Every year through the summer months, thousands of young men and women scan local newspapers and pound the pavements, looking for flats and houses to rent in West Bromwich, the new university year is just around the corner. In the UK, around 20{fd391cb7062e41bc902112b5b1fb371750b02c8bd296baecdaaa7e022e76832e} of all households are rented, with a significant proportion of those being tenanted by young students about to embark on the adult phase of their education. Whether you are a young single student, or a couple or family looking for accommodation, if your name is going on the lease, consider these five tips – before signing on the dotted line.

Initial outlay

Before you look at houses to rent in West Bromwich, make sure you can cover your initial outlay. You will need your first month’s rent and your deposit, (usually the equivalent of one or two month’s rent). If renting through an agent, you will need the agent’s fee. Ask what they charge before you look at any properties. If the property you choose costs £700/month, you could end up having to pay around £2500, and that’s before you move in.

Deposit Protection Scheme

Nowadays, agents or landlords have to lodge your deposit with a third party in what is called the Deposit Protection Scheme. In the above example, that means £1400 you are entitled to get back, provided you vacate the property in the same condition as when you moved in, the lease terms have been met, and all rents and utility bills are paid up. Depending who is managing the deposit, you should receive official confirmation from the agent or landlord, with your personal code number included.

Ensure for your peace of mind

Whether you are moving into an unfurnished, part-furnished, or furnished flat or house, you need to make sure you are covered. In fact, many leases will state taking out contents insurance is a part of the agreement. While the landlord is responsible for the exterior of the building, the contents, whether yours or the landlord’s, are your responsibility. There are some good deals to be had on the compare sites, just make sure you are covered for all scenarios, including theft and damage.

Double check the inventory

Whatever the property you’re renting, be it unfurnished or furnished, you will need to meet with the landlord or agent and go through the inventory. Even a new, empty property will have cupboards, bathroom fittings, and often kitchen fittings, all need to be checked for damage and scratches. Open and close the cupboard doors, turn the taps on and off, check the lighting, and flush the loo.

A furnished property’s inventory will take a lot longer. Everything has to be checked right down to the crockery and cutlery. Take your time and mention anything you’re not happy with. Remember, when you sign the inventory, you are not just signing to take control of the fixtures and fittings. You are also signing to say you accept everything is as stated in the document.

Should you deal direct or through a letting agent?

While it’s a matter of personal choice, using the services of a letting agent is often preferable to renting directly from the landlord. Letting agents have to be registered by law, and most are members of professional organizations. With a large portfolio of properties, finding your ideal flat or house should be quicker and less stressful.

Of course, letting agents are like any other business, and will charge a fee for their services. Ask what their services entail. Many just deal with houses to rent in West Bromwich, and the landlord deals with everything else from collecting the rent to maintaining the building. Others provide full property management from rent collection to full repair and maintenance. Whichever route you choose to take – happy house hunting!