A guide for first time renters.
When you first move out of home, renting can be a daunting task. Dealing with fussy landlords, micro-managing agencies and dodgy houses are just a few of the issues you’ll encounter… but it’s so worth it! There’s nothing like the taste of freedom, and once you’ve moved out of home, it’s likely you’ll be gone for good.
I remember when I first moved out, and was lucky enough to rent my first property from family. It was the perfect transition to when I moved into my next property, which was then managed by a bloody awful agency that ended up not giving us access to properly get internet for TWO WHOLE MONTHS.
Now, I’m in my sixth rental property (woah), and feel like I’ve learned a lesson or twenty. Moving to the other side of the world has also helped give perspective on what to look for in any property, whether that means air conditioning for sunny Sydney, or radiators for freezing London. Here’s my guide on what to think about when you rent a property:
- Hidden Fees: Always make sure whoever you’re dealing with is upfront about their fees. Agencies are known to almost invent fees over here in the UK, including background checks, “re-signing” fees (luckily getting abolished soon) and more. Make sure you get everything in emails as well, so you’ve got a written record of everything that has been agreed upon!
- Ask all the questions: Something looks fishy to you? Ask questions, questions and then ask again. When you first rent the property, you’ve got the upper hand. If there’s a dodgy looking shower head before you move in, ask when it will be fixed, and get it written down in an email.
- Read the contract carefully: I cannot stress this enough. If you don’t read the fine print, it’ll come back and bite you when you’re least expecting it. Look at what happens if you break the contract, for hidden fees, and things that you’re liable for when renting. It’s a long process, but worth it in the end.
- Mark your own inventory: This is a rookie error I learnt the hard way, where I was billed for lost inventory, when it wasn’t there to start with. It’s important that there is an inventory checklist when you move in, and that you’ve carefully checked it over yourself. It will normally state the condition of everything included, so cross-reference it to make sure it’s correct. Make sure you take photos of it all as well – words can be misunderstood but a photo never lies!
- Housemates are everything: I cannot stress this enough; do your research when you’re moving in with random people. It’s a crazy concept that we take months/years to entertain the thought of moving in with a partner, but it takes just one viewing to agree to share a house with random people. If possible, see if you can grab drinks/coffee with your housemates before you sign a lease. Ask if they smoke, work from home and what their habits are like. If you’re not enjoying their company over drinks, chances are you won’t enjoy their company 24/7 at home.
Renting a property for the first time is exciting, and opens the doors of adulthood and freedom for most of us, accompanied by some life-long friendships. Always ask questions and really know about your housemates before you move in with them. Thinking of moving to London? I’ve also written a guide on “How to move to London and not die” which may be helpful.
I’d love to hear your tips for first time renters. Did you learn anything the hard way? Leave a comment below to get involved.