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Navigating the UK Rental Market: First Time Renter Tips

Apr 26th 2024

Moving out for the first time is an exciting prospect, however, navigating the UK rental market is not without its challenges. There’s plenty of important things to consider, and managing your own finances for the first time can be challenging, as you’ll have to factor in paying monthly rent, utility bills and so forth. 

Whilst there’s a lot to think about, taking on board guidance from property experts such as ourselves, will ease the process of finding and moving into your first rental property. 

In this guide, we have put together some useful first time renter tips so you don’t have to feel intimidated! 

first time renter tips

Decide On Your Budget 

When you apply for a rental property, a letting agent will look closely at your finances to determine your affordability to rent.

So prior to beginning your rental property search, you should take into account your salary and work out how much you can afford to spend each month. Research shows that you shouldn’t spend more than 30 to 35% of your income on rent. 

Remember, you will need to factor in other monthly payments such as council tax, utility bills, phone bills, monthly subscriptions and more on top of your rental price. It’s also likely that you will have to pay a tenancy deposit and holding fee to secure an apartment. 

As a first time renter you may have insufficient earnings or little credit history, so it can be hard to prove your affordability to rent. 

In this case, a letting agency will often request you have a guarantor, who is someone that will agree to pay your rent if you can’t. 

budget for a rental property

Establish Your Search Criteria

With thousands of UK rental properties on the market, knowing exactly what you’re looking for can really speed up the process. 

We’d suggest taking note of your desired preferences for your first rental property, have a think about whether you’re best suited for an unfurnished or furnished property, whether you’re looking for onsite parking, or a property close by to transport links and so forth. 

The location of a property is also something you should carefully consider when looking for a rental property. Are you after a property which is close by to a city center, or are you keen to be away from the hustle and bustle? 

If you’re planning for a pet to move in with you, this is also something you need to ensure that the property/landlord allows too, as not all rental properties will accept pets. 

Making a list of your essential criteria will really help to narrow down your options as you can filter out properties that aren’t suited to what you need, and instead find a property that suits your lifestyle. 

You can use our rental search and adjust the filters to suit your needs. 

search criteria for rental property

Arrange Viewings 

Once you’ve found some properties which match your criteria and you’re interested in, you should arrange viewings so that you can see the property in person and get a real feel for it. 

After all, this could be your future home so you want to make sure that it’s a perfect fit, and attending a viewing gives you the opportunity to ask any questions you may have. 

Some questions that you may want to ask when attending a viewing for a rental property may include, “How long is the contract?” or “What notice period is needed If I want to vacate the property”. 

property viewing

Check Your Right To Rent In The UK

Before the start of a new tenancy, a landlord or letting agent will need to confirm you have the right immigration status and are allowed to rent in England, this is called a Right To Rent check. 

If you’re a British or Irish citizen, you will be able to prove your right to rent by providing a copy of your passport or citizenship certificate. Having this ready ahead of time prior to the pre-tenancy checks will help to speed up the process. 

If you were not born in the UK but are currently living here, you will have to provide information regarding your immigration status in order to rent a property. 

More information on proving your right to rent can be found on the government website.

right to rent in the uk

Applying For A Property 

Once you find your dream home, we recommend acting fast and paying a holding deposit to secure the property as the rental market moves quickly. 

It’s not as simple as applying for a property and being given the keys the following day, you will need to meet a certain criteria, go through pre-tenancy checks, and provide identification. 

As we mentioned early, your affordability criteria will be assessed to make sure you can cover the rent, and a credit check will be carried out to see if you’ve had any problems with paying bills in the past, or if you have any CCJ (County Court Judgments) against you. 

If you fail a credit check, this doesn’t necessarily mean you won’t be accepted, you may be able to pay rent upfront, or provide a guarantor who can pay on your behalf if you can’t, or do not pay. 

After completing the paperwork and being accepted to rent the property, the next steps would be to sign the tenancy agreement and pay the tenancy deposit. 

applying for a rental property

Signing The Tenancy Agreement 

A tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract between you and the landlord, so you should make sure to read this document carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities before signing. 

The tenancy agreement will set out the legal obligations you and your landlord will need to adhere to throughout your tenancy, such as your right to occupy the property and your landlord’s right to receive rent for letting out the accommodation. 

The main things you need to check in your tenancy agreement are the names listed, the rent, bills and council tax, the deposit, charges and fees, as well as the fixed terms and break clauses. 

Once you have thoroughly read through your tenancy agreement and checked all the necessary information, only then should you sign it. 

signing a tenancy agreement

So there we have it, the end of our guide on navigating the UK Rental Market. We hope our first time renter tips have helped to ease the pressure, but if you do have any more queries do not hesitate to get in touch with us via hello@X1management.com

If you’re looking for a rental property in the UK, here at X1 Sales & Lettings we offer accommodation in some of the country’s major cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds and Kent. 

Read next: X1’s Official Guide To The Spring Budget 2024.

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