Looking for a new home can be frustrating and stressful, especially if you get a few knock backs from landlords along the way. Here are some ideas to help your search for a new home go as smoothly as possible.
Make sure you have all the information you need before you start looking, including;
-Which landlords and letting agents might accept a Bond Guarantee.
-How much rent you can afford.
-How much you would get from Housing Benefit/Universal Credit.
-How much the Bond Guarantee is.
-Which areas would be suitable for you to live in.
-How many bedrooms you need.
-How to contact us if you see a property you are interested in.
-Be prepared to answer questions from landlords and letting agents about why you need to move and have The Bond Board contact details ready to give them.
-Make sure you have proof of your income ready (such as benefit letters or wage slips). You will need these if you accept a property and want to claim Housing Benefit/Housing Costs from Universal Credit.
-You will also need to show the landlord/Letting Agent proof of your I.D. This is now required by law for everyone moving into a private rented property. See our TOP TIPS for Private Renting here for further information.
-Have a list of questions ready to ask the landlord about the property, before you arrange to view it, for example;
Where is the property?
When is it available?
How much is the rent?
How many bedrooms does it have?
Does it need any work doing to it?
Do you accept people claiming Housing Benefit/Universal Credit?
How much Bond do you want?
Would I need to pay rent in advance and/or administration fees?
Do you accept Bond Guarantees from The Bond Board?
You may find a landlord who hasn’t heard of The Bond Board. If they seem interested, ask if it would be ok for us to ring them on your behalf and give us the details. We can explain what we do and try to get you a viewing.
Be prepared for some knock-backs. Some landlords and agents won’t let to people claiming benefits or without cash up-front. Unfortunately, even though we know you’d make a great tenant, sometimes there is nothing you or we can do to convince them. Don’t give up your search if you do get a refusal, be positive and carrying on looking.
Ok, so you’ve got all the information you need, now it’s time to start looking for properties and contacting landlords. Here are some tips to help you;
-Check The Bond Board website here and noticeboards in our office for available properties, at least once a week. You can also give us a call or pop into the office.
-In Rochdale, come to our Quids In coffee mornings every 2 weeks. We can let you know about any available properties whilst you have a brew.
-Check websites like Rightmove and Zoopla, noticeboards in shops and supermarkets and adverts in local papers.
-Ask around to find out if any of your friends or family know of any landlords with properties to rent.
-You could let people know what you’re looking for free on websites such as Facebook, Twitter and Gumtree.
-If you are interested in a property with a Letting Agent, try to call in to their office in person and ask about it. Most Letting Agents want to meet you before arranging a viewing of the property and they will probably want to ask you some questions about your situation.
-If you are meeting landlords and letting agents try to make a good impression by arriving on time, look as clean and smart as possible and be polite, even if they say no. Another property might become available with the same agent or landlord in the near future, so it is a good idea to keep on good terms with them. If you arrange to view a property and can’t make it, let the landlord or agent know.
Now you’ve got a viewing, it’s important to keep a level head. When you desperately need a home, it can be tempting to accept the first property that is available, but don’t rush into it and then regret it later. Here are some things to consider when viewing a property to make sure you get one that you will be happy to make your home;
Look at the outside of the property. Are there any broken windows, loose/missing roof tiles, broken or leaking gutters and pipes?
Does the inside of the property look well cared for with a decent kitchen and bathroom?
Does the property look, feel or smell damp? (Look for stains and mould on the walls and ceilings and walls that feel wet).
Does it have central heating?
Do the wiring and electric sockets look modern (check for loose sockets)
Turn on the taps-are they working? Is the water hot?
Flush the toilet to check it works and is not blocked.
Is there enough natural and artificial light?
Has the landlord got a current Gas Safety Certificate?
Could you easily escape from the property if there was a fire and are there smoke alarms fitted on each floor?
Check the external doors and locks to make sure the property is secure.
Ask about any furniture or white goods like cookers and fridges you see in the property. Are they part of the let or will the landlord be removing them?
Does the landlord seem approachable, friendly and professional? This can be hard to judge during a viewing, but if you get a sense that there might be a problem, discuss it with us before accepting the property.
Never sign a tenancy agreement at the viewing. Take some time to think about it first. If you do decide to take the property, let us know. The Bond Board will need to speak to the landlord and agree everything before you move in.