Renting your property for the first time

The search for your first home should be an exciting adventure but can also prove to be stressful. It is all too easy to become intimidated by the process or to lose the perfect property because you aren’t adequately prepared.

If you are looking to rent in Wimbledon, you will have an impressive array of potential homes to choose from. There’s something to suit all tastes.

Here’s our rental tips for tenants to help you secure the right home for you.

Take your time

It takes time and money to secure the perfect rental property. Before beginning your search, assess your finances, assemble the documents that you will need and decide how long you want the tenancy for. Establish the location and attributes you are looking for in your new home, and don’t be tempted to make rushed decisions.

Be financially prepared

You should only consider properties which you can comfortably afford. In addition to your rent you will have to pay council tax and utility bills. Remember that you will have to pay at least one month’s rent in advance together with a security deposit, and there will be fees to pay up front. These could include the charges for a credit check, references, setting up the tenancy agreement, and protecting your deposit.

There is little point trying to rent a home until you have saved enough to cover the costs you will incur in advance of moving in as you will inevitably fall at the first hurdle.

Assemble the documents you need to provide

Your prospective landlord or letting agent will assess your suitability for renting the property. They will request references from your employer and possibly also personal references. You will have to provide your bank details, plus the details of your employment and salary. As a new renter, you may also require a guarantor.

Rather than rushing to assemble this information when asked for it, get everything together before searching for your home. You will give a better impression if you appear organised and well-informed.

Searching for your home

Evolve the criteria for your search. Do you need a parking space, or should your home be close to a bus stop or train station? How many bedrooms do you need, is access to a garden important to you, and would a furnished or unfurnished property best suit your needs? What can you afford to pay including bills, and would you be happy to share a kitchen or bathroom?

Make a short list and view any properties you are interested in. It is impossible to properly assess a property without viewing it. When you visit properties, think carefully about their potential benefits and shortcomings, and ask questions. Here are the important questions to ask:

  • How much is the monthly rent?
  • What is included in the rent?
  • What additional bills will I be responsible for and how much are they likely to be?
  • What is the deposit and where will it be protected?
  • What fees must be paid to set up the tenancy?
  • Are there fees if you renew the tenancy in the future?
  • How long is the contract?
  • What notice period is required?
  • Who should be contacted in the case of an emergency?
  • What insurance does the landlord have and what do I need to arrange?

Securing the property

Read your tenancy agreement carefully and seek advice before you sign it, particularly if you have concerns or if there are any clauses that you do not understand.

Agree an inventory with your landlord and protect yourself by taking photos, as these will help you if there is ever a dispute about the condition of the property when you moved in. Keep a copy of the inventory.

Take meter readings as soon as you move in.

Get the contact details for the landlord.

Check that you have all the documents your landlord is required to provide:

  • A copy of the ‘How to rent’ guide
  • A gas safety certificate
  • Deposit paperwork (your landlord is required to protect your deposit in a government-approved scheme)
  • The Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
  • A record of any electrical inspections.

Your responsibilities as a tenant

Your primary responsibility will be to pay the rent on time. You should also keep the property clean and take good care of the fixtures, fittings and appliances. Never attempt any repairs or decorating without contacting your landlord or agent for permission and guidance.

Always report any issues no matter how minor, as small problems could develop into bigger ones. Failure to mention any problems from the outset could threaten your deposit. Be considerate to your neighbours and build a good relationship with your landlord.

Your landlord’s responsibility to you

Your landlord or agent has the following responsibilities to you:

  • To maintain the structure and exterior of the property
  • To insure the building
  • To install smoke alarms on every floor
  • To fit carbon monoxide alarms in rooms using solid fuels
  • To address problems related to the water, electricity and gas supply
  • To maintain appliances and furniture which belongs to them
  • Carry out most repairs at the property
  • Arrange an annual gas safety check
  • Give a minimum of 24-hours-notice of visits to perform repairs or maintenance
  • Get a licence for the property, if one is required.

There’s a lot to think about when you are searching for your first rental property. However, if you plan ahead, budget wisely, think carefully about what you really want and ask the right questions, you will find the perfect home.

If you’re looking for a property to rent in Wimbledon or the surrounding areas, get in touch today.

About the author

Nicolas Holmes

Nick joined Robert Holmes to inject fresh ideas and help grow the New Homes department of Robert Holmes as well as helping to inject technology into the business and to grow its client base. Together with one of the Directors Nick is in charge of all Development opportunities that Robert Holmes deals with along with sales. Aged 40, he provides succession together with the two existing directors. Nick has always been focused on building client relationships and sales. He built up his own gallery in Chelsea, where he had a loyal following of customers and artists.

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