You are venturing out of your parents’ house for the first time, or have decided to look for a new place to stay. This is what you should keep in mind when looking at flats to rent:
Paperwork Make sure you have all your paperwork in order. Prospective landlords or leasing agents will require references from previous landlords, proof of income and details about your credit record.
Know how much you can afford Before you start looking at flats to rent, work out what you can afford. A guideline is never to pay more than 30% of your take-home pay. If you need a cheaper place, consider moving in with roommates. Ask about additional charges – are the water and electricity included or not? Do you have to pay extra for parking? If you really like the flat but find it too expensive, try to negotiate a better deal. Often landlords are willing to lower the rent if you sign a longer lease.
Make your list of must-haves This can save you a lot of time when you start looking at flats to rent. If you need safe parking or laundry facilities, for example, find out whether the specific facilities are available before you make a viewing appointment.
Inspect the flat carefully If there are any signs of damage, ask if it will be repaired. If not, make a list of all the problems before you move in, and send an email to the landlord. Keep a copy of this to ensure that you are not held responsible for it at the end of the lease. Also ask if you can make any changes or additions, for example extra shelves or a new carpet, and if so, if it can be claimed back from the landlord.
Read the lease Know what you’re letting yourself in for and make sure you understand everything that will be expected of you.