Renting my first flat (UK).

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by Markleshark, Jul 27, 2008.

  1. Markleshark macrumors 603

    Markleshark

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    Carlisle, Up Norf!
    #1
    Ok, so I have my eyes on a flat, it's my first and to be honest I have noooooo idea what I'm doing, any tips?

    I've of course listed the outgoings, the ones I have being:

    Rent
    Water Rates
    Phone Line
    Internet
    Electricity
    Gas
    TV License
    Food
    Council Tax (WIll I have to pay this??)
    Car Parking (If applicable, not sure at the moment)

    I've taken into account Petrol in he car and my phone contract, but anything major I've missed?

    I've only been looking on the internet thus far and have emailed the company about the one I'm interested in regarding the Car Parking, for more information and possibly to arrange a viewing, so basically I'm just looking for some pointers...

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #2
    Contents insurance. Seriously - don't go without it. Also, check with the landlord/rental agency regarding building insurance and where the responsibility for maintenance lies - and document, thoroughly, the whole property when you move in. Photos of every wall, print them out, put them on CD, and then post copies to yourself, and the rental agency. Leave yours unopened. Then - if there are ever any issues when you leave, you have a date stamped record of what the place was like.

    Consider going with a cable-tv/phone/internet bundle if that's available although the net access wont be that good with Virgin etc.

    And don't forget two extra item. Entertainment ( i.e. beverages, cinema etc ) and Apple budget. Seriously...say you want a new Mac machine every 48 months, then figure 1500 / 24 = call it £70 a month to save up for stuff :O

    And good luck - it's great to end up in your own place.
     
  3. CortexRock macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Dec 3, 2006
    Location:
    Canterbury, England
    #3
    Most small flats count as Band A for Council Tax, which is 6/8ths of the full amount payable on a Band D property.

    A lot of local authorities also give you a 25% discount if you're the only adult living in a property (who said having a partner was expensive?!)

    And as djellison said, check out your contribution to the service/maintenance charge if any...
     
  4. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Location:
    Bath, United Kingdom
    #4
    Arrange if possible to pay utility bills by Direct Debit… you pay slightly less over a year than if they have to "chase" after you with a bill every month or quarter.
     
  5. r1ch4rd macrumors 6502a

    r1ch4rd

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2005
    Location:
    Manchester UK
    #5
    There is probably going to be a lot of initial outlay. Remember that you will need a few £ set aside for essentials when you move in, pans, cutlery, crockery etc (if you don't have them). You will also need to put down a deposit, probably 5 weeks rent, and pay any agency fees.
     
  6. djellison macrumors 68020

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2007
    Location:
    Pasadena CA
    #6
    That's a good point. That sort of stuff can be had really cheaply at Ikea ( yeah yeah, I know, but our bedroom is decked out with Ikea stuff and it's not only good lucking, but rock-solid structure wise as well...and our ikea cooking knives are the only ones that have not gone rusty and are still sharp!)

    Also - for furniture, at least as a stop-gap till you can get something better - check the notice board of the local supermarket for £20 sofa's, or £10 tables etc - and find your local freecycle listings for...free stuff :)

    Doug
     
  7. alexmarchuk macrumors 6502a

    alexmarchuk

    Joined:
    Jun 28, 2007
    Location:
    New Jersey
    #7
    I'm sorry but is a flat like a home in the US?

    What's the difference?
     
  8. edesignuk Moderator emeritus

    edesignuk

    Joined:
    Mar 25, 2002
    Location:
    London, England
    #8
    Flat = Apartment
     
  9. anim8or macrumors 65816

    anim8or

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    #9
    Big mistake, if you are not careful you may get over charged and that is stressful when YOU have to chase THEM for a refund!

    Pay for your bills with monthly or even quarterly billing, trust me.

    The number of times i have been over charged since moving into my own place... if they overcharge you simply do not pay them until it is rectified, if they over charge you then they have your cash and are not gonna bend over backwards to help you.

    Also if you are styaying in a block of flats look into whether the block is maintained by a Factor, a company that hires cleaners for cimmunal areas, gardening, general maintenance of the building.

    They will most likely charge a monthly or quarterly fee.

