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    Whether you're a student or graduate, you are likely to be renting a property at some point, so how do we make sure we get the best deal for our money and keep ourselves protected?

    Let me know your questions and tips below, and I'll add them to the OP as we go

    Choosing the property:

    - Where did you see this property advertised? Was it a reliable source? I often find rightmove and rightmove students is the best place to look
    - What's the location like? E.g links to public transport, near shops, crime rates which may affect car and home insurance
    - Is it a shared house/flat or sole tenancy?
    - What's the price e.g cost per month, does this include bills, council tax etc.
    - When do you need to make payments? E.g weekly, monthly, termly
    - When does the tenancy start?
    - when does the tenancy end? Is it on a rolling contract e.g of a month/3 months
    - What is the cost of the deposit?
    - Are there any admin fees, such as for contracts and guarantor?
    - Is there available parking?
    - What are the facilities like, e.g ensuite, kitchen size
    - Is it furnished, part furnished, or unfurnished - and what does the furnished/part furnished include?

    Viewing the property:

    It is important to view the property if possible, as photos can be rather deceiving.

    - Take a note pad to write down details, don't rely on memory!
    - Take your own photos to look back on and show family/friends
    - Is the landlord or agency on the national landlord association scheme?
    - Is the deposit in one of the deposit protection schemes?
    - Does the landlord have electrical and gas safety certificates?
    - If an appliance breaks, such as a washing machine, who is responsible to sort this? How would you go about contacting them to sort this?
    - Will there be any cleaning costs?
    - How many sets of keys will I get? Can you get more cut?
    - Is there a lock on the bathroom, bedroom etc.?

    If you have happy with the property:
    - When can you move in?
    - When will you have to make the first payment by?

    Don't be worried about asking 'stupid' questions, it's better to ask sooner rather than later.

    Moving in:

    - Take photos of any marks or damage which is already there, ensuring you have proof of the date it was taken, to make sure you aren't charged for anything after you move out!

    Bills/extras:

    You may have bills included, in which case you are probably set to go, as long as you are using this reasonably. Check this includes items such as internet, and how much/the speed of this is.

    If you have a pre-pay meter to pay for gas and electricity, make sure you have topped this up. Make sure you know how to top this up and have a card in your own name as you cannot use one from a previous tenant. It might be best to put more on than you think you need, as you should be able to claim any remaining money on this back if you move out - and you don't want to run out of electricity/gas at midnight when shops may be shut!

    - Check if you need to pay council tax
    - Check if you need internet
    - Check if you need a TV license
    - Check if you want home insurance

    Setting up bills

    - You will need water, gas, and electricity.
    - Be aware of contracts, for example internet contracts. Don't be temped by a 9 month deal if you will only be there for 6 months.
    - Try and find out who the current providers are for the bills in the property and contact them directly to set up the payments
    - Decide whether paying how you want to pay and what they except
    - Keep an eye on out goings, make sure they are not overcharging you or undercharging you, as you might have a big bill down the line otherwise

    Moving out:

    - Cancel all bills
    - Stand your ground with your deposit and any additional charges they may try and charge you!
    - Redirect any mail
    - Leave the property in the condition you found it

    What are your tips?
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    After we got caught out recently, make sure you thoroughly clean the place before handing the keys back, we lost a bit of our deposit all because i didn't sweep the floor well enough.
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    I have a council flat; so some of the above doesn't apply to me. But when I went to look at my flat, I took my parents with me to have a look around the flat.

    We also asked if gas and electricity was pay as you go or paid monthly. It was the latter which makes life so much easier.
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    You certainly gotta be careful who you go with landlord wise as well.
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    Moving out:

    Take a time/date stamped photos of the property showing the condition before you leave. Prevents landlord claiming you've damaged something or other excuse to deduct your deposit.

    Also get photos of meter readings and receipts of last payments, so you are not hit by someone else's debts.

    Ask landlord (or rep) to come (with your deposit) and view property & confirm it is in good condition when getting deposit back.
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    Try to get a landlord rather than estate agent. The latter often make your life miserable with loads of unnecessary extra inspections, rules, checks, fees etc. They are often utter jobsworths who enjoy going on power trips. If you go directly with a landlord, obviously make sure they use the government deposit protection scheme.
    If you do go with an estate agent, be picky. Some of the bigger names can be a real pain. For instance once I viewed a house let by Haart. It took a year and a lot of angry calls before I finally got them to stop texting me daily alerts about houses in the area. Bigger franchises can be that way with your data.
    Always view a place first. Houses at lower altitude or the bottom of hills, near water, are often more likely to have damp problems. Also older houses.
    Check out the area thoroughly. My first rental was around the corner from Carrow rd stadium, and I didn't notice until after taking the property because it wasn't in sight of the house :facepalm: Had I just done a quick scan of google maps first...
    How noise sensitive are you? How much noise do you want to make? If you share a wall with another house, you're most likely going to either be driven nuts by their noise, or find that they are driven nuts by yours.

    When you begin house hunting, be prepared to face stiff competition. Try to stay in the area for a few days with a friend or in a B&B if you can't easily commute there. Be prepared to pounce on opportunities that come up, otherwise you will be outrun by other house seekers.
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    (Original post by claireestelle)
    After we got caught out recently, make sure you thoroughly clean the place before handing the keys back, we lost a bit of our deposit all because i didn't sweep the floor well enough.
    We all had posters up in one of our student houses and blutac always leaves a mark when you get rid of it. One of my housemates got charged £40 PER WALL, total of £120. Two of us actually ended up repainting our rooms so the same didn't happen to us.

    Another time it was nearly the end of term and we'd hosted a lot of parties/predrinks so built up a collection of glass bottles, we always kept them in the back out of the way and got rid when term had ended. Never had a problem in 2 years until one day we get an email from the estate agent saying we had 24hrs notice to remove them or they'd charge us £2 PER BOTTLE. Cue 6 angry emails from all of us and suddenly the threat was dropped. Cheeky ****ers.

    Now upfront agent fees are getting banned i'm sure they'll think up even more ways to rob you of your deposit.
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    Look up 'Command strips' on Amazon for ways to stick things on walls without leaving marks :yy:
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    We had some problems when setting up bills in my current place:
    - got chased for someone elses bill. We sent a copy of tenancy stating when I moved in. Company went quiet and we assumed that was it. No, they passed the debt on to a debt collection agency.
    - The company we went with, didn't believe this was a private property rather than a business.
 
 
 
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