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Moving into a Rental Property - Know Who you are Dealing with

Posted on 30May 2013

Many of the first moves we will make will be to rented accommodation, so it can be helpful to know beforehand what kind of things will be expected of you as a tenant, and what you should expect from your landlord or rental agent. Below are a few things that you should make sure you are clear about before signing any rental contract.Who you are dealing with -why it mattersWhen contacting someone about renting a property, you will either be dealing with the landlord directly (a private landlord), or an estate agent who is acting on behalf of the landlord. While it may not seem like there is much difference initially, there are subtle things that can make quite a difference to the overall cost and conditions of your rental. Dealing with an agentMany landlords prefer to rent their properties through an agency, as this means they don’t have to deal with the day to day running of the property and any associated paperwork. However, in order to provide this service, agencies will charge the landlord a fee, which is usually added on top of the base rent. As a result, you will generally find that properties rented through an agent are a little bit more expensive than they might be when they rented privately. Another thing to be aware of is that agencies will often charge you administration fees when drawing up a rental agreement, which can cost anything from £50 upwards. They often also request a holding deposit if you are interested in renting a property, which will be help by them until you have signed the rental agreement, then returned. Finally, they often want to see proof of employment and earnings, so you can show that you can afford the rent every month. Dealing with a private landlordOne of the advantages of going to a landlord directly is that often you will not have to pay additional deposits (such as a holding deposit) or administration fees, although this is generally down to the landlord’s discretion. It can be a much more personal experience, which can be useful to both the landlord and tenant, as any problems can be dealt with directly, and normally slightly quicker, than when having to go through an agent. If you have any queries or problems with a rental agreement, discussing this directly with the landlord can also be advantageous, as you can negotiate with the person in charge of the property directly. In addition, it may often be the case that you can find slightly larger properties at the same rental cost of smaller agency properties because the landlord is not paying agency fees. Many private landlords are also more concerned about having someone in their property which means regular rent, and may be more open to negotiation as a result. You can also find great bargains this way, but they are often not as common or as readily available as agency rental properties. Overall, both have their advantages and disadvantages. Agency rentals are much more common and easier to find, but may be more expensive, especially initially. Private landlords might offer better deals and be open to negotiation, but great value properties will often get filled very quickly, so you have to be lucky to catch one of these before they go.

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