Real Estate Guide 2010: Finding rental property – non-homeowner options
Renters have several options for locating property, each of which has their own pros and cons. Perhaps the easiest way to find property is through a rental property agency. These companies rent out, maintain and deal with any problems that tenants might have on behalf of the property owner.
The main advantage of renting through an agency is that you are generally guaranteed a comprehensive support structure if anything goes wrong with the property. The disadvantage of rental through agencies is that you pay an agency fee at the start of your rental term.
It’s also possible to rent directly through a landlord. This cuts out the middle man agency, and therefore the cost associated with this, but the level of service you receive will depend completely on your landlord and can be somewhat hit or miss. Some tenants have landlords who are extremely attentive, and are always on call to help out when something breaks down. Other landlords are less so, and can leave their tenants in the lurch. You must also be careful with regard to the payment of bills such as electricity, water, and gas, and tax; some unscrupulous landlords have been known to take advantage of naive renters by taking money from their tenants, supposedly for bills, but not actually paying them, leaving the tenant out of pocket and on the receiving disconnection notices and legal threats.
The internet has had a massive impact on the way people can find property. There are now many rental portals on the web that connect landlord, agent and tenant together. Compared to more traditional ways of finding property, such as printed newspaper classifieds, the net can bring much more detailed information to your screens. Pictures, video, even the exact location of the property can been instantly accessed using built in mapping functions, such as Google Maps.
Whether you rent through a property agent or directly from a landlord, you will normally be asked for a deposit, (usually one month’s rent) and a reference from former landlords or agents. For some agencies, you may be required to show proof of employment, though this is the exception rather than the rule.
Which rental path you take is up to you, but when viewing any potential rental property, always check the functionality of appliances, such as cookers and showers. It’s also important to ascertain what other costs might be associated with the property, such as council tax, maintenance fee for communal areas, such as gardens and hallways, and possible parking permit fees.
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