The freedom of moving out on your own is exhilarating. Becoming a first-time renter is a rite of passage and an exciting time in your life, whether you are moving out of your parents’ house or making the leap and leaving your college room days behind. However, it’s easy to feel entirely overwhelmed when you consider all of the responsibilities that come with moving out and being a tenant. Fortunately, you’re not the first to go through this challenging task. Follow this first-time renter’s guide so you can make your first renting experience a pleasant one and enjoy all the aspects of being a renter.
First-time renter’s guide
Finding the perfect place
1. Set a budget
First, calculate your monthly income, taking into account your savings, debt, and recurring bills. According to financial experts, your rent payments should not cost more than 28% to 35% of your monthly income. When making a budget, remember to include all of your monthly spendings and leave room for unforeseen costs. Putting together a budget can help you save up for your first rental home. Continuing your budget plans, even after you move in, is a great way to grow your savings for rent, utilities, home décor, and more.
2. Determine your needs
Second, create a checklist of your needs before starting your search for a place to rent. Pay attention to the must-have features that will make you the most comfortable at home. What you prefer to have in your home or neighbourhood is considered a “want.” They’re on your wish list if you will, but you can live without them.
3. Choose your location
As a first-time renter, narrowing out your ideal location can be difficult. So, before you choose to settle down in an area, make sure you are knowledgeable about the neighbourhood. Consider how secure an area is, surrounding amenities, closeness to your place of employment, rental rates, and everything else that will provide a comfortable and convenient lifestyle in the long run. The more you can narrow down your preferences, the easier it is to settle on the perfect location for you.
4. Conduct research
Once you’ve found a property you like, talk to the neighbours to learn more about the living conditions in the neighbourhood. Speak with a few people, obtain a variety of viewpoints, and weigh them against your requirements.
5. View the property
A viewing gives you the chance to take a close look at the condition of a property, so don’t waste this opportunity. Examine the windows and doors to make sure they’re secure and watch out for any signs of damp in the walls, ceilings and floors. Run the taps and shower to test the water pressure and ask when the boiler was last serviced. Flush the toilet to make sure this is working properly too. These checks will save you from nasty surprises when you move in.
Understanding your rights and responsibilities as a tenant
You have certain rights and responsibilities when you move into a rental home, and you must know what these are.
Before you get the keys to your rental property, you should sign a tenancy agreement. This document sets out the expectations of both you and your landlord. You have the right to:
- Be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rental increases.
- Have your deposit protected in an approved tenancy deposit protection scheme.
- Get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy, as long as you meet your responsibilities as a tenant.
- Live in a property that’s well-maintained and safe.
- Peaceful enjoyment of the property.
As a renter, you have the following responsibilities:
- Taking precautions to avoid causing damage to the property.
- On-time payment of the agreed-upon rent.
- All other bills and costs must be paid per your lease agreement.
- Paying for any damage caused by you or your guests.
- Allowing your landlord access to conduct inspections and to do any necessary maintenance work.
- Not sub-letting the property unless your tenancy agreement says you can.
- Reporting any problems with the property to your landlord in good time