When looking for a property the first step is to calculate what you feel you can afford to pay. Look at your outgoings and earnings and see how much is left for rent. It is not sensible to spend all of your spare money on rent as you need to factor in unexpected expenses.
Once you know what you can afford it is best to have a check list of what requirements the property should have. The basics are the number of bedrooms, separate/ open plan kitchen, furnished/unfurnished, garden, space for a home office. Then work out what you MUST have, what you would prefer and what you do not want.
Now that you know what you can afford and what you require it is time to consider which areas you should look in. The internet and property portals allow you to research many different areas to find where you can rent a property in your budget which matches your criteria and is convenient for you. If you are struggling to find suitable properties in one area then look at surrounding areas where properties are less expensive. Draw up a short list of properties and arrange time to view them. For lettings it is important to view them close together as there is nothing more frustrating than realising the property you want has been let by someone else(?). As most people work it can be hard to fit in viewings so arrange for a weekend or even take a day off if you can. Remember a property that meets all your requirements can be hard to find so most people will make a compromise but just
make sure it is something you are sure you can live with.
Once you have located a property then the next step is to put forward an offer. In terms of price some landlords will be flexible on price and others will not. Landlords are most likely to be flexible if it minimises the time the property is vacant, you do not have a long list of requirements, you are looking to rent long term and have a good employment history. When putting your offer forward we will need provide the following information; start date, proposed rent, length of tenancy including any break clause, your current employment, annual salary and your immigration status. If you have a list of requirement, then you need to be clear at the start otherwise the landlord may be unwilling to carry them out if requested at a later date.
Once your offer has been accepted we will confirm the terms accepted in writing and you will be required to pay a two week holding fee to Arlington Rouse. Upon payment of the holding fee we will cease marketing whilst we obtain references and proceed with the paperwork. The holding fee will be subtracted off the balance of money you will need pay upon signing of the Tenancy Agreement and paying the balance to move in.
Arlington Rouse use an independent referencing agency. Once your offer has been accepted we will email you an online form to complete. Please ensure you complete it as quickly as possible and inform us immediately if there are any difficulties. We reserve the right to remarket the property if we have not received references within 10 days of paying the holding fee.
To pass references you will need to show the combined earning of all the tenants are more than 2.5 times the annual rent before any discretionary bonuses or commission. If you are in full time employment, then your employer will need to confirm this in writing. If you are self-employed or a company director you will need to prove your income either by providing an accountant reference or a year-end tax statement from HMRC. If you have been self-employed for less than 18 months you may not have the required evidence.
The reference agency will carry out a credit check to check your credit history and confirm you do not have a CCJ.
The reference agency will also require a previous landlord reference if you have previously rented, proof of ownership if you were a home owner or proof of residency in other circumstances.
The reference agency will require you to provide evidence that you have the right to rent within the UK. They will provide you with a list of documents which you can send to them electronically. Before you move in, Arlington Rouse are required to view the original documents and take a copy.
If you do not meet the required referencing criteria, then you will be required to provide a guarantor or to pay the rent fully or partly in advance. It is therefore vital that you provide accurate information when applying for a tenancy. The guarantor is required to undertake the same references as tenants and meet the same criteria.
This is a brief overview of the process and if you have any questions then please ask a member of the team. The landlord may also ask us to collect additional information to satisfy themselves of your suitability to rent.
Once the landlord has approved your references we will draw up a Tenancy Agreement for you and the landlord to sign. Before signing read through the Tenancy Agreement carefully and if anything is different than you expected then please bring it to our attention to be rectified. You may also wish to take independent legal advice. After signing we will request payment of the balance of what is owing plus our fees (insert hyperlink to website)
Your new tenancy
Usually on the day of move in we will arrange an inventory clerk to meet you at the property to draw up the inventory and a schedule of condition. We will not release keys until this is done and we do not recommend you make arrangements for furniture delivery or removals until you have this appointment. You should receive the inventory report within 5 days of the commencement of the agreement. Please read this report carefully and inform us of any inconsistencies within 10 days of the start date. This report will be used to identify any damages when you vacate. The cost of the inventory report is paid by the landlord at the commencement of the tenancy and by the tenant at the end of the tenancy.
Arlington Rouse will either manage your tenancy or your landlord will manage the tenancy directly. We will inform you of the arrangements and provide contact details of who to contact for any maintenance upon your move in.
Where Arlington Rouse manage the property, we will inform the utility providers that you have moved in and provide meter readings. If we are not managing the property, then check with your landlord for arrangements. Please note it is your responsibility to pay for any utilities that fall due and if the utility providers fail to transfer into your name at our or the landlord’s request then you are liable for any costs and charges. Upon moving in we recommend you take our contents insurance for your own belongings. If you fail to have adequate insurance then you cannot make a claim on the landlord’s policies.
The government have created a how to rent guide (click here) which you may also want to read.