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Renting a Property for the First Time

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Renting a property for the first time is an exciting milestone! However, you do have a lot to think about, from location to type of property. This guide will walk you through the entire process. Ensuring you feel confident and prepared every step of the way! So, let’s take a look.

What to look for in a rental property

Before you start your search, it’s crucial to understand what you’re looking for in a rental property. Perhaps you’ve heard of a ‘wants and needs list’ before? This is an excellent place to start.

Your ‘needs’ should come before the things you’d ‘want’. For example, you might consider your budget for rental accommodation to be something you ‘need’. You’ll need to stick to a certain budget to be able to afford the place, you’d like to rent including bills.

Here’s what to consider:


Be realistic by setting a budget, how much money can you afford to spend on rent each month plus your bills? Also, be clear on what (if anything) is included in the rental price.

To get yourself in a good position before you start your rental journey if you can, having a savings pot or ‘emergency fund’ to fall back on can give you peace of mind should your personal circumstances change.

Having money to fall back on can prevent you from having rent arrears.

Depending on your situation you may be able to get help with the costs of renting. Certain benefits or grants might help you with a tenancy deposit, ongoing rent payments, or household bills.


Consider the proximity of your rental accommodation to work and what your commute is in both travel time and travel costs. Also, if relevant to you, you might also want to know if there are any nearby schools.

If you don’t own a car then public transport connections might be important to you. So do your research and find out how close you are to these things.

Size and amenities

How many bedrooms and bathrooms do you need? Do you need parking, if so, how many parking spaces are needed? Is there a garden? Is it a pet-friendly home? These are all important things to consider.

By making a list of your wants and needs you can notably keep a good focus and be really clear with letting agents what you’re looking for in a home.

Considering your rental options

There are actually many different types of rental properties you can choose from when looking for the perfect pad.

The majority of rented accommodation in the UK is through the private renal sector (PRS) which is where you rent direct from a landlord or through a landlords appointed letting agent. Local lettings agents will manage a wide range of rental properties and can help you with your search.

However, you should know your and your landlord’s responsibilities when renting. For example, there are currently over 160 pieces of legislation landlords are required to adhere to! To be sure your landlord is adhering to these regulations then this is when renting through Propertymark letting agent is invaluable. They are regulated and qualified agents who ensure the property is safe, legally compliant, and suitable to rent.

Find Your Agent

Common questions for renting a property for the first time

How do I know if the rent is fair?

Research the rental market in your desired area. Check what other similar properties are charging on websites and property portals as they can also provide a good benchmark. Be wary if a price feels too good to be true, as rental scams are sadly common with less favourable agents.

What initial costs should I expect?

Besides the monthly rent, you’ll need to budget for a deposit (usually five weeks’ rent), an application fee (if applicable), and possibly the first month’s rent in advance.

Can I negotiate the rent?

Yes, you could negotiate the rent, especially if the property has been on the market for a while. However, the current rental market is competitive with high demand and reduced supply.

Next steps

Now that you are fully prepared to rent a property for the first time, you should also read our full how to rent guide. Remember, thorough research and understanding your wants and needs are key to finding a rental home.

While you don’t own the property, you’re still establishing your life there, so you must be sure it’s going to accommodate your needs. As a result, we have created a free rental toolkit for you to download, designed to assist you in finding your perfect rental.

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Last Updated: July 9th, 2024

Phil Spencer

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