Before you move in...
1. Make a note of any issues with the property
No property is perfect, and this is especially true if it’s been lived in previously. When you view the property for the first time, make a note of any DIY work that needs to be done, or potential hazards. These include issues such as:
- Cracked windows
- Unkempt garden or loose flagstones in the driveway
- Debris in the gutters
- Doorbell not working
- Cosmetic damage such as carpet stains, chipped wallpaper or loose door handles
These are quite minor problems that can be fixed, however they may give you a bit of leverage with your potential landlord. If you want to rent the property, tell the landlord that you’d like them to reconsider the amount of rent they’re charging, based on the issues you’ve found.
It’s not guaranteed, but the landlord may reduce the rent for you. At the very least, they should fix these issues so they won’t be a problem once you move in. You could even offer to fix simple issues, such as a wall that needs painting or a garden that needs tidying up.
On the other hand, if you spot any serious issues that would need more work then you should consider renting elsewhere. These would be issues such as:
- Blocked sewage drains
- Damp/mould on the walls, around window frames and in bathrooms/kitchens
- Indications of structural damage such as loose or missing roof tiles, or ceiling leaks
- Signs of vermin such as mouse droppings
- Faulty electrics
You don’t want to rent from a landlord who may lack concern for your welfare as well as their property.
Read the government’s guide to renting a safe home on their website.
2.Try haggling with your landlord on rent
Your rent is one of your most important bills, but you don’t need to settle for the advertised price. Even if there’s nothing wrong with the property, there are other considerations. For instance:
- Will it take longer for you to get to work, the shops or your children’s school by living there?
- What’s the crime rate like on this street or surrounding neighbourhoods?
- What’s the traffic like? Is it busy at night? How might that affect your sleep?
- Do any of the neighbours have dogs that bark a lot? Is the household and the area generally loud?
You could try talking to the residents on the street to find out what it’s like to live there. They may have their own gripes about the neighbourhood, and it’s good to know now before you commit to renting.
Once you’re confident you have enough information, you can approach your landlord and ask them to review the advertised rental cost. They may refuse to decrease it, but it’s worth asking.
3.Consider sharing a property with other tenants
As long as you don’t mind sharing your communal living areas, renting with other people has several advantages. These include:
- Reduced rent and household bills, as they’re split between you and your housemates
- Potentially being able to borrow appliances such as vacuums without having to purchase your own
- Less loneliness, as there’s usually someone at home with you. This can be beneficial for your mental health
If you’re willing to rent a smaller room, you could convince the landlord to charge you less for rent versus your housemates.