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This is the first thing you should work out as this will usually be the defining aspect of what you will be able to rent. In general terms, the gross household income expected should be either 2.5 x the annual rent or 30 x the monthly rent. Often, it is found that tenants are not aware of their exact salary amount so it is well worth digging out the work contract/self-assessment to find the exact number. You should also factor in other living costs such as bills, food, clothing, travel, medical expenses, etc. If you are not sure or feel you should be considered, it is always worth speaking to the letting agent or prospective landlord as the criterion is usually only a guideline.
Once you know the gross household income and using the calculations above, you will be able to determine your maximum rent budget. Now you can choose where you want to live. Things to consider when choosing your location are how long your regular commutes will be and the transport links available. Local amenities are important and other fun things to do. If you are a family then you would want to check out local schools in the area and ensure you fit into the catchment area.
Now that you have your preferred area in mind, it is vital to know what facilities in the property are important to you. Trying to view all the properties in the area can be exhausting and can take the excitement out of the process. Therefore, it is wise to know what is important for you such as parking, bike storage, open-plan living, outside space, etc. Many websites and portals allow you to filter searches so it is well worth making the most of this and narrowing down the options. Letting agents will also appreciate you when you show you have a better understanding of your search and in return will be able to show you properties that fit your criteria.
After knowing how much you can afford, where you want to live, and what amenities are important to you it is worth registering with local letting agents. You will now be in a much better place for securing a property quickly. You will be able to filter your search online and also speak to agents with a much better understanding of where you need to be. Many agents now offer virtual viewings so it is best to start with this. Virtual viewings can take place in different ways – live video calls, video walk-through or 360 virtual tours. Many agents will offer one or more of these helping you make an informed decision before stepping out for physical viewings. Once you have conducted several virtual viewings, you can narrow down which properties you want to view in person. In our opinion, this is the best method of finding the right property quickly in a very competitive market.
So you have viewed several properties and have concluded the right home for you. You will need to secure this by paying a holding deposit, usually no more than 1 weeks rent. Your letting agent or landlord should now reserve this property for you subject to satisfactory references. It is worth asking what documents are needed before paying so there are no surprises later on.
Right to Rent checks was introduced on 1st February 2016 under the Immigration Act 2014 and are very important for both landlords and tenants to understand the importance of this act.
A right to rent check is conducted when a prospective adult occupant of a rental property shows their identity documents in-person to a landlord or letting agent. A copy will be taken of the documents seen and stored.
Whilst the referencing is not needed to take place until you secure a property, it is worth having these documents/details ready upon starting the process so that you can quickly get through this process. The references you need to submit will vary between letting agents/landlords but generally what landlords want to see are the following.
Depending on your circumstances as you may not be employed, maybe a student or anything else, and will not be able to provide some or all of the above, there are other options some landlords will consider such as rent upfront or a guarantor.
Once your references are completed, the landlord will need to approve these. Once approved, you will need to sign a tenancy agreement, pay your initial agreed rent and deposit to finalise the process of securing the property.
Collect your keys and enjoy your new home!