Finding a property

When you’re looking to rent a home from a private landlord there are several places you can look.  Places to try include

  • Websites such as Rightmove, Gumtree and Zoopla;
  • Estate agents who have a section that deals with private lettings and properties;
  • Letting agents who manage properties for private landlords;
  • Lettings boards in the area where you want to live;
  • Adverts in local newspapers or shop windows;
  • Asking friends and family who rent from a private landlord;
  • Noticeboards at work, college or university.

The Private Rented Service Newcastle could also help as we advertises houses for rent and provide general advice on renting in the private sector.

Estate Agents and Letting

Estate agents and letting agents usually have a large selection of properties and can offer a range of helpful services to help you find a home that is right for you.  Some letting agents will charge you a fee which can be quite expensive.  They should tell you about their fees straight away and these must be displayed in their offices and on their website.  If you can’t find details of how much they charge make sure you ask before using any of their services as they can charge you as soon as you accept a service from them.

Once you pay a fee to a letting agent they will only refund it if the agreement was incorrect so always make sure you want a property before handing over any money.  Letting agents fees are not the same as the deposit you may need to pay for the house.  Deposits should be kept separately and dealt with in a different way.

Viewing a property

Always view a property before signing a Tenancy Agreement.  Viewing a house can be exciting and it can be easy to overlook something or forget to ask important questions.

You should try to see lots of properties in the area where you want to live so you can see what is available before making a decision.  You should also think about:

  • Making a list of things you are looking for in a home to take with you. For example do you need a downstairs toilet or off street parking;
  • Taking a friend or family member with you. It’s good to get a second opinion and safer than going on your own;
  • Try to view the property in daylight as it’s easier to see faults or things that need repairing;
  • Try to go early to check out the location, local shops, bus routes and other facilities;
  • Take a list of questions that you want to ask;

If you aren’t sure if the property is what you’re looking for take some time to think about it!

Furnished or unfurnished

Before you start looking you should decide if you want to rent a furnished or an unfurnished property.

Check with the landlord what is included as there is no standard definition of furnished and unfurnished for example:

Unfurnished properties are usually slightly cheaper.  Although no furniture is provided carpets and curtains are often supplied.

Part furnished properties will generally include carpets and curtains and some white goods such as fridge or cooker.  This can be a good option if you already have some furniture.

Furnished properties do not always have the same furniture.  Generally it will included carpets, curtains, beds and wardrobes, table and chairs and a cooker and fridge.

You can ask a landlord to provide more furniture or to remove furniture you don’t need but they don’t have to do this.  If any changes are made make sure details are included in the Tenancy Agreement.

You should also ask for a list of furniture, known as an inventory, to be attached to your Tenancy Agreement.  This should include details of each item and its condition and should be signed by you and the landlord to prevent disagreements later.  You can ask for photos to be included if you think it would help.

Remember that if someone is living in the property when you view it some of the furniture may belong to them so make sure to check.