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First time renting guide

First time renting guide

There are many benefits to renting. It offers flexibility if you’re moving jobs or studying away from home and allows people to change their living arrangements quite quickly compared to the slower and more complex process of buying and selling property.

Whilst the process of renting can be simpler than buying, it can still be daunting if it’s your first time moving out of home or you’re relocating for work. To help make things simpler, our helpful short guide for first time renters covers the key points that you need to take into account.

For extra guidance you can read our more detailed guides, as well as the government’s How to Rent guide

Don't rush into letting, do your homework, know your budget, the area you want and your requirements and ensure the landlord or agent has a good reputation.

Consider your needs

As well as affordability and location, think about your individual requirements.  What do you need from a property?  Some key questions:

  • What is your budget? Use our useful calculator to work out what you can afford.
  • Are you looking for a furnished or unfurnished property?
  • How many bedrooms do you need?
  • Do you need parking?
  • Would you like a garden?
  • Do you need to be near local amenities, schools or transport links?
  • Are you looking for a short term or long term let?
  • Do you need a property which allows pets?

Time Scales
When are you looking to move? It helps to have a clear view of what your timescales are and any possible limitations, like current notice periods.

Renting privately or through a Lettings Agent
Private landlords letting their property directly are unregulated and not usually part of a professional body. Many tenants therefore prefer the reassurance of renting through a reputable and regulated lettings agent like Hawes & Co. 

Hawes & Co is a member of ARLA Propertymark, a regulatory body with a strict code of practice. By adhering to their high standards, we offer our customers peace of mind that your best interests are at the heart of how we work.

Lettings Agents also generally have a broader range of properties, making it easier to find something which suits your requirements, tastes and budget.   

At Hawes & Co we always welcome the opportunity to talk to all our customers. You are welcome to drop in anytime for a coffee and a chat with our friendly team to talk through your needs and register with us.

Viewing properties


Make time to view all the properties that you're interested in. In the current market we are finding that some properties are reserved at the first viewing, so make sure you have your finances in place so you can secure the property quickly.

When you're at the viewing make sure you take the time to have a good look round. Check the water pressure, find out how the heating works, check the size of the fridge, etc. If you're viewing a property and the previous tenants are still living there, make sure you know what's included and what belongs to them. 

Know how the property is managed

A number of landlords will leave the day to day management to the estate agent so they will deal with any maintenance issues on your behalf. Other landlords will manage the property themselves. It's good to know how your property is managed so you're aware of who to contact if there's a problem. 

Preparing for a tenancy

Income Protection & Home Contents Insurance
It is worth discussing income protection & contents insurance with your Embrace Independent Financial Advisor at this point.

View all relevant homes. In the current market we would suggest that you should be prepared to make decisions quickly as we are finding that some properties are reserved at the first viewing, this is when you pay your administration fee to initiate your application immediately.

Application Forms
Complete these and return with original photographic identification and proof of address (e.g. utility bill)

Your referencing will be processed taking approximately 7 working days and you will receive the terms agreed in writing. Hawes & Co will call you to discuss the outcome of the referencing.

Deposit and Tenancy Agreement
You will receive the tenancy agreement before the start of the tenancy and we must receive the deposit in our bank account before the tenancy starts.

During the tenancy

Once the agreement has been signed and the standing order set up you may collect the keys on the day your tenancy commences. Hawes & Co will provide you with the Energy Performance certificate, the Landlords Gas safety certificate (if relevant), contact details for your property and any emergency contractors details.

Move In
When you have moved in, Hawes & Co will send your proof of deposit registration for you to check, sign and return.

If the property you are renting is managed by Hawes & Co we will be carrying out property visits.

At least 2 months prior to the end of your fixed term Hawes & Co will contact you to discuss your future plans.

Tenancy renewal
This allows further commitment, planning and budgeting for another fixed term. The process replicates the start of the original tenancy.

Serving Notice
If you wish to serve notice please contact Hawes & Co as soon as possible. It will take effect from your 'next' rental due date.

At the end of the tenancy

Tenancy renewal

Around two months prior to the end of your fixed term we will contact you to discuss your future plans. The process is similar to the start of the original tenancy and allows further commitment, planning and budgeting for another fixed term.

Notice and eviction

A tenancy runs until it is ended by either the tenant giving notice, or the landlord serving an eviction notice. As a tenant, the amount of notice you are required to give depends on the type of tenancy you have and your individual tenancy agreement. During the fixed term period of your tenancy, you can usually only end your tenancy early if the tenancy agreement has a break clause.

Providing there is no rent owing, and no cleaning or repairs are needed, your security deposit will be returned to you in full. If cleaning or repairs are required, these will be agreed between you and the landlord and the cost deducted from your deposit, with the balance returned to you.

Useful information for tenants