Top 5 tips for tenants moving in 2018: how to secure your dream rental home and get the best possible deal
Are you planning to move in 2018? If you’re renting, here are the top 5 things to think about and get the most of the current London rental property market.
Tip #1: Start your search early! (it's probably the most important one)
Starting your search early is the biggest advantage you can give yourself. Looking at the property market within 6 weeks before your moving date will give you enough time to:
- Understand and validate what area is the best match for your budget and requirements.
- Prioritise your search criteria - your “must haves” and “nice to haves”. This will help you to determine what elements you need to push for when viewing or negotiating for a property to ensure the best outcome (e.g. space, location, quality of furnishings, price, etc.)
- View properties and get a sense of what a good vs not so good opportunity looks like… so that you can identify the right property when it comes your way.
- Learn through your mistakes! It can be difficult to identify the right property for you, especially in the early stages of your search, as you may not have a good sense of the market yet. But that’s alright, you still have time, and now you know how quickly a good property can get snapped!
So make sure you start your search in a timely manner! Failing to do so will leave you at the mercy of the market and estate agents. And for sure you will end up compromising on several of your search criteria.
Tip #2: Clearly define your requirements
Make sure you clearly define your requirements before starting your search and that you align on these with your partner, flatmates, etc.
There are 4 key elements that will typically influence your decision:
1) Price - How much rent are you willing to pay and what does that mean in terms of available options on the market? What is the overall budget you can spend on accommodation, also taking into account other expenses such as council tax, utility bills, etc?
2) Quality - what type of furnishings, what level of finishing are you looking for, etc.
3) Space - how many bedrooms and what size, are you looking for some outdoor space, etc?
4) Location - a good starting point is to think about what is an acceptable commute for you, your family or flatmates.
For more details on how to define youre requirements, see Defining your Dream Home Profile.
Tip #3: Knowledge is (bargaining) power...
The more informed you are on the property, the better equipped you are to negotiate a fair tenancy agreement and a good rent. Information that could be helpful for you to frame your offer include:
- Property vacancy: For how long has the property been on the market? If it has been on the market for long, the landlord may be more willing to accept a lower rent than the asking rate.
- Size of landlord’s property portfolio: Does the landlord own multiple properties or just a single property? If he just owns a single property, the he / she may be dependent on the rental income to pay for the mortgage, whereas a larger landlord may think of his overall portfolio income first, which can make him more flexible on tenancy terms like monthly rent, break clause, minor improvements to the property, etc.
- General condition of the property: Any factors that may give you some space to negotiate a discount on the asking rent? For example, is the furniture worn down? Are there minor repair works that would ideally be needed but that you are willing to do without? In these cases, you may be able to negotiate a discount on the asking rent on the basis that the landlord will not need to spend money on getting things fixed before you move in.
- Comparative rental information: we recommend that you do some research to find out the asking rent on comparative properties in the area, as well as the rent the current tenants of the property are paying. You can also do a general Internet search (on sites like Zoopla, Rightmove, MousePrice) to find out if this property has been listed there by other agents for a lower price, or to find out previous rents for this property.
Tip #4: Negotiate
Rightmove published a report in October showing London rentals are at their lowest since 2013. According to the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (RICS) it seems there is a mismatch between landlords’ desired rental levels and tenants' ability to pay, resulting in lower activity levels with supply in the London lettings market not being absorbed by demand.
In other words: now is the time to negotiate and aim to get a better rent.
Tip #5: Get out of the "scarcity mindset"
The most critical aspect that will help you negotiate well is to have 2 or 3 good alternative properties on your shortlist. These properties should be within your budget, provide similar quality living space (location, area etc.) and be available for similar terms (duration of lease, etc.).
This will put you in a position where you can afford to ‘let go’ of a property and not feel pressurised to accept terms that may not reflect the market value of the rental property or not present a balanced deal.
And don’t forget...
You will not get a reduced rent or better terms unless you ask for it. Based on the points we covered above, always have a clear argument about why you are asking for something.
If you are a student looking for private rented accommodation, you will find more tips & advice here.
For more advice or support with your search, book a free consultation call with one of our professional Sherpas. Please click below for more information.