Browsing all articles from October, 2011

Rental Properties: Understanding the Basics

There will likely be many questions that will cross your mind prior to renting a property, but this is just a basic list of a few of the more common questions.

1.Will I need to pay fees to the agent?

You won’t need to pay an introductory fee for just registering with an agent however there will be fees for such administrative tasks as referencing and if you sign on from inventories and preparing the tenancy agreement. Letting Links is an alternative to traditional agents as it’s a completely free service for both landlords and tenants.

2. What is a holding deposit and do I get it back?

A holding deposit is usually a small amount that is requested in order to show your interest in the property. If the landlord does not go ahead with the tenancy it will be returned to you. If for some reason you decide not to go ahead and sign, all or a portion will be kept to cover administrative costs incurred. After referencing it will be put towards either the first month’s rent or security deposit.

3. What sum of money will I require at the beginning of the tenancy?

Generally you will need to have enough for first month’s rent as well as a month to six weeks’ worth of rent to be held as a security deposit towards damage. Assuming there are no damages at the end of tenancy you will receive this amount back at the end.

4. What information will I need to supply to Letting Agent?

You will be required to supply the names and addresses of your referees, as well as previous landlords and possibly your employer, so
that they will be able to verify your ability to pay for your rent. If self-employed it may be necessary to supply the contact information for your accountant.

5. As a Tenant what are my responsibilities?

All of your responsibilities should be written in the tenancy agreement. Make sure you take the time to read it very carefully and if you are unsure of something, ask your agent to explain. Do not sign anything until you feel comfortable you understand fully.

6. What is a Tenancy Agreement?

This is the legal document that outlines your responsibilities as tenant, your rights and what you can expect from your landlord, how much rent you are expected to pay, and the term of tenancy. This contract is between you and the landlord will most likely be an Assured Shorthold Tenancy under the Housing Act 1988.

7. How long can I expect to wait for referencing before I can move in?

Each agent is different however it can take between five and ten working days by the time they contact references, make sure funds clear for the first month’s rent and deposit, and inventories arranged.

8. What is the normal tenancy term?

Most agents like to sign an agreement for six months. They rarely sign for periods over a year. After this period you can take out an extension or renew your tenancy agreement.

9. What if I want to leave earlier or stay for a longer period?

Getting a longer period is usually as easy as signing a new agreement. If you think you might want to leave earlier however, you should have a break clause included in the original agreement or you will be
responsible for the entire term of the original tenancy agreement.

10. What other bills would I be responsible for?

You will need to take care of the utilities (gas, water, electricity), the Council Tax on the property, and of course telephone and T.V.

11. How do I get my Deposit back?

At the end of tenancy the landlord will usually do a “checkout” with you, where they check for missing items or damage. If the property is in satisfactory condition you will receive your deposit shortly after leaving the tenancy. Just remember you are not allowed to use the deposit as your last month’s rent.


Tenant Insurance: Friend or Faux?

As a tenant, it is your responsibility to obtain contents insurance that will adequately cover you for your possessions. Most landlords and letting agents will request proof that such insurance has been put in place prior to signing the tenancy agreement. If you are unsure as to where you might get contents insurance and are dealing with an agent, he will most likely be able to lead you in the right direction. If the agent is authorised by the Financial Services Authority (FSA) or is directly regulated by an FSA broker, then he would be eligible to sell you such insurance.

Since you don’t own the building you do not need building insurance, just contents only.

You might also look at getting Specialist Tenant’s Content Insurance which would protect your deposit should there be any damages to your landlord’s inventory. Accidents do happen to the best of us and who wouldn’t want to protect themselves in this unlikely event?

Contents Insurance generally covers the following:

Accidental damage: this would include damage to electronic equipment such as TV’s, stereos, DVD’s and even LCD and Plasma

New for Old Replacement: if items are damaged or stolen you would receive a new replacement for the old one that’s been damaged or stolen

Replacing Locks and/or keys: would cover the cost for new keys if lost, replacing locks, safes or alarm systems

Coverage for Cards and Cash: generally you’d be covered for £500 in cash and £500 for credit or debit cards

On top of this coverage you can make sure that the contents insurance not only covers your possessions but also covers your landlord’s contents. This would include light fixtures, furnishings if applicable, carpets or appliances. If an accident does occur, it would be nice to know that the repair of the landlord’s contents can be paid for instead of it coming out of your deposit at the end of the tenancy. Don’t forget, your landlord expects to get his property back in the same condition it was in when you rented it! Even if it’s just a stain on a carpet.

