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How to Secure and Move Into a Rental Home
The process of renting a home can certainly be more straightforward than the home buying process, but that doesn't make it simple. There are many things you need to be aware of, and pitfalls to avoid ensuring your rental home suits you – and your legal rights are protected.
It doesn't matter what stage you're in with life; student, young adult, mid-life or retired – you need to find the right home for you.
As with any home search, location is probably the first thing you consider. Things to look for:
Commute to work
The school run, if you have children
Is public transportation nearby?
Good motorway / main route links
Off-road parking and/or ample street parking during peak hours
Also consider the neighbourhood:
Visit during different times of the day and evening to view what the area is like both during the day and in the evening.
Does it suit your lifestyle? If you yearn for café culture, you may not enjoy a home in a rural or suburban area not within walking distance to the amenities you desire.
Will you and your family fit in? If it is a neighbourhood with mostly retirees or students, will your young family feel comfortable there?
What’s the crime rate like?
Your budget should be set before you start to look for your new home.
Find a figure you’re comfortable with – and stick to it.
Determine if your budget will allow you to have a home in your desired neighbourhood
Figure into your budget the cost of council tax, utilities, contents insurance, etc.
If you’re renting through a letting agency, be sure to budget for their fees, which can include up-front charges for administration fees (up to £165 or more in both Manchester and Birmingham) – advice from Shelter about letting agent fees.
Deposit – it can be up to six weeks of the monthly rent, with extra deposits if you have pets.
Just because you’re not buying the property doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check out the structure and living conditions well. You’ll be living there, and you’ll want to have a happy and cosy home for the time your tenancy lasts.
Make a good impression! You’re being checked out just as much as you’re checking out the flat/apartment/house.
Look for signs of damp. Loose wallpaper, spots on ceilings and walls, condensation on windows, or a general smell of damp. Unless the landlord can show you where he’s taken recent action to correct the damp, you probably won’t want to live there. Damp can destroy your belongings and wreak havoc with your health.
What’s the water pressure like? Can you take a shower with more than a trickle? Does the toilet flush properly? Do the taps work?
Are there other issues, such as leaking taps, damaged walls (indoors or out), worn carpeting? Ask the landlord or letting agent if these will be repaired before you move in – and be sure to get this in writing. If they’re small issues and you can live with them, consider using them as a point to negotiate the rent down.
If you meet the current tenants, ask them what living there is like; likewise for other tenants in the same building if you’re renting a flat or apartment.
Is it furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished? Be sure to find out what exactly comes with the property.
Does it meet fire and safety regulations?
What sort of lock does your main door and the windows have? Most contents insurance policies require at least a five-lever mortice deadlock on your entry doors, and also require all windows to have locks.
Ask about energy efficiency – a poorly insulated home will cost you more to heat.
Find out how much the council tax is.
Ask to see the latest gas safety certificate.
Find out if the gas and electricity meters are prepaid or contract, as this can greatly impact the cost to heat and light your home.
Find out if there is a water meter or a flat rate for water. If there’s a meter, find out the approximate bill for this; if a flat rate, find out how much this is per month or year.
If the landlord requires a guarantor, have one lined up before you commit to anything, otherwise you could be out of pocket for any fees you pay up front if the guarantor you had in mind refuses.
Make sure you have your previous landlord and current employer references ready to be given.
If you pay cash for anything, make sure you have a written receipt.
Find out the name of the tenancy deposit scheme your landlord will be using.
Find out how long the tenancy is, and what the policy on renewing tenancies is. Some landlords start with an assured shorthold tenancy, and move to a periodic when that expires. More information on tenancies from gov.uk
Prepare to move
Once you’ve found a property and secured your new home, you need to prepare for moving. Some things to consider and do:
If you’re currently renting, does your lease require you to have a professional cleaner at the end of your tenancy? Arrange this and be sure to get a receipt that you can show your landlord or letting agent.
Clear out as much as you can before moving day, but if you’re in a furnished or part-furnished home, be sure not to dispose of your landlord’s possessions.
Arrange for school places, if required, for your children.
Arrange for contents insurance for your new home, ensuring you’re continually covered during the moving process.
Shop around for an energy supplier for your new home.
Arrange for your post to be redirected.
Notify your bank, credit card and loan companies, doctor, dentist, DVLA, and the council of your move and provide them with your new address.
Book your removal company – keep in mind that during peak seasons and on peak days, slots may fill early so it is best to be as flexible as possible.
The removal men were FANTASTIC! I cannot recommend them enough! How can you improve perfection?
Written by: Robert Dawson
Date published: 24/05/2017
10 / 10 stars
The best removals experience of all the companies we have used
We have moved home a number of times over the past ten years and this was the best removals experience of all the companies we have used.[We chose Britannia Bradshaw because of a] personal recommendation, excellent internet-based customer reviews, the helpfulness of Diane, who came to quote, and on the competitiveness of the price.
Mike and Martin were extremely professional. They worked very hard over both days to ensure that all the packing, loading and moving went smoothly, whilst consistently taking a "can-do" attitude. They were very polite, took excellent care of our belongings, and not a single element of the job appeared to be too much trouble. Absolutely brilliant.
Written by: Stephen Rwathore
Date published: 07/04/2017
9.7 / 10 stars
The move was everything that was promised
Why don't you have an eleven rating [the removal men] would rate it
We needed a full service so looked for a larger company who could supply this and had seen your vehicles around so gave you a chance, after your home visit I was fully confident that you would deliver what we needed and looked no further. The move was everything that was promised and after the delayed move date we were glad that we took up the insurance option, when the delay happened your office staff were on the ball and kept us informed without promising something that might be delivered but managed to deliver anyhow. My wife was left to handle the day due to work commitment and she felt confident with all the lads.
Written by: Kevin Smethurst
Date published: 13/04/2017
9.8 / 10 stars
Considerate, friendly & helpful
From our experience I don't think there is need for improvement. The removal crew was brilliant, they were very considerate of what we needed to do and they were very friendly and helpful. They did everything we asked in a timely fashion and given the complexity of what we needed to do e.g. moving contents from two separate sites they were very efficient. Just to thank the crew for their help and for making what could have been a very stressful experience less so. Thanks a million.
Written by: Henry Rogers
Date published: 10/04/2017
10 / 10 stars
Absolutely brilliant- they made a potentially stressful experience go extremely smoothly- thank you so much
Written by: Clare Powell
Date published: 08/02/2017
10 / 10 stars
Went above and beyond
[Britannia Bradshaw] was recommended by a friend. Very hard working - went above and beyond to help service - exellent
Written by: Adelina Tirone
Date published: 06/02/2017
9.8 / 10 stars
Brilliant work again
Used them previously - always happy with the service provided. The guys were absolutely brilliant. Brilliant work again - thank you for making our move as smooth as possible!
Written by: Gladys Swaim-Rutter
Date published: 31/01/2017
10 / 10 stars
I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone
The move day experience far exceeded our expectations. Considering moving house is meant to be one of the most stressful things you can do, we were relaxed for the whole two days with plenty of time to make a cuppa! We had every confidence in the removals crew. Jay and his team were professional, helpful and kept us organised without being obtrusive. I would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone.