Choosing a rental property
It is highly beneficial to visit any prospective rental property in order to gather as much information as possible and allow you to make a much more informed choice. It is recommended that you visit the property at least twice on different days and at different times such as in the morning and evening.
Points to consider when renting:
- Prior to beginning your search for a property it is essential to calculate how much you can afford to spend on rent per month.
- Calculate your average monthly income.
- Calculate your total monthly outgoings. Include utility charges, phone and internet bills, travel expenses, TV bills and subscriptions, groceries, entertainment, insurance (house, content, health, and car), credit and loan repayments etc.
- Incomings – outgoings = approx amount available to spend on rent.
Types of accommodation
There are a number of different rental options available:
- Single tenancy is for those wishing to rent independently and live on their own. You have more control over the length of the tenancy and do not have to share the property with other tenants.
- A shared tenancy is suitable for those who wish to rent a property with other tenants. Each tenant will have a bedroom and share the communal living areas, kitchen and bathroom.
- Lodging involves renting a room in someone’s home and is suitable for those who wish to live somewhere on a temporary basis.
When deciding where you would like to live, consider a number of factors:
- Transport – if you rely on public transport then good road and rail access is essential. However, if you are looking for a quiet location, ensure you are remote enough from major roads, railways and airports.
- Ask yourself some questions:
- How easily would you get to work?
- Are there any major traffic problems in the area?
- What public transport is available locally?
- Crime – this comes in many different forms, from graffiti to burglaries and it is often difficult to ascertain the crime levels within an area. Possible ways to discover crime levels are to:
- Read local newspapers to learn more about activities in the area.
- Speak to neighbours, friends or family who are familiar with the area.
- Visit the Northern Ireland Neighbourhood Information Service website.
- Local facilities – depending on your specific needs and choice of lifestyle, it is important to check whether local amenities are suitable to your preferences. If you enjoy an active lifestyle, you may wish to live near a leisure facility, a gym or perhaps a park. If you have children you may be motivated to be near a playground, library, youth club, playschool etc.
- Neighbours – talk to people who live in the area or introduce yourself to the neighbours to try and determine what the people in the area are like. No one wants to find their perfect home and have problematic neighbours to contend with.
It is highly beneficial to visit any prospective rental property in order to gather as much information as possible and allow you to make a much more informed choice.
The following is a checklist of questions that you might consider asking yourself and the agent:
- Will the property be furnished? If yes, then check to ensure that the furniture is in a good condition. If not, is there enough room for your furniture?
- Are there enough rooms? Bathrooms, bedrooms, storage space etc.
- Does the property have adequate security? Check for door locks, window locks, security alarms etc.
- Check all appliances – are they in correct working order?
- Pay particular attention to all domestic and electrical devices, heating, lighting and plumbing.
- Are there enough power points, telephone points and TV aerial sockets?
- Are there car parking facilities?
- On average, how much are the heating / electric bills?
- How much are the rates and are they included in the monthly cost?
- Who are the current tenants? – ask them a few questions regarding the neighbours, noise, the area etc.