To rent guide


 With tough economic times and house prices plunging across the country, rental (apartment, house) living has become the norm for a number of people. Whether it is by choice or circumstance, house living has its own challenges and before you make the move here are some things to consider and tips to ensure that the move is as smooth as possible. Here under I give you some to save your time and money in the future when looking and selecting the best house or apartment for your needs.

     When you move into your new rented home you’ll want the experience to be as straightforward and stress-free as possible, so we’ve put together a guide full of advice about looking for a house to rent, rental costs, and tenancy agreements.

Most tenants will have an assured shorthold tenancy, and this gives them a number of basic rights, including the right to live in the accommodation and stop other people entering without permission, the right to have their property free from disrepair, the right to safety, such as fire resistant furniture and professionally checked gas and electrical appliances, and the right to end their tenancy agreement.

Tenants often agree extra rights with their landlord in the form of a written or verbal tenancy, but regardless of these extras a landlord cannot take away the basic legal rights of a tenant.

The following links offer more detailed information for tenants on what to consider before beginning your search for a home, what to look out for while you’re house hunting, the real cost of renting, the importance of a tenancy agreement, and what to do when you’re ready to move on.

Before You Start Looking
     Before you even begin searching for a property to rent, there are a number of things you need to consider so that you can make the right choice for your new home.

Firstly, and perhaps most importantly, you need to know exactly how much you can afford to spend on rent each month, and also make sure you have enough for utility bills such as electricity or internet.

Another important consideration is the location of the property to let; is it close to work, schools, shops, and public transport. You will also have to decide whether you want to rent a property with parking or not.

It is worth writing down exactly what you want your house or flat to include, such as whether it should be fully furnished, partially furnished, or non-furnished (which usually includes curtains and sometimes a cooker).

You should also decide whether you want the house to have central heating, fires, or storage heaters, as well as a shower, a bath, or both, and whether you want a garden, yard or an apartment with a balcony.

Finally, if you are thinking of house sharing with friends or a partner, you will need to agree on your priorities before starting to look for a house or flat. Therefore you can limit your viewing to houses that meet everyone’s needs.

Checking the rental property

     Once you enter the rental flat or rental house, carefully check its condition, for example looking for damp or cracks in the walls and ceilings, safe stairs, leaning walls, and so on. You should also check the potential rental property for signs of infestation, such as ant trails or mouse droppings. If there are any obvious problems asking the landlord or letting agent what they are going to do with it, they may offer to make the necessary repairs to the rental property before you move in. Around one million foreiners living in Vietnamese homes that are unfit for human habitation so do not hesitate to question the landlord about repairing and make sure you ask plenty of questions before handing over a deposit to rent a property.

Other basic, but extremely important considerations are: Is the house on offer warm enough, and does it have central heating or double-glazing? Has the house been burgled, and if so how many times? Does the property have an alarm, window locks and a secure door?

Finally, do not despair or get downhearted if you are spending hours or days looking for a house to rent and not finding what you want. It can take time to find your perfect one, so you'd better settle for a second-rate rental property and spend more time to have a look for somewhere satisfying you six months later.

It is vital that you are clear about what you must pay for before moving in, and how much your monthly outgoings will be. If you agree to rent a property that is out of your price range then you may fall behind on the rent and leave yourself open to eviction.

Your new landlord will probably ask you to pay a deposit which is usually the equivalent of a month’s rent. It is important to ask your landlord whether this deposit is refundable and make sure you get a receipt for it, so it can be returned when you leave.

Along with the deposit, you may also have to pay the first month’s rent in advance and pay for connection fees for the phone, gas or electricity. If a tenant has recently moved out of the property then it may just be a case of putting the utility bills in your name, but you should ask the landlord about this before signing anything.

Tenancy Agreement Explained
     A tenancy agreement is basically a contract between a tenant and a landlord, which can be in written or spoken form, and gives certain rights to both the tenant and the landlord.

Obviously the main clause in a tenancy agreement is the tenant's right to occupy the accommodation and the landlord’s right to receive rent for letting the accommodation, but most tenancy agreements have other terms too, such as a notice period for both parties concerned.

Under a basic tenancy agreement, the landlord has a responsibility to ensure the property is in good repair, with adequate water, gas, electricity, sanitation and heat. You can also ask the landlord to repair any damp, cracks in the wall and so on.

In terms of the tenant’s responsibilities within the tenancy agreement, the landlord has a right to be paid the rent on time and late or unpaid rent could result in eviction. A landlord will also expect you keep the house and any contents supplied to an acceptable condition, and this is often a standard part of a tenancy agreement.

Moving on
     Whether you’ve decided to buy your own home or have decided to move in with a friend or partner, using our guide to move on and make the experience as stress-free as possible.

The first thing you must do when you’ve decided to move out is giving the landlord a written notice for the length stated in the tenancy agreement. This is usually four weeks but check your agreement before giving notice.

You must also inform the phone, gas, water and electricity companies of your leaving date and arrange disconnection or for the bills to be transferred back into the landlord’s name. On the day you move out, remember to take final meter reading for the gas and electricity and inform the suppliers of these as soon as possible so your final bill can be processed.

If you have paid a deposit, you will need to arrange a suitable time either on the day you move out or just before or after, for the landlord to check that, beyond reasonable wear and tear, no damage has been caused to the property, fixtures or fittings. Once this has been done your landlord should return your full deposit.

Finally, arrange removal transport in advance and do not forget to send out change of address cards so your friends and family will know where to find you!