1. Always use an agent who is regulated by a professional body - preferably ARLA, or RICS or NAEA.
2. Give as much information on your requirements as possible when registering your details with a Letting Agency. This might include start date, anticipated lease length, size, location, permission for pets etc. and will help the agent find you a suitable property quickly.
3. Ask to see a copy of a draft tenancy agreement when you are paying the holding deposit. This will ensure that you are fully aware of the terms you will be asked to sign against, such as the notice period.
4. Ask to see a full breakdown of charges that you will be liable for before, during and after the tenancy. This can include possible charges for check out, renewing your lease, or requesting a reference for your next tenancy.
5. Enquire as to whether a third party independent professional clerk will be undertaking a professional inventory and check in & out for the tenancy as this provides an impartial and thorough benchmark for the condition of the property.
6. It is a good idea to take out a tenant's contents insurance policy that covers accidental damage to landlord's fixtures & fittings. Get some quotes but it should not cost anymore then a standard contents insurance policy.
7. During your tenancy make sure any requests and permissions are recorded in writing or email. This provides a paper trail in the event of a dispute or misunderstanding.
8. Find out if the Agent has an 'out of hours' emergency number. Who will be managing the property - a local office or is it out sourced to an office out of area?
9. When preparing for check out follow the guidelines provided by your Landlord/Agent and refer to your check in report to make sure the property is being returned (allowing for wear and tear) in the same condition. If it is noted as professionally cleaned make sure it is returned to the same standard. Provide your Agent/Landlord with your bank details and forwarding address so your deposit can be returned as smoothly and efficiently as possible.
10. Rent through an agent with a reliable & trustworthy reputation locally. It will make the experience, be it long or short term, much more enjoyable and less stressful.
For further advice please contact Emma Gasson on 01892 525522 or email firstname.lastname@example.org