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The Masked Tulip

First Time Renting - What Is The Process

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Hi, sorry if this sound stupid but I have never rented before so what is the process once you have viewed a house? I have put some questions before which I would be grateful if some of you can answer - please supply any other tips or advice.

1. Do you always haggle the price (Rentals around my way seem to be snapped up within hours and have been so for months)

2. When do you hand over a desposit? How much is it?

3. When do you sign the contract?

4. Are contracts standard? Anything I should look out for?

5. Snaggle list - what is involved with this, who makes it up, do you simply go round with the landlord or letting aid and write down a list of obvious faults with the property, do you both sign it and keep a copy each, does this cover the outside of the property (i.e. garden, drive, walls, etc) as well as the inside?

6. Anything else obvious I have missed.

As I say, I have never rented so am a newbie to this and would welcome the advice of others on here?

Thanks,

TMT.

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1. Only if I really like the place do I offer asking. If I like it enough to live there I offer 10-20% less. Remember you can always increase your offer if LL says no. Often the agent will indicate when the LL will accept a lower offer, particularly if the property is difficult for them to shift.

2. You usually hand over the deposit at the signing of the contract, in cleared funds, so usually a bank draft. This can happen on the day you take possession but it can happen before - I prefer 1-2 weeks for peace of mind.

3. See above.

4. Contracts vary quite significantly over a standard AST. You can expect to see some clauses which would, if challenged in court, be judged unfair. I have found LAs very unwilling to change any terms in any contract, so I rely on the unfairness bit. There are so many things which could be inserted it's difficult to give a blanket list, so I recommend asking for a specimen contract ASAP to give you a good chance to read it before committing. If they are relcutant to supply this then that's a warning sign.

5. Standards of inventory also vary widely, ranging from a simple list of contents with "Good", "Fair", or "Poor" written against each item, to a listing of every single crack on each wall and floorboard. You will generally find that this will reflect with the LL sees the place as their pristine pride and joy (generally a warning sign too) or more as an asset which is going to see a bit of fair wear and tear when people live in it. If, shortly after moving in, you find something wrong which is not listed, take photos and inform the LL/LA immediately, so they can not try to charge you for it on check out. Some people recommend taking photos of everything anyway, as some cowboy LLs have been known to take the pee. This is getting more difficult for them now with the new deposit protection scheme.

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Thanks - call me stupid, but what is an AST?

Assured Shorthold Tennancy.

It's basically the first 6 months where you can't be kicked out with a Section 21 notice.

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