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.  

Opting to rent directly from a landlord might mean you have less to pay initially, provide fewer references and a credit check might not be required.  

On the other hand, renting through a letting agent brings a different set of benefits. Letting agents can act as intermediaries, managing the property on behalf of the landlord.

This includes handling repairs and maintenance issues, which can be a significant convenience.

If any issues arise with the letting agency itself, you have the recourse to address your concerns through their independent complaints body, known as the 'redress scheme.' 

There are numerous resources available for finding rental properties. Websites dedicated to property listings are a great place to start, offering a wide range of options and the ability to filter based on your specific needs.

Additionally, visiting local estate agents can provide insights into available properties and the local rental market. Remember to also check community groups on social media platforms like Facebook or local classifieds websites like Gumtree.

These can sometimes have listings directly from landlords. 

Never pay any money before seeing the property.

Ideally, bring someone with you when viewing to get a second opinion and ensure everything is in order.

Be aware that renting directly from an existing tenant, known as subletting, might not have the landlord's approval.

If a tenant is showing you around, they should provide the landlord's contact details for verification. 

Remember to ask:  

 How much is the rent? How should it be paid?  

Are any bills included?  

How long is the tenancy? Is there an opportunity to renew?  

Is there a break clause in case you need to end the tenancy early?  

 If a holding deposit is required, remember that it cannot exceed one week's rent and should be returnable at the start of the tenancy. 

Ensure you know what documents are required to rent the property, including proof of your Right to Rent. Request that any obvious problems be fixed before you move in. 

Before you go ahead: 

Ask how your tenancy deposit will be protected  

If any furniture or appliances are included in the tenancy   

Whether you can have pets.   

 Lastly, be aware of your rights. If a landlord refuses to rent to you based on personal attributes such as race, religion, sexual orientation, or even because you receive benefits, this could constitute discrimination.  

Hopefully these tips will help you to navigate the rental market with confidence and find a home that meets your needs.