I’ve got to move house and will be renting somewhere on my own for the first time.
It’s exciting but there’s so much to think about and I’m worried things could go
wrong. Do you have any tips or advice on what I should do when looking for a new
home?

Whether you’re renting on your own or with other people, one of the first decisions to make
is whether you want to rent directly from a landlord or through a letting agent.
Renting directly from a landlord might mean you have less to pay before moving in, fewer
references and you might not need to do a credit check. Alternatively, renting through a
letting agent means that if they manage the property they’ll liaise with the landlord about any
repairs that need doing on your behalf. However, if a letting agent behaves badly and you
believe they’re at fault you can complain to their independent complaints body, known as
‘redress scheme’.

There are lots of websites you can use to find somewhere to rent but if you can’t look online,
you could visit a local estate agent or ask friends and family to help you. When you’re
looking, remember, never pay any money before you’ve seen the property and if you can
take someone with you when viewing properties.

Avoid renting directly from an existing tenant, this is called ‘subletting’ and the tenant might
not have the landlord’s permission to rent to you, which could cause problems down the line.
If a tenant is showing you around the property on behalf of the landlord they should give you
the landlord’s contact details.

To make sure the property you’re going to rent is safe, affordable and meets your needs, ask
the landlord or letting agent some key questions. For example, how much rent is and how it
should be paid, if the rent includes any bills, how long the tenancy is, if there’s the
opportunity to renew and if there’s a break clause in case you need to end the tenancy early.

Check if you’ll need to pay a holding deposit while the landlord carries out pre-tenancy
checks, this can’t be more than a week’s rent and should be returned to you at the start of
the tenancy. You should also ask your landlord or letting agent what documents you’ll need
to provide when you agree to rent the property including evidence of your Right to Rent.

Before you go ahead, ask how your tenancy deposit will be protected, if any furniture or
appliances are included in the tenancy and, if relevant, whether you can have pets. You
should also request any obvious problems with the property are fixed before you move in.

If a landlord refuses to rent to you because of who you are, this may be discrimination. For
instance because of your race, religion or sexual orientation. A ‘no kids policy’ or refusing to
rent to you because you get benefits could also be discrimination. You only need to tell a
landlord or letting agent you receive benefits if they ask. Some may then require a guarantor
as security if you have no renting history, or if they feel you may have trouble paying rent.

They can still refuse to rent to you if they think you won’t be able to afford it.

Remember, if you need any other pointers or advice on renting or you run into any problems,
you can contact Citizens Advice for help.

Please Note

Our Bolton office will be closed Monday – Wednesday for the foreseeable, we are still open on Thursdays and Fridays.

Should you require advice, you can reach our advice line service on 0808 278 7804.

Emergency contact details for local authorities in both Bury and Bolton are as follows:

Bolton – https://www.bolton.gov.uk/council/emergency-contacts

Bury – https://www.bury.gov.uk/emergencies/emergency-contact-numbers

Apologies for any inconvenience caused.

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