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Step by Step Guide to Renting a Property

17th March 2022


If you’re new to renting it can seem like a daunting process. However, we’re here to take away the fear of the unknown and help you through the whole process of renting your dream property.

So, if you’re wondering what to ask when renting a flat; what documents you need to supply when renting a house; or what fees you can expect on top of your rent, read on for all these answers and much more…

Six simple steps to renting a house or flat

If you’re ready to start renting, here’s what you need to do and the order in which you should approach each task:

  1. Set your renting budget and make a list of priorities for your property hunt. Keep in mind that landlords usually want your monthly earnings to be at least 2.5-3 times the monthly rent (or your share of the rent).
  2. Get hunting! With a budget in mind, you can start looking to see what’s available in your preferred area. Make an appointment with a Charters estate agent and we can help guide your search, suggesting properties that may be exactly what you’re looking for.
  3. Make your choice. When you’ve found the perfect place, let the agent know as quickly as possible.
  4. Take care of the paperwork. It’s likely you’ll be asked to pay a holding deposit and supply documents for referencing before your contract is drawn up.
  5. Sign the tenancy agreement, pay your security deposit and your first month’s rent. Your deposit will be held in a government approved scheme.
  6. Move in and enjoy living in your rented home.

What to ask when renting a flat or house?

When property hunting, it’s a good idea to have a list of questions ready so that you don’t forget anything important. Consider adding these to your ‘ask list’ when you view a property:

  • How much is the rent?
  • What are the lease length options?
  • Are any utilities included?
  • How much is the security deposit?
  • What is the apartment block/area like?
  • Are any amenities included? Some blocks of flats offer residents access to gyms, swimming pools etc.
  • Is parking included? How many spaces?
  • Can I have a pet?
  • Are there any planned changes to the building?
  • Can I decorate/make changes to the property?
  • What is the application process?
  • Do I need a guarantor?

What is referencing and what do I need to do?

Referencing is the information gathered about your current circumstances and credit history that landlords use to check you can/will pay your rent. It is usually carried out by a referencing agency and the good thing is that the landlord arranges and pays for it. You may be asked to supply various documents e.g. proof of identity, bank statements and character references to help the referencing process.

Referencing includes:

  • Address history
  • Proof of employment
  • Reference letters from previous landlords and employers
  • Three months’ worth of bank statements
  • Tax return (if you’re self-employed)
  • Letter from accountants (if you’re self-employed)
  • Details of guarantor if required 

What are credit checks?

To support the referencing process, credit checks reveal your financial behaviour to a landlord to help them decide whether or not to let to you. These checks look at:

  • Public records e.g. if you’re on the electoral register
  • If you’ve had any county court judgments (CCJs)
  • Your credit/debt ratio
  • How long you lived at your previous homes
  • If you’ve missed any payments

Are there additional fees when renting?

When you rent a property it’s possible that you’ll need to pay certain fees apart from your holding deposit, security deposit, rent and utility bills.

Interest on unpaid rent; changing a tenant; and early termination of the contract will all incur fees. At Charters, we’re completely transparent about the fees we charge at the properties we manage. Click here for more information.

What are my responsibilities as a tenant?

As the tenant you must:

  • Pay your rent on time
  • Follow contractual rules e.g. no smoking, no pets
  • Carry out reasonable minor maintenance e.g. change light bulbs and check smoke alarms
  • Report any issues/repairs needed to the landlord
  • Keep the property clean and ventilated
  • Dispose of rubbish correctly
  • Allow access for inspections and repairs (the landlord must give you at least 24 hours’ notice)
  • Seek permission if you want to decorate/make changes to the property
  • End your tenancy properly, according to your contract

What are my landlord’s responsibilities?

By law, you landlord must:

  • Give you a copy of the ‘How to Rent’ checklist at the beginning of the tenancy
  • Provide an EPC (Energy Performance Certificate)
  • Keep the property safe and free from health hazards
  • Ensure gas and electrical equipment is safely installed and maintained
  • Keep your deposit in a government approved scheme i.e. not their own bank account
  • Check you have the right to rent (England)

How can we help?

Although the process can seem daunting at the outset, if you’re ready to start renting a house or flat, we’re here to help. From house hunting and answering all your questions to helping with contacts and supporting you in your managed let; we are here for you every step of the way.

If you’d like to talk to one of our experienced, friendly team, please pop into your local Charters branch or give us a call. We’ll be delighted to help with your next move.

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