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How to be a happy in your rental home

Is renting the new buying? With house prices constantly on the rise and supply failing to match demand, many more of us are turning to the rented sector.

To help, we've put together some steps for before, during and towards the end of your tenancy to help ensure that you're happy in your home and can make the most of renting a property.

Before your tenancy

Before you browse the internet for your next home, you will need to decide what exactly what it is you want from your property. Are you looking for a short term tenancy while you save up for a mortgage? Do you wish to live closer to work in order to reduce your commuting time? Or are you looking for a place to grow into with your young family?

Deciding upon the fundamentals will help you determine whether you will require a garden, a car parking space or a spare bedroom, for example, could you reduce your rental payments by putting some things into storage for a few months and signing a tenancy for a smaller property?

1. Do you research

If you're planning on starting a family, choosing a home close to a good school will no doubt be a priority. The Good Schools Guide allows you to type in a postcode and it will return results detailing the local schools by location.

Living close to parks, local amenities and on good transport links will also be something to consider, especially if you could save some money by walking or cycling to work.

2. Check your contract

With any contract, you should be reading the small print on your tenancy agreement and asking the letting agent or landlord to clarify any points or answer any questions you may have.

For an in depth guide on your responsibilities as a tenant and what you can expect from your landlord, read our article Renting Tips for Tenants.

During your tenancy

1. Get to grips with your inventory

On the day you move in, remember to complete the inventory provided by your landlord or the agent. Taking photos of any marks or damage previously undisclosed will ensure that you have evidence when it comes to the receiving your full deposit back at the end of your tenancy.

Top Tip - Take the photos or even better, a video on a smart phone and email the images to yourself and the agent so that you have a record to refer to at a later date.

2. Get on top of the bills

If possible setting up a direct debit so that all of your bills come out of your bank account on the same day (ideally payday), will mean that you never miss a payment and budgeting for the rest of the month should become slightly more achievable.

What's more, if you are renting but also saving for a deposit for a house, ensuring that the standing order for your savings is processed on the same day, will go towards preventing any sneaky impulse buys later in the month.

3. Make the place YOUR home

Just because your name isn't on the mortgage, doesn't mean that you can't make the rental property feel like home. From choosing colourful cushions and throws to brightening the room with a gorgeous bunch of flowers, there are lots of ways you can transform the space into your own.

For lots more ideas, check out this post on how to personalise your rental home without losing your deposit.

4. Obey the rules and keep in touch

If your tenancy explicitly states 'no pets' but you're longing for the joy of a furry friend, make sure you contact your landlord BEFORE you hand in your notice.

You never know, if you invite your landlord round to the property, prove that you are brilliant tenants through a tidy home and garden, pay your rent on time each month and are quick with replying to any communications from your landlord or agent, they may just reconsider. Plus they might even want to pop round and meet the new addition themselves!

Top Tip - If you're desperate for a dog, explain that you will be enrolling in behaviour classes too! This was your landlord will know that you're serious about respecting their property even with a new pet in the family.

Ending your tenancy

1. Observe your notice period

When you do decide to move home make sure to give your landlord the required notice period as stated in your contact. If on the other hand, you would like to stay in the property longer than the fixed period which your initial tenancy agreement states, then make sure you speak to your landlord about a new agreement for another fixed period.

This is to protect your rights going forward as without a new contract, you will become a periodic tenant.

2. Ensure you get your deposit back

Naturally, you should leave your property in the exact same standard as when you found it on the first day of your tenancy. Getting down on your hands and knees to scrub the oven and deep clean the carpets will all be worth it when you receive your full deposit back! Win, win win!

If you would like advice on your tenancy or help with searching for your dream home, contact your local Martin & Co branch here, who will be more than happy to help.

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