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What is the Process of Renting a Flat?

You know you want to rent, but what next? Breezing through the process of renting a house or flat means being prepared, arming yourself with knowledge and keeping this guide handy.

Faye deGavre

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Mar 18, 2021

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6 min read

What is the Process of Renting a Flat?

Whether you’re a seasoned renter who hops from flat to flat or a first-timer who isn’t sure where to begin, it’s worth getting to know how to rent a house or flat to streamline this otherwise stressful (albeit, exciting) venture. From getting paperwork ready to viewing places, to meter reading on moving day, here’s your nifty guide to renting a house or flat.

The process of renting a house or flat

Getting ready to rent

Before you decide to rent, there are a few things you need to prepare for the property rental application. Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What type of space am I looking for? You need to know what your priorities are as it can be challenging to find everything you want in one place. Consider how many bedrooms and bathrooms you need, whether you want a garden and/or parking, the areas you’d like to live in, and whether you want the space furnished or unfurnished. It’s worth knowing that most unfurnished flats today come with modern appliances such as a fridge, oven and washing machine, but always ask the agent what is included.
  • What can I afford? You’ll be responsible for covering the one-off rental fees such as the security deposit and holding fee cost from the Letting Agent. You’ll also need to consider the cost of renting a house, which means monthly rent, electricity, gas, water and council tax, among other expenses. As a result, the per calendar month rent should be a sustainable figure for your budget to accommodate the additional outgoings. 
  • What documents do you need to rent a house or flat? Reputable landlords and agents need to verify your identity, credit history, employment and financial picture before letting you rent. Get your ID, financial statements and references at the ready. 
  • Do I need a guarantor to rent? If you’re a first-time renter or someone with a low credit score, you may need a guarantor. This is someone who is able to pay your rent if you can’t, such as a family member or friend. The team at Rent Guarantor can assist if you don’t have anyone suitable.
  • How long is the tenancy? For most properties, there is a fixed period of 6 to 12 months. If you’d prefer more security, you can ask for a longer fixed period.

Securing the space

Whether your lease is coming to an end, your landlord has decided to sell, or you’ve been planning a fresh start for a while, it pays to do your research before picking your next property.

Today, renters have a wide variety of choice when it comes to the type of space they’re looking for. The place you choose will ultimately come down to the location you want to live. The majority of searches are postcode-led, so you’ll have a better idea of what you want to call home once you home in on a particular area. 

  • Book viewings

Once you’ve found a handful of suitable homes to rent, you’ll want to see them in person. When viewing a property, the Letting Agent will show you around and you’ll be able to ask any questions. If you’re moving in with other people, it’s a good idea to attend the first viewings together to speed up the process and ensure you’re all on the same page. 

Some good questions to ask when renting include:

  1. How would you describe the local area?
  2. How soon is the property available?
  3. What is included in the rent? (Utilities, council tax, etc.)
  4. Does the property come unfurnished, furnished or part-furnished?
  5. How much is the deposit?
  6. When is rent due and how should it be paid?
  7. What are the parking arrangements?
  8. How old is the boiler? When was it last serviced?
  9. Who is responsible for the garden?
  10. Who will be managing the property? Who is the emergency contact?

  • Understand the different types of tenancy agreements

The tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between you and the landlord. It specifies both yours and the landlord’s rights, which is why it’s vital that you read, understand and agree with it. 

The most common type of tenancy agreement is Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). The most important feature of the agreement is that the landlord has the right to reclaim the property at the end of the arranged term. Despite ‘short’ being in the name, the agreement can continue for as long as both parties are happy to do so, and there is no minimum term.  

  • Pay the rent deposit

Once you’ve paid the deposit, the property is secured. The maximum tenancy deposit you can be charged is equal to 5 weeks' rent (or 6 weeks if the annual rent is more than £50,000). This refundable deposit is held for the duration of the tenancy and covers any damages you caused to the property, if necessary.

Taking on the tenancy

  • Read through the tenancy agreement

Make sure you have a written agreement and have read it through carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities.

  • Check the rental inventory

Review the inventory to ensure that all present damage has been accounted for so that you are not liable for it when you move out. Take photos and ensure the inventory is updated before you sign. If you are happy, sign and keep a copy for your records.

  • Take meter readings

As soon as you move in, take energy meter readings and contact the suppliers. This will help make sure you don’t pay for the previous tenant’s bills.

  • Update your insurance

Once you move in, you need to be sure that your contents insurance covers your belongings at your new address. If you’ve recently bought new items to revamp your rental or have donated or sold items before the move, now is the time to review your policy and update as necessary.

Find your right property to rent

With this guide, you can feel confident when searching for homes to rent. Whether you’re looking to rent by yourself, with your other half or five friends, you can discover more with Boomin. 

Our advanced property site offers a wide range of suitable spaces, and you can be the first to know about hot properties coming to the market - before they’re listed anywhere else. From a simple one-bedroom flat to a five-bed pad with all the included amenities, Boomin gives you the ability to book viewings online 24/7 with trusted and experienced Letting Agents. Start your rental search today.

Faye deGavre

Content Writer