Renting for the First Time – What Should I Know?

For many people looking to branch out and rent their first house or flat, the process can be confusing and daunting. How much rent can you afford? Who should you live with? See our top tips to make renting your first home as simple as possible.


  1. How much should you spend?

It’s a time-consuming process but an important one – have a look at your finances and decide how much you can afford each month to pay, and remember about other expenses such as bills, council tax, and potential ground rent and maintenance charges in larger building complexes. Get a feel for average rental values for specific areas and different houses types so that you can be confident that you are getting a fair deal.


  1. Long or short term rent?

As a rule of thumb, many landlords prefer an initial 6-month tenancy with a new tenant, as this allows time for both parties to decide if they are happy with the arrangement. If both landlord and tenant are happy at the end of this initial term, the future rental term could be increased, or a ‘rolling tenancy’ could be put in place where the same initial terms roll on and get renewed until either party decides that they would like to terminate the contract.


  1. Location, location, location!

Area is such an important factor affecting your standard of living. Sure, one house may have a beautiful balcony overlooking stunning views and a brand new ensuite, but if it’s an hour and a half’s drive away from your office, is it worth it? Make a shortlist of the areas you would like to live in, and be sure to consider important factors such as commute time and local amenities.


  1. Who should you live with?

These are many considerations to take into account when thinking about housemates. Living on your own will mean a higher rent to pay, but it also means that you can live exactly how you want. Arguments over housekeeping and habits are part and parcel of living with friends. If you and your friends are sure that you would like to live together, have a think about how many people you want to be living with. Not only will more housemates mean more people’s mess and refuse for you to organise cleaning, but many landlords cannot accept an application from more than 3 unrelated people (i.e. not family or spouses) for one residency as landlords must have a special HMO (Houses of Multiple Occupancy) license which cost them money; as well as the fact that landlords may worry about multiple people living in their property causing more damage than a single person or a couple.


  1. What’s in a viewing?

Don’t think that a viewing is just for you to value up a property, as it is also vice versa! Landlords will be comparing every viewer who walks through the door and looking for the one who they think will treat their property and neighbours with respect. So be sure to dress smart and be polite to show a landlord that you’re the ideal candidate to live in their property.


So if you’re looking to make to take the plunge and rent your very first home, don’t be hasty and rush into anything – make sure it’s a considered decision and you’ll be flying!