Looking for a Flat or House to Rent
Advertisements and word of mouth
A good place to start looking for a flat or house is the accommodation section of local and evening papers. Try to buy the paper as soon as it comes out. Accommodation may also be advertised in shop windows or notice boards in supermarkets and colleges. Tell everyone you know that you're looking for a place; word of mouth is surprisingly successful. Some places, especially if they're being let through an estate agent, will have "To Let" signs outside.
You should make an appointment to see the flat or house and turn up early.
looking round a flat or house
Have a good look round the accommodation before making a decision. You might find the following checklist helpful:
-Are there any signs of dampness?
-Do the windows open?
-Who pays for the heat? What hours is it on, and who controls it?
-Is hot water available all the time?
-Are the cooker and fridge in working order?
-What sort of condition is the bathroom in?
-Do you have to share the bathroom, if so, with how many others?
-Is there storage for bicycles, etc?
-Is there a bus route or other transport nearby?
-Are there shops and other facilities nearby?
Landlords will usually ask for a deposit, which might be a week or month's rent. If you are on social welfare, your Community Welfare Officer may help with paying a deposit, although you may have to pay some of it yourself. Make sure you get a receipt for any deposit you pay. You may lose your deposit if:
You leave without giving proper notice or leave before the end of a fixed term lease
You cause damage to the flat or house beyond normal wear and tear
You leave with bills or rent unpaid.
Before you agree to rent
Make sure you can afford the rent being asked.
If you will be claiming rent supplement, Help with paying the rent, make sure you know the local maximum rent level allowed by the health board. It is sensible to tell the landlord at this stage that you will be claiming it, since not all landlords will take tenants on rent supplement. Your health board will need your landlord's signature so he/she will have to know sooner or later.
Be aware of your rights and your obligations. Your landlord for example, is obliged to provide your with a rent book. They are also obliged to ensure that the accommodation meets certain minimum physical standards.
If the landlord wants to give you a fixed term lease of six months or a year, don't agree to this unless you're sure you want to stay that long. If you leave before the end of a fixed term lease, you may lose your deposit. Types of tenancy
You should draw up and agree a list of furnishings and appliances provided, with the landlord. This will help to prevent disputes during your stay and when you are leaving. If there are any signs of damage by previous tenants, make sure this is noted too. This list should be included in the rent book.
If there are outstanding repairs, ask the landlord to state in writing that s/he will carry them out.