15 January, 2015
Finding a property will always be a daunting process, whether you're looking to buy or rent. There are, of course, big benefits to both, but the processes also differ greatly - and this is something both landlords and prospective tenants must consider carefully.
Renting is often seen as the simpler of the two routes to take, but that's not to say it doesn't still have its fair share of specialist words and phrases. 'Let agreed' is one that pops up pretty regularly here, and it's something that you'll need to understand if you're to navigate the market successfully.
One big step
When you're after somewhere new to live, it pays to bear in mind that your dream property is out there somewhere - it's just a matter of time (and maybe a little bit of professional help) before you find it. When you do, and you've made your final decision, you'll want to put a deposit down as soon as possible to get the ball rolling. Once this sum has been paid, and the application has been conditionally accepted by the landlord, the let has been 'agreed'.
This means the property is no longer available to others, but the deal is still yet to be fully completed. As soon as things reach this stage, any signs and web advertisements will usually be updated to ensure no more offers come through.
It's not over yet
This initial agreement should be seen as a big step forward for all involved, but there are still things to sort. Any responsible landlord will want to make sure their soon-to-be tenants are suitable and trustworthy, and doing so involves making a number of important checks. Referencing, as this part is known, gives the property owner a chance to learn a bit more about you before everything is finalised.
At this point, your financial situation will be considered carefully to ensure you'll be able to afford the rental costs - this involves looking at your credit score and income-to-rent ratio. Your general employment status and history will come into this too, with most agencies and owners looking for tenants with permanent, full-time roles.
Information is also likely to be sought from employers and previous landlords, who should be able to confirm your suitability. This is why it's always good to leave rented properties on good terms.
There are two types of deposit you may pay when renting a property: a holding and a security deposit. The former is required to take it off the market, and is a guarantee that it will be let to you providing all of the checks go smoothly. The latter is paid in case you damage the property or incur any charges. The two can also be merged together.
If the let is agreed conditionally but something on the landlord or agency's part prevents you from going ahead, you may well be entitled to receive a full refund. If you pull out yourself, however, your rights may be affected; this will depend on the terms and conditions of your initial agreement, so always read them properly.
The 'let agreed' stage of the process can be an anxious one for both parties. To ensure things go smoothly, go through all paperwork with a fine-tooth comb and raise any questions you have - however big or small - with your agency's professionals.