Don’t let a little accident cost you more by losing your deposit. Protect everything that belongs in your rental property and you will be able to sleep easy at night knowing you won’t have to worry about a thing.


Deposit Loans — No Deposit? No Problem!

There are several reasons why someone would need to take out a deposit loan, and since it is necessary to have a deposit in order to rent a house, the need has become greater than ever. So if you can’t raise the cash yourself, you’ll need to look at your options and decide what is best for your specific needs.

Not all companies offer the same products and you will have to do some homework if you want to get the best rate and an appropriate pay back term. Some of the things you should be looking at;

Do you want a short term or long term loan?
If you only require the amount of the deposit for a short time, for instance if
you will be receiving a deposit returned to you from a previous landlord, then
you can shop for a short term solution.

If however your budget is stretched fairly tight and you’re looking to pay back a small portion monthly in order to manage your finances on a monthly basis, then look at paying back over a longer period of time.

Now, how much of a loan should you take out? First you need to figure out what the deposit will be and will you require money for the move itself. Since you want to get the entire loan from one source, so you won’t be burdened with too many monthly payments, finding out the usual amount of deposits being requested in your area is vital.

Are the agents asking for £500, £750, £1000 or more for deposits?

Okay, so now you’ve decided how much you need and how quickly you’d like to pay it back. The next item you should be checking into is the APR (which stands for Annual Percentage Rate). Shop around for the best rate as this is the interest rate you’ll be paying on the money you borrow and is an extremely important consideration.

Obviously you’re looking for the lowest APR so that the amount you pay back is the least amount possible. For instance if you borrow £1000 at 10% APR, you will be paying £100 over a 12 month period for a total payback of £1100. Be cautious when looking at the rates because some rates will appear higher if a short term loan is being listed for a 12 month term even if the loan is only for 1 month.

The loan market is always very competitive and there are many companies all vying for your business. As with any portion of the rental process, each decision is what you feel is best for you and what you feel most comfortable with once the decision has been made. Shop around and you should find a perfect match for your needs.


Property Rentals: What Is Included In a Fully Furnished Agreement?

The difference between a fully furnished and an unfurnished property can vary greatly throughout the country, so it the tenants responsibility to discuss your expectation with the landlord.

In some areas a fully furnished property might consist of all furniture, fixtures, cooker, fridge, freezer, washer, as well as crockery, cutlery, glasses, pots and pans. It may also be expected to include items that are used on a daily basis, such as a vacuum cleaner, washing machine, dryer, an iron etc.

An unfurnished property might only come with the carpets, light fixtures and possibly built in appliances such as a cooker and/or fridge.

So you can well imagine the many variations in between these two that could occur, which is why you must communicate your expectations prior to signing a tenancy agreement. If there’s something in particular that you would like to have included in the property agreement, just ask the landlord prior to signing if it would be possible.

If the landlord thinks it could be the difference between you taking the unit and not, chances are he’ll likely agree to include the item(s). As they say, “nothing ventured, nothing gained” – if you don’t ask you’ll never know.

There are no laws or rules that state what “fully furnished” or “unfurnished” means so don’t assume anything – it’s your responsibility to find out.


Understanding Rent: How Much Rent Can I Afford to Pay?

Author admin    Category Tenants     Tags

Sometimes renting a home makes more sense than purchasing a home. If your job entails transfers or seems unstable, you would be better off to rent first. It’s also a good way to get to know the area you’re interested in living long term without committing a large sum of money for a purchase.

In order to figure out how much you can afford to pay in rent, there are a few things you should consider first:

When considering you as a potential tenant, a landlord will look at your income to determine if your gross income would cover the annual rent by a ratio of 2.5 times your annual salary before taxes. So for example, in order to be considered by the letting agent, if your rent was going to be £6000 per year (or £500 per month), you would be required to make a gross annual salary of £15000 before taxes.

To work out what your own budget will allow for rent, you’ll need to do some simple math. You need to work out absolutely everything you spend your money on, including how much you plan on spending on holidays or have put away for emergencies. Then figure out what your take home pay is (salary less taxes) which will be your net income.

Now write down all of your monthly expenses including car loans, credit cards, petrol, holidays, groceries, utilities, food, clothing and anything else that you spend regularly. This would be considered your long term debt.

Now subtract your long term debt from your net income and what’s left is what you can afford to pay for your monthly rent. This total for rent should include your contents insurance.

