Tips and advice for tenants and flatsharers
Increase your chances of finding the perfect place to live, by allowing landlords and other flatsharers to find you. Make sure you include accurate information about who you are and what you are looking for, which will help you find the ideal match. And don’t forget to add a photo!
Prioritise what you are looking for in a home, and make sure you include them. Maybe you want an en suite bathroom, a garden or a parking space. Whatever it is, don’t be afraid to specify – it will save you time in the long run.
You don’t need to give too much information about yourself (potential flatmates don’t need to know how many sugars you take in your tea). Just tell them about your personality, the type of place you like to live in and a bit about your social life and interests, such as whether you like the occasional party, to cook for friends or love the opera. Whatever you say make sure you are honest. It also helps if you write in a friendly, human style and don’t be afraid to show a bit of humour, and your winning personality!
You don’t have to include a photo in your ad, but we do recommend it. Adverts with a photo tend to be more popular and are more likely to be read. And incidentally, if it puts your mind at ease, anyone who abuses the facility to upload a photo onto the website will be removed immediately.
It can help to review and refine your advert before you publish it. Cut out any unnecessary words, keeping sentence lengths short and sweet. Make sure it reflects you and your personality accurately.
Take a look at some flat share adverts and get in touch with people who might be suitable. You can even send them the link to your advert – so you’ll look super organised.
London is a big place. Be careful not to go for a property simply because it is cheap. It may mean it is situated far away from your work, friends or local shops and services, and you could spend a fortune getting in and out of town.
If, after a few days, you are not getting any responses or are having difficulty finding a suitable match, review your ad. Make sure it is simple but gives enough information about you to entice people. If you still have no joy, ask Outlet for some advice. It’s our mission in life to help you find a great place to live.
When you view a property, ask other people who live there about their experiences. Has the landlord or property management company responded well to any requests? Have they had any issues or problems? That kind of thing…
Make sure you understand what is included in your tenancy agreement and what your rent covers, such as bills and council tax. It will not only confirm how much you need to pay, but also what deposit you need to provide, which is usually paid before you move in. Since April 2007, all deposits are protected under the Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme. This prevents landlords from withholding part or all of your deposit if a dispute needs resolving.
We recommend that you request an inspection of the property before your move-in date. This will give you the chance to spot any existing damage that you could otherwise be charged for when you move out. You should also get an itinerary – a list of contents – so you can ensure that nothing is missing and that you don’t take anything that doesn’t belong to you when you move out.
We recommend that you get contents insurance. There is a range of different types but it will usually protect the value of your contents in case of a fire, burglary or other accident. It is especially important in a shared home, where there will be people you might not know coming and going often.
There are plenty of things you can do to make the most of where you live. You may be limited with what you can change in the property if you are renting, but simple things can make it more personal to you. Read the monthly newsletter from Outlet, called The Outlist, or check us out on Facebook and Twitter for plenty of tips on how to make your home your own.
Visit the Citizens Advice Bureau online information service for advice on a wide range of topics, including benefits and employment, debt and legal issues. www.adviceguide.org.uk
Information for anyone who has been discriminated against or abused because of their race. The site offers a guide to your rights under the Race Relations Act and details on how to go about making a complaint. www.cre.gov.uk