Tips for the First-Time Tenant

Moving out of the family home into your first rented property is a big step. With so much to think about, it can be a daunting prospect. Here are a few tips that will go a long way to making the move the exciting and positive experience it should be.

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Do the Maths

It doesn’t matter how perfect the place is, you need to make sure you can afford the rent and bills. Research rents on similar properties, and check to make sure what’s included, such as gas, electricity and water and council tax. All-inclusive rents may mean less to worry about, but you have better control on your outgoings if you shop around for your own utilities. Read the meters on your first day and take photos to help make sure your first bills are fair. If you’re not exempt from paying council tax and it’s not included in the rent, make sure you contact your local council to register as soon as possible.

You should factor in your tenancy deposit too – this shouldn’t be more than five weeks’ rent for properties with an annual rent below £50k, or six weeks’ rent for properties that are above that. The Tenant Fees Act sets out the caps and limits imposed on initial fees, so you don’t pay more than you have to.

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Furnished vs. Non-Furnished

A furnished property will normally have at least the basic furniture such as beds, chairs, etc., and some will have a full inventory right down to kitchen utensils, crockery and cutlery. Unfurnished properties may only have white goods at the most. Whatever type of property you choose, you and your landlord both need to agree what’s there and the condition it’s in before you sign the contract to avoid disputes at the end of your tenancy.

Many landlords use property inspection software from providers like https://inventorybase.co.uk/ that allows them to include inventories and photos in the document. They can include details on other responsibilities such as TV licences and broadband and phone bills.

You can then sign your contract at the property itself, safe in the knowledge that a copy will be emailed to you. Your landlord can then leave you to enjoy your new home in the knowledge that every detail of your tenancy has been clarified and agreed.

 

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