An easy way to think about what you should be capable of spending is to take 25 – 30% of your net income and this is what you should be paying for rent. So for example, let’s say you make £20000 per year you might be looking at a rent payment of about £5000 – £6000 per year (or £416 – £500 per month).

No matter what the numbers say on paper, you should only pay what you feel comfortable paying. After all it’s your money and only you know how much money you have left at the end of each month.


10 Tips to Find Your Ideal Property Rental

We’d like to help you get that perfect property rental you’re looking for, and since it’s a “perfect” property for you, it’s also likely that it’s a “perfect” property for others as well. So by following these tips you will be better prepared to land the right property rental for you.

1. Determine the Perfect Property Rental

Although it seems obvious, the first thing you need to do is to figure out exactly what “perfect property rental” means to you. Most people are unable to describe what they need or want in a property rental. So by writing down your “needs” and “wants”, you’ll have a better chance of recognizing the best property rental that suits your needs.

For example, write down whether it must have a 2nd bathroom, lots of storage, no stairs, and number of bedrooms or whether the property rental must be close to local transportation. As soon as these decisions are made you’ll be on your way to finding your “perfect” property. Before booking an appointment to view the property rental you’re enquiring about, ask the landlord if it has all of your “wants”. If not, don’t waste your time.

2. Use the Internet to Find Your Property Rental.

You will save a lot of time and energy searching if you go directly to the area agent’s website. By using the agents direct website you’re more likely to find an up-to-date listing, rather than the portals that can be quite out of date.

3. Have your references ready.

Landlords and Letting Agents will require them so make sure you have your financial or employment reference that shows you are financially capable of paying the rent. Your income should show that you make two and a half times more than the rent. If you are self-employed your accountant will need to prepare a statement that indicates ability to pay the rent.

If you can secure a letter from your previous landlord that claims you were an ideal tenant who paid on time and kept the property in good condition, it will also go a long way. Make sure you also inform your referee’s to expect a phone call so time is not wasted waiting on replies.

4. Let your present landlord (if applicable) or letting agent know that you will be leaving.

Giving appropriate notice is ideal and if you are able to move into the new property quickly, you will be put on the top of the priority list for the new landlord or agent.

5. Visit the Area.

If there’s a particular you would like to live in, visit the area so you’ll be more equipped with information such as close proximity to shops, schools, transportation etc. Very often these areas will have a local board that will post local phone numbers for agents in the area.

6. See as Many Properties as Possible.

Make a list of the most desirable properties and try to get in to see as many as possible at one time. If most people can only see properties after work or weekends, try to take a day off so you can see many in one day. This might give you an advantage if you can see properties before anyone else.

7. Don’t Hesitate.

When you see the property you think is right for you, don’t hesitate. If it’s the right property for you someone else is thinking the same thing. Put a deposit down immediately so that the landlord knows you are serious. If you wait, the property will go to the first person that’s ready and willing to commit.

8. Offer the Longest Rental Period.

If possible offer the longest rental period you can so that the landlord will see you mean to stay. Landlords don’t like to have empty properties, and although he will likely offer a 6 month term, by stating your intentions of being a long-term tenant, it should put you on the top of his list.

9. Move In Quickly.

It’s important to be prepared to move in as quickly as possible. Even if you don’t intend to move in on the date you specify, landlords want to have tenants move in within days not weeks or months.

10. Make a Decision!

And lastly, Make A Decision! By procrastinating like so many others, the
perfect property will slip through your fingers. Don’t wait and over think your
decision – it could be too late!

Good luck with your search!


The Benefits of Private Landlord Lettings

There are many advantages from renting from a private landlord. The most important advantage is that you will likely be paying less rent. And who doesn’t want to have less of an expense for their rent each month? But the advantages are not limited to the rent you’ll pay.

Communicating directly with the private landlord gives you a better chance of showing your most redeeming qualities and establishing a more personal relationship right up front. This will give you a better opportunity to show what a good tenant you would be, or to introduce a pet that you are trying to have included in your tenancy. The more a landlord likes you and gets to know you the more likely he might be to decreasing the rent. A private landlord is looking to rent to a responsible person that they can trust with their property and who will pay their rent in a timely fashion.

Since you won’t need to go through a letting agent, a private landlord does not pay an additional fee which means he can pass this saving along to the tenant by charging less rent. As a private landlord it is unlikely that he will have the means in which to perform a credit check which also cuts down on the amount of money a landlord pays out of pocket, not to mention the advantage this presents if you have bad credit, ccj’s or bankruptcy in your history.

