This is part 1 of my renting post; where I will be talking about the stages of the process. Next week will cover budgeting and ways to make renting affordable. Any questions please feel free to ask in the comments section.
- Sign up to some agencies. So the easiest way to get the first look at a property is to give your details to an agency. Most of them are free (check beforehand) and means that you will be notified when suitable properties become available. Or you can browse for properties your self online, using websites like right move and Zoopla.
- Start viewing. Arrange a time and date to be shown the property. This is your opportunity to get a feel for the place and ask as many questions as you like. I would suggest going to view as many properties as possible. It can’t hurt, and it will help you get more of an idea of what you want.
- Once you have found a property you’re interested in you will need to let the agency or landlord know and put in an application. (You may need to put down a deposit to reserve the property). The application process is fairly simple. You will need to fill out a form containing your personal details, and employment status and current living arrangements. You will also need proof of identification and a copy of your recent bank statements.
- …Wait…! This is the worst bit of the process, as you’ll have wait to see if your application is successful and your credit checks go through okay. The agency may also contact your employer for a reference, so just be aware if you have a horrible boss! (Just kidding…sort of!) If your application isn’t successful don’t get too down-hearted as it wasn’t meant to be and there are always new properties being listed. Hopefully, you are successful though and you can move on to the next stage.
- Getting the keys. So once your application has come back successful you can arrange a date to pick up the keys and sign the agreement forms.
- Before you move in the landlord or someone from the agency will come round to take photos of the rooms and make notes of any imperfections. Make sure you are there and happy with what they have recorded because they will use this when later deciding if you can get your deposit back. They will also make a note of the current electricity/gas meter readings; which you should also take down, to make sure you are only paying for the time you have been there.
- Moving in. Now paperwork is signed and you have the keys you should be ready to move in…providing you have some furniture!
Extra step: For those of you who will be claiming housing benefits which you may or may not be entitled to depending on your employment status/ wages won’t be able to apply until you have been guaranteed the property. Once you know for sure you have the property, you can apply through your local council. I would suggest getting the form sent off as soon as possible as it can take a few weeks for benefits to be awarded.
If you are a single parent there are organisations like Gingerbread, who are amazing at offering advice/support.