sometimes you can be charged £300+ simply for applying and credit checks with no guarantees. So if the property you're looking at is £600 a month, factor in the fees and you may actually be looking at an upfront payment of £900+++.
2. How long has a property been empty?
Sometimes you may stumble across a gem but it's definitely a red flag when you spot a property that has been empty for a significant amount of time. Why hasn't it been let and why did the previous tenants move out? Worth checking as there could be a bit of a backstory. Look up crime rates for the area and check reviews for the estate agent - there could be a bit more to the story.
3. Whats nearby?
Although I have a car, a big question about renting is nearby amenities. Is there a big supermarket? Is there a gym? If you're not sure, you could always contact Head Office Finder to check and see if any of your preferred supermarkets have a branch nearby. A big thing is transport links - whether it's checking if there is a bus route nearby or parking. These are all worth considering, especially if you're reliant on public transport!
4. Health hazards.
Again, this may be something you're totally aware of but make sure to check for signs like damp, mould etc and make sure that the landlord/letting agent confirms that it will be sorted. If there are already signs like that before you move in, it's likely that they may not be an immediate priority to the landlord and as these are health hazards, it's not worth ignoring.
5. Check insurance costs.
This feels like such a Ross moment, but I genuinely don't understand when people rent and don't have contents insurance! Even if this is a cost you may not be able to afford straightaway, contents insurance gives such an insight into the area. The higher the insurance, the more the number of burglaries which is 100% worth checking just in case.
So there you have it - my breakdown as to key things that you'll want to be aware of when renting a house! Keep your eyes peeled and make sure that it isn't too good to be true! Do you rent? Have you ever had any issues?