OC Homes essential lettings guide for renters

With the lettings market as busy as it's ever been, competition is intense in both London & Essex, so you're bound to have a lot on your mind when you start property hunting. To make sure that the process of finding your next rental is as seamless as can be, here are some of the essential things you'll want to remember.

Timing is everything
Start looking for accommodation ideally 4-8 weeks ahead of your move date. Property portals are a great place to start to get an idea of prices and areas, but many properties are snapped up before they even reach a website.

Get in touch with an established, reputable agent, as they may have suggestions for an area that you hadn’t thought to look in before, and they can alert you to any brand-new properties on their books that haven't hit RightMove and Zoopla yet. Property Consultants at both our London & Essex office can help you if you register your details here.

Be realistic about what you can afford
There will be other costs in addition to rent, such as utility bills, TV license, broadband, contents insurance, council tax and of course food, travel and general living expenses, so make sure that you make a realistic offer on the property you like.

Even if your offer is a bit lower than the asking price, agents are obliged to put forward all offers to their client for consideration – the worst the landlord can do is decline. So, there is no harm in putting in an offer.

Get your paperwork ready
This means having a valid passport and visa (if applicable) to demonstrate your Right to Rent, which is a check landlords and agents are required to carry out prior to granting a tenancy. They need to see you in person and check your original photo ID in order for this to happen.

You will also need to provide a minimum of three months’ bank statements, an employer reference and a current landlord reference. If you have questions about the paperwork, get in touch- we're here to help.

Be prepared to compromise
There is no such thing as the perfect property – there will most probably need to be a compromise somewhere along the way. What is the feature you could do without? Is it having a parking space? A concierge? Could you look at properties on the next stop along the tube line?

An established agent with a wide enough network of offices can show you properties across various locations, which is how many people discover new parts of London & Essex alongside their next home.

Read the tenancy agreement before signing
When a let is agreed, the most common type of contract the agent will produce is known as an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST). It will include the address of the property, all landlord and tenant names, the rental amount and date it is due, plus any specifically negotiated terms.

Contracts do not automatically include a break clause, so make sure you understand the potential costs of terminating your tenancy early, just like you would with a gym or a mobile phone contract.

Move in day to-do list:

  • Contact utility companies, set up an account in your name and supply opening meter readings
  • Check out utility options on www.uswitch.com as the standard tariff is often the most expensive
  • Sort out a TV licence online on www.tvlicensing.co.uk (even if you only watch TV via live streaming on a laptop, you’re still required to purchase a TV licence)
  • Contact the local council and register for council tax to set up any appropriate discount/exemption
  • If you have contents or car insurance, be sure to let them know your new address to maintain your policy cover
  • Get yourself on the electoral roll if you are eligible to vote as this can help improve your credit score

How OC Homes can help you
If you are considering looking for a new home to rent, contact a property consultant in one of our OC Homes offices to start your search. Or if you are thinking of letting out your property and would like some advice, get in touch with us here today for more information.

For more information call our London Office on 020 8556 1212 or e-mail: hello@ochomes.co.uk