Renting an apartment with the help of a Lettings Agent
HOW TO COMMENCE YOUR SEARCH
The first step is to call the agency or better still, visit their offices. Agencies have a large database of apartments: one, two and three bedrooms, as well as houses and are therefore normally able to meet the specific needs of the customer.
At the first meeting with the agent they will ask a number of questions to properly understand the customers requirements. At this meeting it is important that you clarify with the agent exactly what his charges are going to be, this is called “agents fee”, and if you are prepared to pay what he is asking for then understand that this amount will need to be paid to the agent once they have found the right property for you and a contract is ready to sign.
What type of property are you looking for, house or flat?
How many bedrooms are required?
When do you need to leave your present property?
How much rent are you expecting/hoping to have to pay?
How many people will be moving in?
How long are they living in the UK?
In what part of the city or town do you want to live (location)?
Are there any additional requirements (garden, parking, etc.)?
The agent will also ask for your contact details and will also want to establish your financial situation, do you work and what is your total monthly income?. Normally the next question is whether you work for an agency, are you self- employed or have a fulltime contract with your employer. This is important, because it will be taken into account when choosing the right type of property to show you. In the case of couples, the earnings of both persons are taken into account. It is important to understand that roughly two-weeks wages should cover the entire cost of renting the accommodation, so if the rent should be £550 per month the agent would expect your total monthly income to be not less that £1,100 per month.
It is impossible for us to provide a national average for the amount of rent you will need to pay because rents vary very widely depending on where you live in the country. In London you will be charged more rent than anywhere else but you do have a lot of employment opportunities available to you, however in a small town in Hampshire you will pay considerably less rent but have little opportunity to find work unless of course you wish to work in the agricultural field (picking and packing vegetables or fruit).
The rental costs do not include the deposit that you will need to pay and normally the amount of the deposit is six weeks rent. The deposit should be protected by the Deposit Protection Scheme and when the lease comes to an end the full deposit will be refunded to the you however should there be any damage in the property which was caused during the tenancy then the full repair cost will be deducted from the deposit. Animal keepers should be prepared to be asked for a higher deposit however please be aware that the majority of landlords will not permit animals in their property.
At this stage the agent will arrange for you to see a number of properties and because Letting Agents realise you may not have time to view until after work, or on a Saturday, they are normally open six days per week and in some cases will be open until 6pm – 7pm.
Once you have found the property that you want and have told the agent, they will contact the landlord/owner of the property and inform him of your interest. Naturally the landlord will expect the agent to tell him about you and provide information about your work, income and number of people in your group. In 98% of cases the landlord is happy to proceed with the rental but please be aware that he does have the right to refuse to rent.
Once the landlord has agreed to proceed with the rental then the agent will need to commence the various verifications that need to be made concerning your employment and financial position. It is for this work and the time taken to find you the right property that the agent charges his fee. This fee varies considerably from agent to agent so please determine early on in the discussions exactly what the fee is.
What is needed to prepare the Tenancy Agreement
To conclude the agreement you will need to provide:
References from employers (employer’s name and contact telephone number , the address of the company or agency who employs you and an email address, if it is available)
3 last payslips from work
3 last bank statements
A passport or ID card
At this stage the agent will need to obtain references from your employer and your last landlord if possible. This procedure can take time and is totally dependent on how quickly your employer and last landlord reply, but it normally takes four to five days. After successfully checking references, the agreement can be signed. Sometimes the landlord/owner wants to be present when the contract is being signed.
Government/ Council Benefits
Many landlords will accept DHS benefits however please be aware that if you are using benefits to pay for the complete amount of the rent then you will normally be asked to provide a guarantor and this must be a person who is employed full time and is a property owner in the UK. Should you be unable to pay your agreed rent one month the guarantor will be expected to pay this rent on your behalf and this is what he is agreeing to do by becoming your guarantor.