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Renting costs on the rise - Part 2
Following on from last time, this blog will look at the other fees you might be charged by agencies and landlords when you’re looking to move into your new rented home.
6 Monthly Contracts
Some agencies will not let you take a contract for more than 6 months at a time. So, you’ll have to budget for a contract renewal fee, which could happen every six months. You can check the agent’s website, as all the fees they charge should be detailed there. If they’re not, ask! You should also ask if you can take a 12 months contract, to help you save money on renewals. If they refuse, you should maybe look elsewhere.
These days agencies and landlords want to nosey into your financial status too. So, they’ll ask for permission to view your credit history. However, it’s important to know exactly what criteria they’re using to decide if you pass or fail the check. You may think your credit history is fine, but the agent sees something they don’t like and fails you. Or, even worse, they simply look at the credit ‘score’ you’ve been given by the credit reference agency and reject you simply because you’re below a certain figure, without any consideration to your individual circumstances.
Sadly, there’s not much you can do about this other than try to speak to the agency beforehand to try and offer an explanation. But they’re not obliged to take it into consideration and, if you are rejected, you’re likely to lose your application fee amount. However, there are some agencies who’ll carry out this credit checking for free, to make sure that both you and the agency are not wasting your time.
Make sure you ask what will and will not be returned to you if you fail at any part of the application process.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme
Once you’ve decided you want to take the property and you’ve passed all the checks, you’ll have to pay the deposit. Now, the law is about to change on tenancy deposits, so that from 23rd June 2015 agencies and landlords are obliged to put to out all deposit money they collect in a protected scheme, such as My Deposits. And you should have all the details you need to access the website, and check your money is where it should be, within 30 days of the money being taken. If you want to read more about what information the agency or landlord is obliged to provide you with, the government details it all here.
Some agencies charge fees for the inspection that needs to be done when you leave the property at the end of the tenancy. These are called ‘check-out’ fees and are set by each agency. According to the Citizens Advice, the average amount you can expect to pay is about £76.
So, now that you have a rough idea of what you’ll have to save for, and what you can expect to pay out for the services of a letting agency, it’s time to get saving. And, if you’re ever unsure of anything you’re being told, follow the golden rule – ask!