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Looking for a Property

Guidance when looking for a Private Property to Rent

When looking for a private rented property, look for the Nottingham Standard logo. This will ensure you have found a landlord who provides safe, decent and well managed accommodation. DASH (Decent and Safe Homes) and Unipol accredit landlords in partnership with Nottingham City Council. Ask potential landlords if they have been accredited and if you can see proof of this.

If the landlord of a property is using an agent, the agent cannot be accredited with the Nottingham Standard. Therefore check the agency is a member of a professional organisation such as the ones below;

  • ARLA (Association of Residential Letting Agents)
  • NALS (The National Approved Letting Scheme)
  • National Association of Estate Agents

As of 1 October 2014 all agents must be part of an approved property redress scheme. For more information about this please read up on it here; https://www.theprs.co.uk/Home/Index

Suitable and Affordable for Your Needs

Look at what the landlord/agent is asking for from you prior to you moving in:

Deposit

This is usually the equivalent of 1 month's rent. It is given to the landlord to hold until your tenancy ends, if you have rent arrears or have caused damage to the property it will go towards those costs, otherwise it should be returned to you to use towards your next accommodation

Rent in Advance

The majority of private landlords will also expect you to pay your rent the day you move in. This means you will pay at the beginning of each month and will have no rent to pay when you leave. If in receipt of Housing Benefit your rent will be paid at the end of each month

Admin Fees

If you have found a property through a letting agent they may charge fees for the admin work they do. As of November 2013 all agencies must display the fees they charge in all advertisements

Credit Checks

A credit check is often completed after you have paid an admin fee. If you fail the credit check you may not receive your admin fee back and will be unable to proceed with an application for that property. You can get information about your credit history from websites such as Experian and assess your likelihood of passing a credit check

Guarantor

You may be asked to provide a guarantor. This is someone who is willing to accept liability if you are unable to meet your obligations under the tenancy agreement, whether it is for rent arrears or damage to the property. They must sign a legal agreement to accept any liabilities on your behalf and there are normally some requirements in place such as that they earn a minimum income or own a property. Please make sure you and your guarantor fully understand their legal obligations and read any contract in full

References

You may be required to provide a reference to the landlord or agent; this could be a reference from a previous landlord, a current or previous employer, or a character reference from someone who knows you on a personal level

It may not always be advertised in the first instance that some or all of these things are required, but do check and consider these before you arrange to view the property. You should also consider what requirements you have for a potential new home:

Pets

Not all landlords will accept pets in their property and it is increasingly becoming the case that they will not. If you have a pet you must declare this to a landlord otherwise you may be breaching your tenancy agreement. If you have a pet and are struggling to find a landlord who will accept it you could offer to pay a 'Pet Deposit' which would specifically cover any damage caused by the animal in the home and garden

Long and Short term Lets

Most private tenancies should start at a minimum 6 months, but landlords do often advertise if they are looking for someone to be in the property long term or short term. Consider this against your circumstances and whether you are intending on staying in the area for a long or short period

Furniture

Is the property furnished, unfurnished or part furnished? Consider what furniture you have already, if any. The landlord may be willing to remove any furniture you do not want but it is unusual that they will provide furniture if the property is advertised as unfurnished

Rent

Check the rent amount before deciding to view the property. There may be some room for negotiations with the landlord on the rent but do not rely on this being the case. Consider how you will be paying your rent and if it is affordable for you. There is a downloadable Income and Expenditure form on the webpage; you can complete this yourself to help you decide if that property is affordable for you and your household. Alternatively if you are going to be claiming housing benefit to assist with your rent payments you need to check your entitlement, below is the current local housing allowance amounts for Nottingham City April '14 - April '15

Accommodation Type

Weekly Rate

Monthly Rate

Shared

£68.68

£297.61

1 Bed

£91.15

£394.98

2 Bed

£107.19

£464.49

3 Bed

£119.10

£516.10

4 Bed

£150.00

£650.00

Click here to access the Benefit Calculator

Reporting Concerns

If you are concerned about the conduct of a landlord please visit our Report a Rogue Landlord Form to learn how to report concerns.

If you are concerned about the service you have received from a lettings agent you can find further information athttps://www.theprs.co.uk/Home/Index.

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