Top tips for first time renters

Renting your first home is a very exciting time, it could be that you have finally moved out of your parent’s home, or maybe you have finished university and need somewhere more professional to live while you begin your career.

It can be quite overwhelming when you first decide to rent a property, and often it can be hard to know just where to start with all the different processes and applications.

Here’s some things that first time renters need to think about before signing up for a property:

Location is Important

When you are looking for a property to rent, it is easy enough to look on a map and pick somewhere, but how do you know this area is going to suit you and be the place you want to live for the next year or so.

Do some research on good places to rent and then make sure you go and visit the area a few times at different times of the day. It might seem lovely at lunchtime on the weekend, but what is it like during the week day rush hour or at night?

The Landlord is Not Your Friend

It is great if you have a nice landlord, as the likelihood is you will need to talk to them from time to time, but it is important to remember that they are not your friend – your relationship is about business.

Make sure all communication you have with your landlord is down in writing, even if it is just their confirmation of when your oven will be fixed. If you ever have any larger issues, it will be good to have a backlog of your communication with them.

It’s Important to Read the Contract

When you get caught up with the excitement of renting for the first time, it is easy to forget that the big chunk of papers you sign are actually legally binding documentation. Alternatively, for those who have been renting for a while, it is easy to assume that all rental contracts are the same, when they aren’t.

If there is anything you don’t understand in the contract, or something you are not sure about, then don’t be afraid to ask. If there are things you want fixing up or repairing in the property, then make sure you get that added into the contract before you sign it too.

Budget Properly

It is very easy to look at the monthly cost of renting a property and just decide whether it matches your budget or not, but it is important to remember that the rent you will need to pay is only a small part of your overall monthly costs.

Once you have moved into your property, you will also have to pay council tax, utility bills, insurance and pay for things like food. If you choose an unfurnished property, then try and find some second hand furniture instead of splashing out on brand new furnishings.

Think About Your Roommate

Although it sounds like the perfect solution to live with your best friend or other half, this will be an entirely new situation for both of you, so communicating and being up front with each other is key.

Make sure you both have the same plans and expectation, and decide in advance how you will pay for bills between you, who will be responsible for which chores and how long your future plans for renting are. It is always best to have these things out in the open before signing anything.

Tips For Moving into Rented Accommodation

More people than ever are now renting property. With house prices at an all time high, private, rented accommodation is a much easier option than trying to jump onto the property ladder for graduates and young professionals.

Although moving into a rented property is exciting, and you can more or less call it home, it is important that you don’t get caught up in the new move and forget to check important documentation.

Here are our tips for moving into rented accommodation:

Read the Small Print

It’s easy to get swept away with the excitement of moving and flip to the last page of the tenancy agreement to quickly sign it. You need to make sure you know what you are signing though and take some time to read the small print.

You need to understand that if you are living with someone else and you sign the same agreement, then you are signing a joint tenancy and are jointly responsible for the property and any problems you may have.

Read the contract carefully and work out what your rent covers – is it basic or are some bills included? Determine how long the tenancy is – can you move out after 6 months or do you have to wait for a year? And check on any rules, such as pets, smoking and notice periods.

Protect Your Deposit

Chances are you will be paying quite a large deposit for your rented property, so you need to know it’s going to be protected once you have signed the tenancy agreement.

As of 2007, landlords have had to sign up with a government approved tenancy deposit protection scheme in order to protect a tenant’s money. Your landlord should therefore protect your deposit in a scheme within 30 days of you paying it.

There are three main deposit schemes used in England and Wales and four in Scotland. They all offer you a dispute resolution service, which allows landlords and tenants to sort out any disagreements they may have when it comes to returning deposits.


Your inventory is important, as it lists all the details of the property and any furnishings that are included. It also records the condition of the property including marks on the walls and any existing damage to carpets and appliances.

Use the inventory to your advantage and go round the property on your moving in date to note down any comments you want to make about the property. Every little detail counts, so just take your time to go round each room.

When you come to moving out, your landlord will go through the inventory to check whether anything is missing or if there is any new damage to the property that needs to be considered when returning your deposit, so don’t let this pass you by.

Moving In

Once you're ready to move in, make sure you choose a good removal firm, or ask your family and friends to help out - moving on your own can be quite a struggle. Try and avoid moving on Fridays, as these thend to be the busiest days of the week.

Pack all your things in an organised way, so you know what goes where when it comes to unpacking. Research into the best utility providers for your new house, and try and get your post redirected.

Once you are all settled, you need to think about insurance. As you are only renting, your landlord will pay for the building insurance, but it is a good idea to take out your own contents insurance to make sure your possessions are protected. 

How to Make Rented Accommodation Feel Like Home

Although you may not own your property, that doesn’t mean you can’t make your rented accommodation feel like home. It can be very frustrating when the list of things you can’t do when decorating your new home is longer than the things you can do.

Whether you have a 12 month contract or plan to rent for a few years, there are some easy enough ways to turn your property into a comfortable and homely place to live:

Paint the Walls

In the majority of cases, a landlord won’t mind if you paint the walls, and if they do, they may simply just ask you to paint them back to their original colour again when it comes to moving out.

The colour of the walls in most rented accommodation is bland and boring, so adding a splash of the colour of your choice can really make a big difference to the whole vibe and make your property feel like home.


As with the walls, lights tend to come with the same boring covers in each room, making your property feel like a hotel instead of a home. It is easy enough to buy lampshades and light fittings though, and they will make a world of difference when it comes to your overall decoration.

You can also buy your own additional lamps and even change the bulbs to create a softer glow in some of the rooms. There are tons of different lighting options available so check out sites like Pinterest for some inspiration.

Invest in Furniture

Whether you choose a furnished or unfurnished rental property, investing in nice furniture is a great way to make your house into a home. You can always ask your landlord to remove any pieces of furniture you don’t need, or if you have some bits and bobs already then you can arrange to have your property part-furnished.

The great thing about investing in nice furniture is that you will be able to keep it for years down the line, and when you do finally get round to buying a place of your own, it will feel like home right from the beginning.

Furnish the Floor

As with walls and lighting, the floors in rented accommodation tend to be plain laminate or beige carpets, but they don’t have to stay that way. Rugs can usually be found at quite a reasonable price and will help transform a room.

Choose rugs that match your colour scheme and help give your home a bit more personality. You can put one in the middle of your sitting room, a couple each side of your bed and even one in the bathroom to keep your feet warm while you are getting ready in the morning.


If you are renting a flat, you may not have access to a garden, but that doesn’t mean you can’t bring a bit of greenery into your rented accommodation. Bring some of the outside in.

If you have a balcony you can buy planters or hanging baskets and fill them with bright and colourful flowers to give the area some character. If you don’t have any outside space, then you can buy a range of different houseplants that will give your room an extra flourish.

Pictures and Mirrors

You may be worried about putting stuff on the walls, but holes are actually very easy to fill in, and if you aren’t allowed to put holes in the walls then you can always use picture hanging strips – just don’t hang anything too heavy.

Hanging mirrors in a small room will help make the space feel bigger, and hanging pictures of friends and loved ones around the house will make your property feel more like home than ever.