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New To Renting.....advice Needed


equitystasher
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After STRing and moving back in with parents in June I am now looking for a two bedroom flat to rent with my girlfriend in the Brighton area.

Having not rented before I have looked through this forum and at the shelter/citizens advice to try and get a feel for what its all about.

I am looking to rent longer than 6 months so I assume this classes as a long term rent agreement. There seems to be plenty of information on AST as the majority seem to enter into this. Is this for a particular reason that is in the renters best interest? Ideally I would like a term of a year at least as I want a bit of stability so any advice on long term contracts (if this applies) would be very helpful.

Also bearing in mind I am a complete novice other advice that you may think will be of use to a novice will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

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After STRing and moving back in with parents in June I am now looking for a two bedroom flat to rent with my girlfriend in the Brighton area.

Having not rented before I have looked through this forum and at the shelter/citizens advice to try and get a feel for what its all about.

I am looking to rent longer than 6 months so I assume this classes as a long term rent agreement. There seems to be plenty of information on AST as the majority seem to enter into this. Is this for a particular reason that is in the renters best interest? Ideally I would like a term of a year at least as I want a bit of stability so any advice on long term contracts (if this applies) would be very helpful.

Also bearing in mind I am a complete novice other advice that you may think will be of use to a novice will be appreciated.

Thanks in advance.

Three thoughts:

Take your time when viewing flats; take some photos for reference and test all the fixtures, doors, windows etc. If there's something broken when you look round, chances are excellent that it'll still be broken when you move in, unless you raise the issue early.

AST for 1 year should be easy to get. Sometimes a contract will have a break clause (often at 6 months) that allows both T & LL to escape from the contract if things aren't working out.

If you rent through an agent, ask for a sample contract before handing over any money, and get a list of all their fees (including renewal fees up front). Read the contract carefully, and find out what your responsibilities are. Get any unenforceable rubbish struck out before you sign.

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Try to find a LL who is either a professional who manages several properties, or ideally a not-for-profit organisation (e.g. a building conservation trust). Steer clear of BTLers with one or two flats if possible. If you have to go with one, demand proof that their mortgage is a kosher BTL mortgage (i.e. that they're not illegally renting out a property that they've bought on an OO mortgage). Also, ask around other tenants locally for word on the street as to which LLs and letting agents have a good reputation among their customers and who are the cowboys.

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Always get a 6 month break clause, so if you don't want to stay you won't get penalised. Try to only use letting agents who are in ARLA. Ask about upfront fees, but don't pay more than around £150 to take on a tenancy.

For new build flats where you are the first/second ever tenant, make sure the landlord has a BTL mortgage and is reasonably solvent.

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So a AST for a year is quite common then? Does that mean that anything longer then this is counted as long term rent?I presume that if I am negotiating for a year I will be able to use this postion to haggle on the rent.

Does the letting agent have to supply information if asked on the landlord in regard to how many properties he has and whether he is a professional?

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oh yes...and what unenforceable rubbish should I be looking out for in the contract?

Read this forum, the LandlordZONE forum, and the OFT guidance on unfair terms for things to look out for.

Keep in mind that an 'unfair term' stands until successfully challenged in court, so choose your battles carefully. Most agencies would rather strike a few terms and get their fees than see you go to a competitor.

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Wish I could say something positive about Letting Agents in Brighton and Hove but I can't. Have had dealings with many hence the atitude. There are so many cowboy outfits out there. They spring up week after week.

Look out for when they say it's just a let. That means they are getting two weeks rent from the LL and charging you a fee then washing their hands of it. In fact they may only say it's a let once you've signed and handed over deposit.

Haggle on the rent there is a lot of available property out there right now. Don't let them pressurise you into taking on the tenancy too soon, if they try that tell them to stuff it. Find out if they are going to try and charge you every six months for a tenancy renewal, say you'd prefer it to lapse into a periodic.

Good luck. PM me if you have an agent in mind.

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oh yes...and what unenforceable rubbish should I be looking out for in the contract?

Anything that forces you to do maintainance of the house that is covered by section 11 of the 1985 housing act i.e.

a) to keep in repair the structure and exterior of the dwelling-house (including drains, gutters and external pipes),

(B) to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for the supply of water, gas and electricity and for sanitation (including basins, sinks, baths and sanitary conveniences, but not other fixtures, fittings and appliances for making use of the supply of water, gas or electricity), and

© to keep in repair and proper working order the installations in the dwelling-house for space heating and heating water.

Also watch out for clause that force you to redecorate, clean gutters and make you give back the property in better condition than you found it. A classic words are "return in good repair" which assumes the thing/object/whatever was in good repair when you moved in, if it was broken it sort of obliges you to mend up although hard to prove if you have a good inventory. Also when you move in, take a billion pictures on a digital camera of everything you see, put it on a CD and send it recorded delivery to the agent ASAP as proof fo condition, very useful to have when you leave. People do say digital photos can be doctors which is true but it does allow you to take 200 or so picture cheaply. Otherwise it would cost you a £100

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  • 4 weeks later...
The LA dont need to supply any info about the LL financial setup at all.

Not sure what you mean by this.

It could equaly be argued that there is nothing in law that requires tennants to give their financial details either, but it is common parctice to credit check tennants, and tennants provide details because they want the tennancy

Equaly There is no reason why a tennant should NOT ask for proof that the LL is legaly entitled to let the property. Of course it's up to the LL if they decide to provide it, but if they want to let the property to an otherwise willing tennant, then they will probably provide it.

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