Following hot-on-the-heels of the landlord tips, James Davis, founder of online property rental site, www.upad.co.uk (and a seasoned residential landlord), offers his tips for renters in 2009.
Davis comments: “In the UK, renting has traditionally existed as a result of affordability; a bi-product of people’s financial circumstances. Today, people want to live in different places and their circumstances regularly change; renting gives them flexibility.
“Renters: go forth, enjoy your freedom and make the most of the property you are about to begin living in.”
But, before you do…take a look at these top tips for successful renting in 2009:
1. Ensure that you carry out your own market research so that you don’t end up paying over the rental odds. Don’t opt for the first thing that comes along, landlords need to be more competitive, both in terms of pricing and offering.
2. Energy Performance Certificates (EPCs) became a legal requirement for all new lets in October 2008. Ensure your landlord shows you how energy efficient their property is, by requesting to see copies of these certificates. This will also ensure you minimise your utility bills. You could even consider properties where the landlord includes utility bill payments within the rent – again, check how competitive the offering is. And, make a note of the meter readings for gas, electric and water as you move into the property.
3. Be prepared. Have ready your references – good reports from previous landlords may help you to secure a property and give you an edge over other applicants. You need to sell yourself to the landlord, so that they buy into you as a person and communication is built up.
4. Request a detailed inventory. This should list the condition of all the contents for which you are responsible, including the garden (if there is one). Make sure you read it and agree it with your landlord, then sign it and date it.
5. Always make sure you get a written receipt for your deposit. And don’t deduct your last month’s rent, which is illegal.
6. Be prepared to lock in for longer. Equally, if you anticipate that you will be renting for a fair length of time, try to secure a longer-term tenancy.
7. Over the winter period, ensure you have emergency procedures in place and that your landlord provides a telephone number to call if anything goes wrong. Know where the water and gas stop taps are in the property as well as the electricity mains switch, so that any burst pipes, boiler breakdowns or leaks can be fixed with minimal hassle for both you and your landlord.
8. You may be about to head off on your skiing holiday, but, before you do, let your landlord know that you will be away, and consider leaving the heating on low, to avoid burst pipes.
9. Don’t let repairs mount up. If the property needs repairs, make sure you list these in writing and agree completion dates. If the deadlines are substantially broken, the landlord may have a case to answer. Only offer to do the work yourself if you know what you are doing. Agree this with the landlord (in writing), along with a cost and how it will be paid or deducted from future rent. And, if a leak or a damp patch is reported now, the landlord will appreciate it – it will save them money, and you from the disturbance of more major works later on down the line.
10. Pay your rent when it is due. If you have a problem in meeting payments, then contact your landlord sooner rather than later. As well as insurance to protect your belongings from theft, there are also policies to protect you in the event of illness or job loss.
upad is ‘reinventing renting’; a new free online service that helps renters to find their ideal place to live. Using upad’s state-of-the-art technology, renters can, for the first time, search properties by key criteria such as availability of parking, outside space, broadband connectivity, a security alarm or even laundry facilities.
The company has the largest choice of homes to rent in the capital (82,000), and will be rolled out across other major UK cities during 2009.