Renting a home for the first time: Seven tips you need to know

Renting a home for the first time: Seven tips you need to know
The English Housing Survey, published in January, revealed that a huge 46% of 25-34-year-olds were living in private rented accommodation. Ten years ago, that figure was 27%.

All of which shows just how the rise and rise in property values have priced a generation out of homeownership.

Renting, though, brings with it huge benefits. Flexibility for one and also the peace of mind that if something goes wrong, it's your landlord's responsibility to sort it out.

But if you are a rookie tenant and about to start searching for your first home, there are things you need to know and things you should do.

Follow our first-time renters guide to ensure you are fully prepared.


Most first-time renters have a good idea of the kind of monthly rent they can afford. But many are shocked at the other costs associated with renting a home.

Referencing fees, administration costs and a hefty deposit all need to be factored in when you are looking to rent a property.

Planning your budget with these costs in place will mean you are prepared for what kind of property is achievable and what isn't.


Using property portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla can be a good place to start your rental property search. These sites will give you an idea of what's available in your area and what kind of price you could be facing.

However, if the rental market in your area is moving quickly, the best place to get up-to-date information on properties available to rent is through a local agent's website.

Martin & Co Camberley's site contains the latest properties on the rental market and includes full details on monthly asking rent and all fees involved. You can also book a viewing or request more details with the click of a button.


Embarking on your property search will be both nerve-racking and exciting. But it's important not to get too caught up in the emotion of property hunting. Look at the properties you view with one eye on practicality as well as its desirable features.

Consider the location and look around the area. Think about how your things would work in each property. But don't dither, either. In a strong rental market, taking too long to make a decision could cost you your ideal home.


Referencing is one of the most important parts of the renting process. It can pay to prepare in advance for this.

Most estate agents use an external referencing agency to undertake checks on prospective tenants.

In order to keep the process moving smoothly, advise your employers that they will need to provide a reference for you. This is just one part of the process.

The most important aspect is the affordability criteria. The standard calculation is that your monthly gross salary is 2.5 times the monthly rent. So to rent a flat costing £800 per month, you'd need to have a monthly gross salary of £2,000.

Do this test yourself when you find a property - if you can't afford it, move on.


Once you have found a property, passed the referencing criteria and signed the tenancy agreement, it's worth looking at contents insurance for all your lovely things once you move in.

Like most people, you probably think 'it would never happen to me' but the truth is, accidents do happen. It's a fact. But having adequate contents cover is a small price to pay for peace of mind should something go badly wrong.


It's amazing how many tenants fail to property read their tenancy agreements. This is the one single document that outlines everything that is expected of you as a tenant.

Knowing this key information can ensure your tenancy is hassle-free. It can also mean you are far more likely to receive your deposit back in full at the end if you have met all your obligations.

The inventory report is just as important. The last thing you want is to be held responsible for damage you had nothing to do with. Go around the property on moving-in day with the inventory and check everything is as it should be.


Once you have moved in, keep those lines of communication open either with the property's managing agent or with the landlord directly. Report any problems right away and don't allow issues to fester.

If you are struggling to pay the rent, get in touch with your agent or landlord to talk openly about the options available to you. Being up front and honest from day one is crucial to ensuring your tenancy runs as smoothly as possible.

Are you a first-time renter in Camberley? Pop into Martin & Co to look at our extensive list of properties available and see how we can get you into your dream rental home.