It’s something that more and more people – particularly the generations born from the 1970s onwards – are doing. Renting. And while, of course, it comes with its own set of advantages (less commitment, fewer up-front costs, no responsibility for upkeep and things like broken boilers), it also comes with its own problems. For some, the idea of effectively burning money every week with nothing to show for it at the end is incredibly off-putting. Then there are the rules, the contracts and the costs. You also need to make sure you’re at least a bit clued up about certain legalities – things like smoke-detectors and whose responsibility it is to install them (your landlord’s). If you’re not sure what to expect, then here is some key information to help you so that you can get packed and moved and then settle in with barely a modicum of unnecessary fuss or trouble.
The biggest charge, hitting you with all the mercilessness of an oncoming, high-speed train, will be one month’s rent plus damage deposit (the latter typically another whole month’s rent but sometimes as much as six weeks). If yours is an Assured Short-hold Tenancy then your deposit will be placed in a deposit scheme in order to protect it.
Additional charges at this stage may also include a holding fee. This is something requested by estate agents/letting agents. It will later be deducted from the rest of your moving-in costs, so it’s not an extra fee on top of all the others. However, it’s like a form of insurance for your estate agents because if you decide to drop out, they will retain it.
Next up are the agency fees you’ll be charged. These vary wildly from one letting agent to the next and can be confusing and nebulous. There’s no harm in asking for a breakdown on paper. Typically, these are charges for things like reference checks, admin, contracts, credit checks and so on.
Finally, you may be liable for the costs of a professional clean either at the start or end of your tenancy. This will be stipulated in your contract.