How to find a place to rent
Looking for a place to rent can be dauting. Use our tips to help you find somewhere you'll be happy to call home.
Don't sign too early
You might be told that you'll miss out if you don't sign for a house early. Lots of students run into difficulty when their circumstances change and they are locked into a contract which they signed months before. Don’t rush!
Do your research
Look into average rental prices and see what local transport links are like.
Choose your letting agent carefully
Most Letting Agents are private businesses that are set up to make money. They can care more about making a sale, than about tending to your best interests. As a starting point we would suggest using a letting agent which is ALMA affiliated - http://www.almacardiff.co.uk/index.php?p=members.
Look at a variety of houses
Try and compare at least three different houses and make sure everyone gets to see the property before you sign the tenancy agreement. Does the property smell like damp? Are there signs of mold?
Make sure your landlord is accredited
Check whether your landlord or letting agent is registered with Rent Smart Wales. Not only is this registration required by law, but it ensures the landlord or letting agent are held to higher standards of service - https://www.rentsmart.gov.wales/en/check-register/.
Watch out for scams
Don't hand over any money until you are sure that the landlord or letting agent is genuine. You can search the land registers online to find the legal owner of the property.
Work out your budget
Accommodation costs a lot more than just the rent. You will owe money in bills for water, gas, electricity, internet and a TV license. Make sure you check the contract where you have been promised that bills are included. All inclusive deals don't always work out cheaper.
Look for an Energy Performance Certificate
Work out how much a property will take to heat by looking at its energy performance rating. Double glazing and central heating will reduce heating bills.
Check out deposit plans
By law your deposit must be protected in one of three approved government schemes to ensure money can't be deducted unfairly.
Beware of holding deposits
If you are asked to pay a holding deposit for a property, be clear as to what this entitled you to. This can’t be any more than 1 weeks rent, and there is a time limit for when you have to enter into a tenancy agreement. Get a copy of the proposed contact before you handover any money. Such fees are usually non-refundable if you change your mind.
Beware of agency/ admin fees
The Renting Homes (Fees etc.) (Wales) Act 2019 prohibits letting agents from charging agency fees for signing a new contract, renewing a contract and many administrative tasks from 1st September 2019. You should report any suspicious activity.
Don't be afraid to walk away
If you don't like the way the letting agent or landlord are behaving, walk away from the property before you've handed over any money. Don't also be afraid to walk away where the landlord can't:
- show you a gas safety certificate
- tell you the deposit protection scheme they are using
- show you an HMO license