Top tips for first-time renters

The turbulent economic times that we live in mean that getting onto the property ladder has never been harder.

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But for some, the perks of renting outweigh the burden of homeownership anyway. A report in the Business Insider suggests that many American Millennials are renting because they prefer the flexibility and want to avoid the ‘hidden costs of homeownership’.

Here are some things that you need to consider and be aware of as a first-time renter.

Set your budget

It’s important to ensure that you can afford a rental before taking the plunge. Along with the regular monthly costs of rent, utility bills, council tax and any other bills (such as TV, line rental, broadband and so on) you will usually have some upfront costs to pay at the start of the tenancy. Often a security deposit and the first month’s rent are required as standard. A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract so make sure you can afford to commit to the rental.

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View the properties

Take time to shop around and definitely view various properties before signing anything. Avoid the temptation to opt for the first property you see. Asking to see the gas safety certificate (which should be checked annually) is a good starting point to ensure a property is safe. You’ll also want to take note of any obvious signs of damage or disrepair as this will need to be noted on the inventory. Speaking of which…

Ask for an inventory

An inventory is there to protect both the tenant and the landlord. It is carried out at the beginning of the tenancy and documents the state of the property from decor, fixtures and fittings, furniture and any other contents that come with the property. It can be done in great detail using property inventory software such as https://inventorybase.co.uk. If there are any disputes later down the line then this should be enough to iron them out.

Practical preparations

Before moving day you’ll want to ensure that you have the basics for living alone. If your property is unfurnished there will be a lot to think about including soft furnishings like curtains. As soon as you move in make sure that you take meter readings so that you can set up accurate accounts for your utilities.

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