    There is also buildings insurance which is split between all the flats in the block... this is normally handled by a Factoring company as well
     
  10. garybUK Guest

    garybUK

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2002
    #10
    Most flats are Electic only, find out what type of meter it is, might be a Pay-as-you go, if you want credit meter you need to deal with the utilities company, you have a right to choose the meter/utility company, don't let the landlord bully you. It's a good idea (if there is gas) to go on a dual fuel tariff and get the price fixes.

    Also take into account phone connection, i had to pay BT £150 for them to activate my line :mad:

    Contents insurance is also a very good idea and also, make sure you take a inventory of EVERYTHING that is in there before and get both of you to sign it. Also if there's anything that looks obvious when you move in, take a pic and get the landlord or agency to record the fact it was there before you move in.

    If there is some furniture in the place say a sofa then it's a good idea to get a cheap throw over.

    They will also ask for references from your bank and place of work and do a credit check, if you fail the check they usually ask for like 3 months in advance or a guarantor i think.

    Edit: Oh one more thing i'd ask to see the boiler / gas appliance certificate, carbon monoxide is a risk and it's the landlords responsibility to ensure everything has safety checks.
     
  11. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #11
    Check the contract. The landlord should be responsible for Ground Rent (assuming in England and Leasehold) and Service Charge, but they may try and make you responsible for them.

    As noted above take careful note of what is included and what is not to budget what you will need to buy.

    Also ensure that an accurate inventory is taken when you move in signed by both yourself and the landlord/agent. Ensure all damage/uncleanliness etc are noted. If you do not then they will probably try and sting you for this when you leave. Take pictures and have them sign the back if possible.

    Ensure that your deposit is protected as required by law. Unscrupulous landlords may try and avoid this.

    Finally try and get a short, but extensible agreement (6 months with a clause to allow extension for a further 6 months at the same price seems a good middle ground): that way if you don't like it you can cut your losses...
     
  12. arkitect macrumors 601

    arkitect

    Joined:
    Sep 5, 2005
    Location:
    Bath, United Kingdom
    #12
    Well YMMV but I have found the exact oposite…
    It may be different up North though.
    ;)
     
  13. anim8or macrumors 65816

    anim8or

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2006
    Location:
    Scotland, UK
    #13
    I agree, its really who you are with!

    Some companies are chancers.. they will over charge and hope that you dont notice... taht is when the chase begins!

    :D
     
  14. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Kenya
    #14
    Use uswitch.com and moneysupermarket.com to figure out your best deal for utility suppliers. Then there's potential big cashback by signing up via quidco.com - you can get BIG discount on contents insurance that way too (we're paying £108/year with More Than, but getting £100 cashback via quidco! - so £75k contents, with accidental damage included, and £5k of items up to £1k each on holidays outiside the UK, for £8/year!)

    Direct debit is usually the cheapest way to pay utility bills, but the company we're with at the moment (EbiCo) charge the same regardless of how you pay, even the same with pay-as-you-go meters. I've often over-payed on direct debits and never had a problem getting money back (or direct debit changed to deliberately under-pay for next 6 months to compensate).

    There will probably be a rental agency fee, and fees for references, and maybe for the contract.

    I echo what others have said about inventories and preferably photographs just in case (as they cost pretty much nothing to do and could save you loads).

    Freecycle is worth looking at; there are a few good things available on there.

    moneysavingexpert.com has good articles on choosing tv/phone/etc. deals.

    If your phone contract is with O2, their broadband speed and price is very impressive. And AFAIK they don't do Phorm or telling the music companies if you download, unlike lots of the other big-name ISPs.

    Hope that helps.
    Jonathan.
     
  15. jdavtz macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2005
    Location:
    Kenya
    #15
    When you look around, also see if the fridge/freezer/oven/washing machine/shower work, and if not, make sure it's IN WRITING that they will be in working order by the date you move in. (Preferably with a line that only half-rent will be payable until they are all working as expected).
     
  16. Markleshark thread starter macrumors 603

    Markleshark

    Joined:
    Aug 15, 2006
    Location:
    Carlisle, Up Norf!
    #16
    Thanks all, the flat I went to see about has gone, but I'm going to carry on looking so all this comes in very handy.

