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Been living with relatives since September 2007 when we sold to 'rent'. Things have become a little strained of late as we seem to have been here a little longer than we intended.

We are about to move into rented accommodation in the hope that house prices will continue to fall and that we will be able to afford suitable accommodation for our family but there are a few things that we're unclear about as regards 'real renting'.

In terms of length of contracts, what is the standard period. Is it usually 12 months or is it possible to arrange a 6 month agreement? If an affordable house does come up in the meantime, how easy is it to wriggle out of the contract? I suspect that it's all down to the landlord but I'd appreciate opinions and experiences on these issues.

Also, haggling on price. Is it wise and how much can you expect to knock off the asking price? is it really a 'buyers' market out there?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

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Been living with relatives since September 2007 when we sold to 'rent'. Things have become a little strained of late as we seem to have been here a little longer than we intended.

We are about to move into rented accommodation in the hope that house prices will continue to fall and that we will be able to afford suitable accommodation for our family but there are a few things that we're unclear about as regards 'real renting'.

In terms of length of contracts, what is the standard period. Is it usually 12 months or is it possible to arrange a 6 month agreement? If an affordable house does come up in the meantime, how easy is it to wriggle out of the contract? I suspect that it's all down to the landlord but I'd appreciate opinions and experiences on these issues.

Also, haggling on price. Is it wise and how much can you expect to knock off the asking price? is it really a 'buyers' market out there?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

These are just my opinion and others will disagree,

Always try to haggle on price. Depending upon the property, you should be able to get between 5-10% off without too much stress if you can provide Property Bee evidence that similar places have been advertised and failed to get let. People hate voids so showing a similar place being empty for a few months should warn them off attempting to get the same price.

Private sector rental contracts are typically 6 or 12 months, any place offering monthly rolling contracts would probably be aiming at students or similar etc.

Always try to meet your LL half way on things to get cooperation. It's a business deal after all. Why would the LL want to screw you and vice-versa? In other business transactions, suppliers and customers don't try to screw each other at every opportunity. He will be more inclined to help if things go wrong in the place if you are on good terms.

If you did want to leave mid-term, make some concessions. Perhaps offer to pay the rental until he finds another tenant, rather then until the end of the term or you pay for adverts or marketing of the place. Remember, you are obliged to pay until the end of the term of contract. Your LL should not be out of pocket because you've changed your mind.Another thing to remember, all he's interested in is the money every month. If he gets the same money without putting in any extra effort, then he's hardly likely to care if a new tenant is in the place. You could always say that the market is going up and you want to buy a house. Say you also think that rents are going up and he might be happy to re-advertise at a higher rate..

Hope this makes sense, typing in a hurry and no time to check it.

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These are just my opinion and others will disagree,

Always try to haggle on price. Depending upon the property, you should be able to get between 5-10% off without too much stress if you can provide Property Bee evidence that similar places have been advertised and failed to get let. People hate voids so showing a similar place being empty for a few months should warn them off attempting to get the same price.

Private sector rental contracts are typically 6 or 12 months, any place offering monthly rolling contracts would probably be aiming at students or similar etc.

Always try to meet your LL half way on things to get cooperation. It's a business deal after all. Why would the LL want to screw you and vice-versa? In other business transactions, suppliers and customers don't try to screw each other at every opportunity. He will be more inclined to help if things go wrong in the place if you are on good terms.

If you did want to leave mid-term, make some concessions. Perhaps offer to pay the rental until he finds another tenant, rather then until the end of the term or you pay for adverts or marketing of the place. Remember, you are obliged to pay until the end of the term of contract. Your LL should not be out of pocket because you've changed your mind.Another thing to remember, all he's interested in is the money every month. If he gets the same money without putting in any extra effort, then he's hardly likely to care if a new tenant is in the place. You could always say that the market is going up and you want to buy a house. Say you also think that rents are going up and he might be happy to re-advertise at a higher rate..

Hope this makes sense, typing in a hurry and no time to check it.

Thanks for that, some really interesting and useful points there that I hadn't really considered. We've never rented before and are going into it a bit hastily so I'd rather hear the opinions of others who have rented as opposed to that of the Letting Agency / Landlord. Cheers.

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Been living with relatives since September 2007 when we sold to 'rent'. Things have become a little strained of late as we seem to have been here a little longer than we intended.

We are about to move into rented accommodation in the hope that house prices will continue to fall and that we will be able to afford suitable accommodation for our family but there are a few things that we're unclear about as regards 'real renting'.

In terms of length of contracts, what is the standard period. Is it usually 12 months or is it possible to arrange a 6 month agreement? If an affordable house does come up in the meantime, how easy is it to wriggle out of the contract? I suspect that it's all down to the landlord but I'd appreciate opinions and experiences on these issues.

Also, haggling on price. Is it wise and how much can you expect to knock off the asking price? is it really a 'buyers' market out there?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Here in Oxford, contracts seem to be 12 months, but I would try to negotiate a six-month contract if you're looking to buy in the near future (although be aware that it could mean that your contract comes to an end in December, which is a hideous time to move or to find a new tenant). You're committed to the tenancy to the end of the contract, but most landlords will be happy for you to move out as long as you pay until they find another tenant.

Rents have definitely been falling, often due to so-called "accidental landlords" (people who can't sell their houses and are now renting them out). It's supposed to be a renters' market, but whether the landlord is open to haggling on the rent often depends on how long the property has been on the market and how desperate the landlord is to get a tenant in. I tried to negotiate with our current landlord for either a reduction in the rent or a rolling contract as my boyfriend and I are splitting up and I was looking to buy somewhere soon, but the landlord is insisting on another 12-month contract at the same rent because they think they can get this with a new tenant. So I'm moving out. There have only been 3 viewings so far in the 3 weeks the house has been on the market and we only have about a month left to run on our contract, so I'll be interested to see if they find someone or if they end up with a void period.

All of this is a long-winded way of saying, landlords with empty houses will be more open to negotiating on the rent. Landlords advertising a place that's still tenanted will probably prefer to hang on and see if they can get the full rent they are asking for - but it's always worth trying to haggle, especially if you are willing to walk away if they won't match your price. Another thing you could consider would be haggling on agents' fees - some of them are just extortionate.

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We tend to negotiate a 1 year lease with a six month break clause, with one months notice. Be careful when negotiating the break clause because I've found agents to be unreliable when drawing up the contract. If you are asked to pay a fee to "reserve" the property you need to make sure that this is subject to the contract being satisfactory.

After the one year contract is over then we don't sign another contract and automatically move onto a periodic tenancy with one months notice.

Also watch out for LL's who serve a S21 notice at the start of the tenancy and specifically ask if they intend to serve one and if they do, what purpose it serves. There has been some debate here on notice periods from the LL if this is served and I've not tested this in court as yet.

In my part of London we have a "renters market" and the weekly prices have already fallen in the block of flats I live in. Negotiating the rent is part of the process at the start. The LL wants a tenant as soon as the property becomes empty (well normally...) and there is room for negotiation particularly if you are in a flexible position. I'm not sure if that rental decrease is at all parts of the market here though. There may be less room for negotiation at lower levels, I'm not sure.

Edited by Flopsy

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