Finding a Place

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Moving to a new home can be a huge decision, with many factors to consider along the way. The information below highlights things to consider when finding a new home, with the aim of helping you to find the perfect place to settle in Brighton and Hove.

 

Things to Consider

Before you start looking for a property in the private sector, there are a number of things to consider before you are ready to begin your search. The information on this page will direct you to helpful resources that will guide you through a search for property in the private rented sector.

 

Budget

It is important to consider your budget before searching for a property, not only for rent, but additional expenses such as utility bills, food, travel, childcare, council tax and the cost of moving. The price of renting in Brighton and Hove is above the national average, so make sure you research the cost of your move before going ahead.

Most letting agencies will also have additional costs that must be factored into your search such as the tenancy deposit, administration fees and guarantor fees (if applicable).

A great tool to help calculate your moving budget can be found on the Shelter website.

favicon-16x16Rent Smart! – Additional things to consider when creating a moving can include hiring movers, buying packing boxes and moving material and buying any additional furniture or white goods that you may need for your new home.

It is important to consider your budget very carefully before you move as it can influence the size and location of the properties you consider.

 

Location

When thinking about renting, it is important to think about what it is you would like from the area you move into.

  • Would you prefer a quiet location?
  • Would you like to live close to local amenities?
  • Do you need good public transport links?
  • Would the area of your search require a permit to park your car?
  • Are their suitable childcare options in the area?
  • Is it close to your child's school?

All of these are things to consider when deciding on your search area and it is important to be aware of the area you would like to live in, however you should also bear in mind that the smaller your search area, the fewer number of suitable properties will be available to you.

Below are some useful links that could help you decide on location in Brighton and Hove:

 

Type of Property

Before you begin your search, it is wise to consider the type of property that would be suitable for your needs and would fit into your budget, the number of bedrooms required would depend on your circumstances. Do you have children that require their own bedroom? Are you a single person looking for a room or studio flat? Are you a group of housemates searching for a shared property? These circumstances determine the way your search will be carried out.

favicon-16x16Rent Smart! – By considering factors such as budget, location and type of property before you begin your search, the process of finding a private sector property in Brighton and Hove is made simpler as your search criteria has narrowed and you can focus on suitable properties only.

 

Searching for a Property

Now that you know your budget, type of property and location preferences, it is time to begin the search. A good place to start when looking for rented accommodation are the following property websites:

These property websites tend to advertise whole properties to rent so would be a suitable place to search if looking for a family home, shared house or whole property to let.

If you are looking for a room to rent in an existing house share, or with a resident landlord, the websites below may be useful:

There are additional websites that are used to advertise rooms or properties, however these websites do not check that advertisements are genuine and you must always be certain that the advert is real before signing any contracts or handing over any money for a property:

Additionally, you may find properties advertised on community notice boards, through family and friends or in local newspapers.

If you are looking for a student property, both University of Sussex and University of Brighton have their own advice for students searching in the private sector.

favicon-16x16Rent Smart! – We would always recommend checking out reviews of the landlord or letting agent that is managing the private sector property that you are interested in. Rent Smart Brighton and Hove recommends www.allagents.co.uk as an easy to navigate site that enables tenants to look at reviews of landlords and letting agents in the area, all left by previous tenants with first hand experiences. Landlords and Letting Agents are also given the right to reply, giving you a chance to get an impression of their practices before dealing with them personally. If you are unable to find a review on All Agents or you wish to see additional reviews, Google allows you to see reviews of businesses by searching for them through the search engine directly.

 

Letting Agency Requirements

The majority of private renters will use the services of a local letting agent when renting a new home. Letting agencies may be in charge of the management of a property, or they may just be acting on behalf of the landlord to find a tenant. It is important for anyone renting in the private sector to understand the legal responsibilities of a letting agent in order to ensure that they are getting a fair deal and are confident that the letting agent follows good practices when dealing with tenants.

It is now a legal requirement for all letting agents to post the fees they charge to tenants both on their website and in their offices. In Brighton and Hove, letting agents generally charge around £185-£200 per person in fees, and these are separate from a deposit and first months rent charged. These rates do vary across the city, we would recommend that you are fully aware of any fees expected of you (both in advance of and during the tenancy) before signing any contracts or handing over any money for a property.

All letting agents in the UK must be a member of one of three certified redress schemes by law. These redress schemes are the following:

If you come across a letting agent in your search for a property that is not a member of one of these schemes, it is not advisable to continue to deal with them and we would recommend reporting this to Brighton and Hove City Council to take action.

Details about the ways in which redress schemes benefit tenants can be found here.

favicon-16x16Rent Smart! – Always ask a letting agent about their own complaints process in advance of renting a property. Good letting agents will be happy to share a transparent policy as well as contact details of the redress scheme that they belong to.

 

Viewing a Property

Once you have found a property online that you are interested in, we recommend that you always arrange a viewing before agreeing to take on the property or handing over any money.

favicon-16x16Rent Smart! – If you are moving into Brighton and Hove from another area or country, it is always a good idea to book some time in a hotel in the city for a week or so and arrange as many viewings as possible whilst you are here. Never agree to a property without viewing it first!

When going to view a property, there are many things that you should keep an eye out for to make sure that the property is not only suitable for you personally, but also in an acceptable condition to live in. It could be very useful to take a checklist with you so that you know what to look for during your viewing and are equipped to ask the right questions. Many useful checklist can be found online:

It is a legal requirement for any landlord or letting agent to provide a tenant with a copy of the government How To Rent Guide before moving into a property, however it is a very useful document to read before viewing a property too.

 

House In Multiple Occupation (HMO) License

Be aware that if you are considering renting a shared house or student house, the property may be legally required to be licensed for shared use. We recommend that you ask the landlord or letting agent to see the certificate to show that the house has a HMO (house in multiple occupation) license, and if you are in doubt contact Brighton and Hove City Council to find out. If you move into a property that has not been licensed, you are at risk of eviction. More information can be found on the Councils website.

favicon-16x16Rent Smart!Even if a landlord or agent produces a HMO license, it is important to check that the house is being rented in accordance with the conditions of that license. Does the number of people letting the property match the number allowed on the license? If the landlord or letting agent is renting the property to more than the maximum stated on the license, this is a criminal offence.

 

Planning Restrictions

Many HMO properties in Brighton and Hove are houses that have been converted for shared occupancy and often have additional bedrooms added through conversions or extensions. A common misconception amongst some landlords is that obtaining a HMO license for these properties is all that is needed to let them. However if the property has been converted, planning consent is also a legal requirement. When renting a property in the private sector, we would strongly advise that you ask the landlord or letting agent if the property has all legal planning consent and ask to see confirmation of this. More information around planning consent can be found on the Councils website.

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