    :D
     
  17. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #17
    Yeah, I stay clear of direct debits for this reason. I once moved into a flat where the electricity board cocked up installing the meter – basically they got the meter's serial number wrong. As a result, my first electricity bill was just shy of £1,000 – despite the fact that I'd only been in there for little over a month. It took six months worth of me making phone calls and receiving threatening letters from them before they admitted their mistake and that I only owed them about £30.

    Had the cash gone straight out of my account through direct debit then it would have made me hopelessly overdrawn and I'd probably still be trying to get my money back off them. As such, I don't trust utility companies to take payments from me in this way.

    Anyway, Markleshark – make sure any potential flat has up-to-date certificates for stuff like boilers and gas and the like. We wouldn't want you dying of carbon monoxide poisoning or anything like that.
     
  18. OllyW Moderator

    OllyW

    Staff Member

    Joined:
    Oct 11, 2005
    Location:
    The Black Country, England
    #18
    I've paid my gas and electric by direct debit for the last 15 years and never had anything like that. :confused:

    If you do pay by direct debit, they first estimate your monthly payments based on the size of your home and the number of people living there. As the quarterly bills come, if your payments are way out they will adjust the payment to suit, but they never take a big chunk of money from your bank like that.

    I've used 4 or 5 different companies and they have all worked in similar ways. With my current supplier (Atlantic), I even get a months rebate every year for paying by direct debit. :)
     
  19. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #19
    To be fair, I do seem to have extraordinarily bad luck when it comes to my dealings with utility companies...

    Just don't get me started on my phone company/ISP. ;)
     
  20. maestro55 macrumors 68030

    maestro55

    Joined:
    Nov 13, 2005
    Location:
    Goat Farm in Meridian, TX
    #20
    I can't really offer any suggestions that no one else has offered, but wow seems a lot of stuff extra when you move into a flat there than when getting a flat here.
     
  21. mrfrosty macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Oct 1, 2005
    #21
    Are you from Hull ? Is it Kingston then ? Every time my company opens a new place in Hull its like hell on earth trying to get an MPLS line into there at a decent price. Kingston are shocking....Dealing with Kingston via BT is even worse.....just found out the link we ordered from BT cant actually be provided...........it took then 2 months to tell us.
     
  22. Jaffa Cake macrumors Core

    Jaffa Cake

    Joined:
    Aug 1, 2004
    Location:
    The City of Culture, Englandshire
    #22
    Oh yes. :)
    Oh yes. :mad:
     
  23. Melrose macrumors 604

    Melrose

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #23
    Do you have any pictures of the spot you have in mind? I'm simply nosy is all.. I love neo-modern-European style apartments.

    GL with your find and moving in!
     
  24. Nicolecat macrumors 6502a

    Nicolecat

    Joined:
    Apr 2, 2008
    #24
    I don't know what the standard is in the UK (if this is common or not)...but I know, when I was living in an apartment/condo that having either hookups for a washer/dryer or for it to come furnished with a washer/dryer was definitely a plus.
    No laundromats.

    Good luck finding something that suits you. :D
     
  25. scotthayes macrumors 68000

    scotthayes

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2007
    Location:
    Birmingham, England
    #25
    I'd say go with the direct debit route when it comes to paying your bills. They have to tell you in advance if they are going to take more than the stated normal amount. Plus you should covered by the direct debit guarantee.

    Also check your contents insurance, make sure you have enough cover for your gadgets and that they are covered when away from the flat.

    Another thing to look out for is the deposit, make sure you know what the landlord expects when you move out. The scumbag ones will try and screw you out of your deposit by claiming damaged was caused by you when it was already damaged when you moved in.

    If you are going to be living on your own, make sure you let the council know, you'll get a 25% discount on the council tax. At the same time if your girlfriend does move in at a later date, tell the council ASAP as they will want the money.

    Read and re-read your contract, do not accept any ********, make sure the landlord covers things like maintenance on anything like a heating boiler, washing machine, toilets blocking and sewage.

    Budget for things like washing power, cleaning fluids etc in your first shop, it's amazing how much they add to the first trip to the supermarket.

    And finally, make sure you get something nice in for the first morning after your first night there, it's the best breakfast you will ever have.
     

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