Rented properties make up over 30% of all properties in England and Wales so there are a lot of people renting properties out there.
Renting a home in Ashford is a popular option for many people as it allows for flexibility time wise, allows couples to trial living in a new area or together for a first time and will often be used as a stop gap until the renters can save up to buy a home or purchase a home that suits their needs.
Before you start looking at the next rented home of your dreams you need to look at how much you can afford; It is likely that you will already know in your mind a budget that you feel comfortable with, however, we want to be sure that you aren’t over-stretching yourself just so that you can get that “dream home”.
We believe that if your rental commitment is more than 40% of your household income then the pressures of fulfilling that obligation will be too high and the risk of rent arrears will be greater.
Therefore we would advise before making any appointments to view any property that you check that the rental falls within this requirement.
Before signing the tenancy agreement or even looking at potential properties, think about how long you want to stay in the property.
On average a tenancy agreement will last a minimum of 6 months so you need to decide if this is too long for your needs, bear in mind that it is usually possible to extend your tenancy agreement but check this with the letting agent first as they may only need a short-term tenant until the house is sold for example.
When considering homes for viewings think about the things you need from your new home and things that would be added bonuses in your new home. If you have a car are you happy to park it on the road or would you rather have a garage, drive or off-road parking available, do you want a garden and are you happy to have a communal garden, do you want a bath, shower or both in your new home?
You will also need to consider if you want to property to be furnished or not because if it is furnished and you have existing furniture you will need to pay to put it onto storage, or alternatively if you do not have furniture for the home and it is unfurnished you will need to put money aside to purchase new furniture.
It is a good idea to tell the letting agent your requirements and desires for your new home so they can recommend the best recommended accommodation for your needs.
Finding time to complete viewings of the homes you like can be tricky especially if you work full time or have a busy lifestyle. The team here at Lockwood Lettings and Management will work with you to find a time to suit your schedule.
There are questions you may want to consider when viewing the property such as the cost of utilities and council tax for the property, the deposit required, any fees required for you to move in, if there are costs involved in renewing or extending the tenancy, if smoking or pets are permitted in the property for example. It is also a good idea to quickly check that taps work and doors lock properly with no issue; although these are things the landlord can fix prior to you moving in.
If you entering into a house share in the property enquire as to the other tenants and ask if it is possible to meet them before moving into the home.
When you are setting up the tenancy ensure you are prepared for the several one-off payments such as admin fees, credit checks and security deposits to make the tenancy as smooth running as possible from the very beginning.
If you are a first time renter or a student you may need to have to provide a guarantor so ensure this has been arranged before you begin the tenancy process. Alternatively you will need to have reference contact details from previous landlords and employers ready for the letting agent to contact.
You will receive a tenancy agreement and an inventory that will need to be read and checked carefully before signing. If you have any concerns with either document feel free to give our friendly team a call and they can answer any queries you have. You may choose to take photos of the property for your own peace of mind when it comes to the inventory so you can confirm the condition of the property when you moved in as this will reduce the risk of issues at the end of the tenancy.
Your landlord or letting agency will provide you with a selection of documents including a gas certificate from the annual gas safety check, details of the government approved deposit scheme where your deposit will be kept until the end of your tenancy, An EPC (Energy Performance Certificate) and records of electrical inspections that have taken place in and on the property.
This is a really exciting day for most of our tenants as they are keen to move into their new home and get settled but there are a few things you need to remember. Before you move make sure your post has been redirected so you don’t miss any important mail also arrange contents insurance to protect your belongings inside the property as this is not protected under the landlords insurance.
On getting the keys to your new home take photos of the gas and electricity meter readings so you can contact the utilities companies and change the contact details or change the supplier if you choose to do so. Make sure you take a note of the landlords or letting agents details so if there are any issues you can contact them immediately, it is also recommended you set up a standing order to pay your rent on time each month.
As a tenant in Ashford you have a number of responsibilities to the landlord and the letting agent during your tenancy. These include paying your rent on time each month, looking after the property to ensure it is in a good and clean condition throughout your tenancy and being a considerate and respectful neighbour to those living around you; bad or anti-social behaviour to those around you could lead to an eviction from the property
It is also your responsibility to report any report any problems at the property or repairs that are required and you must not undertake any repairs or amendments (including redecorating) the home without the prior consent and written permission of the landlord or letting agent. You are responsible for ensuring the property is locked and secure and you will need to inform the landlord or letting agent if you are leaving the property for more than 14 days at a time.
The landlord or letting agent of the property will also have responsibilities for you and the property; these include maintaining the structural integrity of the property, insuring the building in the event of flood or fire, maintaining the furnishings and appliances that are supplied with the property ensuring they are both fire safe compliant and in good working order.
It is also the responsibility of the landlord to deal with any plumbing or electrical issues and arrange for annual gas safety checks in the property which will be confirmed with you, the tenant, in advance.
At the end of the fixed tenancy agreement both you and the landlord will be able to decide if the tenancy is to end or the tenancy is to be extended; in most cases where the tenancy is extended it is moved onto a rolling contract on a month by month basis but this will need to be checked with the landlord or letting agent.
Once the required notice has been given and the tenancy is due to end, you will need to make sure the property is thoroughly cleaned and is being returned in the condition it was in when you first moved in. If you are moving out and a letting agent or landlord is not present it is recommended you take photos to demonstrate the condition of the property you are leaving; if you choose to have the property professionally cleaned then keep these receipts.
The original inventory will then be checked against the property and the contents and as long as this is approved and all rent is paid on time you will have your security deposit returned. Any deductions will be fully explained and any queries will go through the deposit scheme.
If you are looking to rent a property in Ashford you’ll want to choose a reliable and trustworthy letting agent; and that is exactly where we come in. With many years experience of lettings in Ashford we can help you find the right property for your exact need.
The friendly, honest and professional team here at Lockwood Lettings and Management know how exciting moving house can be, but we also know how stressful moving house in Ashford can be. This is why we have put together this Tenants Guide for all tenants that are looking to rent a property in Ashford to help make the moving experience as stress-free, enjoyable and exciting as possible;