Guide to first time renting properties in SW London and Surrey
When you’re looking for somewhere to rent for the first time, it might seem a little bit daunting. At Goodfellows our staff are friendly and experienced and able to offer you advice and help to find a suitable property that you can eventually call home.
There are many benefits to renting. It offers flexibility if you’re moving jobs or studying away from home and allows people to change their living arrangements quite quickly compared to the slower and more complex process of buying and selling property.
For extra guidance you can read the government’s How To Rent: The Checklist For Renting In England.
Before you start looking
Consider Your Needs
As well as affordability and location, think about your individual requirements. What do you need from a property? Some key questions:
- What is your budget? Use our useful calculator to work out what you can afford.
- Are you looking for a furnished or unfurnished property?
- How many bedrooms do you need?
- Do you need parking?
- Would you like a garden?
- Do you need to be near local amenities, schools or transport links?
- Are you looking for a short term or long term let?
- Do you need a property which allows pets?
When are you looking to move? It helps to have a clear view of what your timescales are and any possible limitations, like current notice periods.
Renting privately or through a Lettings Agent
Private landlords letting their property directly are unregulated and not usually part of a professional body. Many tenants therefore prefer the reassurance of renting through a reputable and regulated lettings agent like Davis Tate.
Goodfellows is a member of ARLA Propertymark, a regulatory body with a strict code of practice. By adhering to their high standards, we offer our customers peace of mind that your best interests are at the heart of how we work.
- The Property Ombudsman
- Association of Residential Letting Agents (ARLA Propertymark)
- Client Money Protection scheme
Lettings Agents also generally have a broader range of properties, making it easier to find something which suits your requirements, tastes and budget.
At Goodfellows we always welcome the opportunity to talk to all our customers. You are welcome to drop in anytime for a coffee and a chat with our friendly team to talk through your needs and register with us.
Preparing for tenancy
Use our easy-to-navigate property listings to find homes which fit your needs and register with us to arrange viewings. Some properties are reserved at or soon after the first viewing, so if you find something you really like, you should be prepared to make a decision quickly. You can secure the property easily with a holding deposit.
Complete and return the form with original photographic identification and proof of address (e.g. utility bill).
Referencing & Right to Rent
We will carry out a right to rent check internally and referencing will be carried out by an independent specialist referencing company.
Deposit and Tenancy Agreement
We’ll pull together the tenancy agreement - an assured shorthold tenancy (AST) which provides a standard set of rights and responsibilities for all parties. Other conditions may be added into the tenancy agreement, which will be signed by you and the landlord.
You’ll also need to pay the first month’s rent and security deposit before the tenancy starts.
During the tenancy
Once the agreement has been signed and the standing order set up you may collect the keys on the day your tenancy commences. Intercounty will provide you with the Energy Performance certificate, the Landlords Gas safety certificate (if relevant), contact details for your property and any emergency contractors details.
Rent and repairs
The agreed rent must be paid on time or landlords may take court action to have tenants evicted.
Landlords are required by law to carry out repairs that keep the building in good condition, keep gas, electricity, heating and water equipment up to scratch and do other agreed work. Landlords must have a valid gas safety certificate for every gas appliance and any furniture supplied must comply with fire resistance standards.
Tenants are responsible for looking after their home, which includes keeping it clean and simple tasks such as changing bulbs and fuses and batteries for smoke alarms.
When repairs are required, you should report these to the landlord or their agent as quickly as possible. Any delay in reporting which causes additional damage to the property could be the responsibility of the tenant.
For properties managed by Goodfellows, we carry out regular property visits to check that tenants are looking after the property and that all safety measures such as smoke alarms are working correctly. We’ll arrange these with you in advance and always try to give you plenty of notice.
At the end of the tenancy
Around two months prior to the end of your fixed term we will contact you to discuss your future plans. The process is similar to the start of the original tenancy and allows further commitment, planning and budgeting for another fixed term.
Notice and eviction
A tenancy runs until it is ended by either the tenant giving notice, or the landlord serving an eviction notice. As a tenant, the amount of notice you are required to give depends on the type of tenancy you have and your individual tenancy agreement. During the fixed term period of your tenancy, you can usually only end your tenancy early if the tenancy agreement has a break clause.
Providing there is no rent owing, and no cleaning or repairs are needed, your security deposit will be returned to you in full. If cleaning or repairs are required, these will be agreed between you and the landlord and the cost deducted from your deposit, with the balance returned to you.