Also because most private landlords do not perform credit checks and other administrative functions, the move in date is generally much quicker. Private landlords are looking to get their properties rented as quickly as possible so that the amount of lost revenue is kept at a minimum.

You will also find the term of tenancy to be more flexible than if you were to go through a letting agent. With a more personal relationship, you are more likely to negotiate a rental agreement that is suitable for both yourself and the landlord. The entire experience with a private landlord is more personable and can lead to a long and enjoyable relationship that benefits all those involved.

A letting agent generally charges additional fees for credit checks and references sometimes check in and check out fees, which are fees that you would not expect to pay when dealing with a private landlord. The savings can leave you with more money in your pocket for other expenses that are associated with moving. is a social networking site that connects landlords with tenants. If you are looking to rent a property from a private landlord then visit the main site and create your account in seconds. The site is 100% FREE to use. Gain access to thousands of UK registered landlords NOW!


Renting a Property with Pets

Author admin    Category Tenants     Tags

Most pet owners look at their pets almost like family. And of course they are well behaved and no trouble at all! Unfortunately, not all landlords are pet lovers so you may have a difficult time convincing them that little “Fido” or “Fluffy” are not going to cause any problems.

The reality is that most pets do leave the rented property in a smellier and dirtier condition than when they arrive. Your best bet is to purchase pet insurance, as most of the insurance policies not only pay for vet bills, but will also cover damage to someone else’s property through the liability insurance.

A lot of landlords are reluctant to letting dogs onto their property, especially those with long hair that tends to shed profusely. Although it sounds strange, some pet owners have produced a C.V. for their dogs, giving as much detail as possible. You might want to include things like breed, age, temperament, last set of shots, whether it’s been to training, how quiet he tends to be and anything else that might convince your prospective landlord that your dog should be welcomed as part of your family.

Be prepared however to pay more of a deposit as a security measure should the landlord need to do a more intense cleaning or repair damage done by your pet once you have decided to move out. By agreeing right up front to pay extra for this unlikely event, could be seen as a good faith measure by the landlord and would have him looking favourably at your application request.

If the landlord is still not convinced, you might want to ask him to visit you at your current home to see just how clean and damage free your living space is in, which may win him over. If this is not possible, your current landlord might be willing to write out a reference for you to give to the new landlord stating that they have had no problems with your pet.

Make sure no matter where you live, that you leave your rental unit in the same condition as you found it, as stated in your tenancy agreement. We all want to have our “family” members with us, but we must be considerate of others at all cost.


Renting a Property with Bad Credit, CCJ’s, IVA’s or Bankruptcy

Author admin    Category Tenants     Tags

Does having poor credit stop you for being able to rent a property? No of course not. There’s always a way to get around any problem as long as you know where to go and what to do. Just because you’ve been turned down because of bad credit or bankruptcy before at some locations, doesn’t mean
you’ll never find a place of your own.

The first thing you need to do is to find out exactly what your credit history is saying – what are potential landlords and/or letting agents seeing when they look at your credit.  Know exactly how many and who you have ccj’s with and be willing to disclose this information right from the beginning.  Being honest about your past can go a long way in getting the landlord or letting agent to see past those unfortunate problems from your past.

Don’t forget, both landlords and agents want to help you, because it means money in their pockets – they just want to know what type of a person you
are and that they will receive their money each and every month. Not every
landlord or agent goes to the trouble of getting credit checks so ask before
you go to see a potential property what references they require and do they
perform credit checks.

Try to avoid those properties that do require a credit check to be done. No sense setting yourself up for let-down right off the bat. Having said that however, you must be very cautious about renting from a landlord who doesn’t take the time to check out potential tenants. This could indicate that the landlord may not be too concerned about any problems or repairs that you may have throughout your tenancy.

One other possible avenue is to seek a property from a private landlord. Since the majority of the private sector does not have a means of doing credit checks,
your bankruptcy or bad credit need never come up. If you are able to get a
reference from a previous landlord showing what a good tenant you had been and how they had received your rent on time can also go far in securing good faith.

Bad credit does not have to define you. You could also seek a guarantor or someone who will move in with you to share the rent. This person would need to have the necessary credit rating and would be equally responsible for the rent. The landlord would have a legal right to pursue both you and your guarantor should the rent not be paid on time.

Obviously the ideal situation would not to have gotten into trouble with your credit in the first place, but because there are several reasons – some completely out of your control – for having bad credit or going bankrupt, the next step is to correct the problem and get back on track.




October 2011
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