Guidelines on Looking for Rented Accommodation

Whether you’re a student moving away to university or relocating because of a new job, finding the right accommodation can be one of the most stressful parts of making a new start. 

Before you start looking around, you should first think about what kind of accommodation you’re interested in.  Key factors to bear in mind are: price, location and size of the property.  You might have to compromise on these factors so focus on specific aspects which you consider to be the most important such as whether you need to be near public transport or a school. 

Your new employer or university might be able to give you housing advice.  If you have contacts in the area, ask them if they know of anything suitable.  Apart from looking in the local press and on community noticeboards, you’ll also find a wide range of rented accommodation on the internet.  If you decide to use a letting agent, make sure they are members of a professional body and are registered and/or licensed (in Wales and Scotland only).

If you find property from a private landlord, you must view the property before making a commitment to rent.  If possible, try to see the house at different times of day so you get a better idea of what it will be like living there.  To ensure that the landlord is the true owner of the property (and not a con artist or subletting), you can check by paying a £3 fee to the Land Registry.  If the property meets your needs, move fast because the rented sector in the UK is highly competitive.  While the necessary ID and or reference checks are being carried out, you might be asked to pay a holding deposit.  This sum of money ensures the house will be taken off the market and will later be deducted from your tenancy deposit or your first rent.  However, you should pay by card or bank transfer so you have proof the money has been paid.  If you use cash, always ask for a receipt. The main financial difficulty might be in finding the money to pay the tenancy deposit which is usually the equivalent of 1-2 months’ rent.  If you aren’t expecting a deposit to be returned from a previous landlord and are receiving state benefits, you might be able to receive the money in the form of a loan advance from the DWP.  Some local councils also provide a rent deposit or rent guarantor scheme and you can pay this money back gradually in instalments.  Alternatively, Cashfloat money on demand is a convenient solution when you find yourself temporarily short of funds in an emergency situation.  Not only is it fast but you get an instant decision when you borrow money online.  Prompt payment will show the landlord that you are someone to be trusted to make their rent payments on time.  Since 2007, tenancy deposits for an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) have to be protected by a scheme.