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Tenants seeking their next home should consider their options and plan carefully before renting a property. 

Wherever they move to is likely to be their home for some time to come and they need to ensure it meets their needs and the rental process is smooth.

Rental checklist:

*Think carefully about where you want to live, the type of home you require and the level of rent you can afford

*Don’t forget to budget for extra costs – utility bills, television licence, broadband, council tax, management fees etc

*Consider renting through a reputable agency – they will be the intermediary between you and the landlord, and are there to support both parties

*Spend time searching online to get an idea of what is available, where it is and how much you should expect to pay

*If sharing a home, think carefully about who your housemates are and whether you actually want to live with them and share responsibility for the property

*When visiting a property or discussing it with an agency or landlord, do not be afraid to ask questions – it is better to be sure about everything before signing on the dotted line

*Once you have found a property and both parties agree to go ahead, check you are happy with your tenancy agreement – and make sure you read the small print

*Ensure your landlord uses a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme – if you rent your home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007 then this is now a legal requirement

*Ask for an inventory, check it carefully and query anything you are unsure of

*Take photographs of any areas of pre-existing damage and discuss them with the landlord or agency

*Ensure all gas appliances have been checked by a Gas Safe-registered engineer and that at least one smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector has been installed

*Students may be asked to provide a “guarantor” (often a parent) who will cover any damage costs or shortfalls in rent. Your guarantors must find out whether you have a joint tenancy, with a single agreement, in case they are liable for overdue rent or damage caused by the other tenants

*Do not forget to insure the contents of your new home – shop around for the best deal

*Enjoy the experience of renting and feeling at home in the property for the time that you are there