Not everyone wants to buy property. Depending on circumstances too, sometimes it makes more sense to rent a property rather than buy. Darlows estate and letting agents provide an excellent service if your are looking for properties to rent in South Wales.
For those unsure of the renting process, we have put together and short and simple guide to help you through each step.
Step one - setting out your requirements
It is vital before you start searching to note down everything you need to consider in looking for a property. Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- What budget do you have? Don't forget to think of bills like utilities and council tax, and not just rent.
- Number of bedrooms?
- Size of bedrooms?
- Would you like a property with a garden?
- Do you need some sort of parking - off road perhaps?
- Do you need to be near any transport links, schools or amenities?
- Do you have pets and therefore will need to look for a property where the landlord accepts pets?
Setting out exactly what you are after will help your narrow down a search so you only look at properties that suit your requirements.
Step two - searching for properties to rent
Using some of the latest techniques, Darlows estate and letting agents provide a simply brilliant facility for searching for properties to rent in South Wales. You can:
- Search for properties within a set radius of things you need to be near such as schools, transport links and amenities;
- Search by property type, budget and number of bedrooms;
- Search by postcode, town or road name.
You can then prioritise these results to only include properties with the features you want such as conservatories, en-suites, period property as well as selecting only furnished or unfurnished available. You can also enter your own keywords to find the properties that match exactly what you need. You can also look at these results on a map view,
Carry out a property search today.
It is also useful to register with lettings agents and outline your list of requirements with them so that they can contact you as soon as a property that may suit you becomes available.
Step three - Viewings
At Darlows, we have noticed the properties that become available to rent can move pretty quickly. So once you have found a property you wish to view, it is highly advisable that you arrange to view it as soon as possible. Here are a few things to bear in mind when viewing:
- When making your way to the viewing and arriving, look around the outside of the property – get a feel for that road and area at that time of day;
- Look at the exterior of the property – has it been well maintained?
- Once inside the property, again look closely at the maintenance of it;
- How is the property heated and how well insulated does it look as this will affect your heating bills;
- What electrical equipment will you bring with you? Are there adequate sockets?
- If you are looking at a furnished property, it is useful to see what furniture will be in the property when you move in;
- Take a look at the locks for doors and windows – how secure is the property?
- For flats or for properties where there is sharing of communal areas or gardens, it is important to ask how often the communal areas are cleaned and the grounds maintained;
- Talking to the existing tenants will help you establish what it is like to live there and what the landlord is like;
- Go to see the property at different times of day to see what the surrounding area is like - does it get very busy at certain times of day? Will this be a problem?
Step four - Choosing the property that is right
Once you have found a property you are interested in renting, you need to contact the agent to express your interest. There are a few things that are helpful to know and therefore you should ask the agent:
- The deposit – check how much the deposit is, when it will need to be paid by. Sometimes one month’s rent in advance is also required.
- Bills – what is included in the rent? Maintenance charges? Ground keeping charges? Cleaning of communal areas? Make sure these all fit into your budget.
- When is the rent reviewed? How will you be notified of any changes and how far in advance of any changes made will you be contacted?
- Do you need a guarantor and if so, who do they accept as a guarantor?
- Will the tenancy be fixed term and if so, how long will this be? What happens when the fixed term has ended?
- Do you need contents insurance and when should this start from?
There are also a few things that are helpful to have ready in advance:
- Funds for a deposit, reference checks and first month’s rent;
- Copies of references from your employer and previous landlords. You will also need to have your bank details, identification and your full address for the last three years ready as the lettings agent will need this for reference checks;
- A guarantor.
Getting these ready in advance will avoid any delays and will put you in a favourable position if there are other parties interested in the same property. Once you are ready, it is time to sort the tenancy agreement with the agent and landlord.
Step five - the tenancy agreement
A tenancy agreement is very detailed and lists your responsibilities as a tenant. As a bare minimum, it should contain:
- Full names of the landlord(s) and tenant(s);
- Full address of the property;
- Deposit amount and how it is protected;
- How much the rent is and how it should be paid;
- Information on how and when the rent will be reviewed;
- Address of the landlord(s) or agent who will be looking after the property;
- Start and end date of the tenancy.
Other items that may be within the tenancy agreement:
- The bills the tenant is responsible for;
- How and when the deposit may be fully or partly withheld;
- If the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done;
- Who is responsible for repairs;
- Whether pets are permitted and the rules around this;
- Whether smoking is permitted;
- Whether the property can be let to anyone else (sublet) or if lodgers are allowed.
Before signing the tenancy agreement, you should:
- Make sure you have visited the property enough times that you are sure you want to proceed;
- Make sure your deposit is protected by a Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme;
- Ensure you have gone over you budget so that you are satisfied you can afford the rent, any bills and still have enough funds for food and other living costs;
- Check you understand all instructions for electrical items, heating etc;
- Make sure you see an up to date, valid gas safety certificate;
- Ensure inventory is all agreed – that you have all items within the property as set out. It is also worthwhile checking the state of these items and photographing anything already showing signs of damage or wear. It can be helpful for both yourself and the landlord/agency have copies of these.
Step six - Moving
Whether using a removals firm or doing it yourself, moving can be pretty stressful! However, we have some tips to help make it as stress-free as possible:
- Allow yourself plenty of time to get packed and ready to move! Start collecting boxes in advance and packaging material such as bubble wrap to protect your more fragile items;
- Start packing away items you do not use regularly in advance so there is less to do in the last few days;
- Pick a day(s) best suited to you. Do not stress yourself further by picking a day that you know is the busiest for you;
- Have a standard letter or email prepared so that you can notify utility companies, bank, doctors, places of work, DVLA etc that you are moving;
- Make sure you have sorted utility companies for your new property and ensure you take meter readings on your moving in day;
- You will also need to notify utility companies regarding the property you are moving out of and supply them with final meter
- Set up a postal re-direct, and try to do this as much in advance is possible;
- Notify the company you have purchased contents insurance with that you are now moving in and need cover to start.
Don't forget you will need to take out insurance - take a look at our Insurance guide for tenants.
Also take a look at our Moving Guides to help you with all the things you need to remember when moving.