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Tips on choosing where to rent

When you’re looking for houses or flats to rent, the right area for you will depend on your individual circumstances and why you wish to rent. You may already have an ideal location in mind, but if not, our lettings experts can help you find a property in the right area for you. With our local knowledge and property lettings expertise, we can recommend areas that are perfect for your circumstances, requirements and priorities.

To help you think about your priorities when choosing a location, here are some of the factors to consider:

Does it have the five "p's"?

Primary school, pub, parish church, post office, public transport? For longer-term rentals, these are the basic requirements for many people. However, if you’re looking for a property to let for the short-term or if you’re renting with a group of friends, some of these may be less important to you.

Where can you afford to rent?

When you apply for a rental property, your earnings are one of the factors that will dictate whether you pass the referencing process. Why not speak to us and we can explain how this works? Rental prices can vary considerably within quite small areas, so ask our agents to recommend specific locations that are within your budget.

What type of area are you looking for?

A lively urban area with lots going on, or a quiet rural setting? Do you want to be able to walk to the shops? Are you looking for an area with lots of community activities, sports clubs and leisure amenities? How important is it to live within a certain commuting distance of work? Think about all these factors to help you choose the best locations.

Do you have children? 

If so, you’ll need to look at local schools. Find out which catchment area you are in and whether schools are oversubscribed. An area with lots of other families is likely to have plenty of opportunities and facilities for children.

Look ahead

If you’re making a long-term move, don’t choose a place you will outgrow in a couple of years. If your requirements are more temporary, think about your top priorities and what you are prepared to compromise on in the short term.

How to get your deposit back

No-one wants to lose their deposit at the end of their tenancy, so here are our top tips to ensure you get your full deposit back when you leave your rental property.

The most obvious tip is simply to leave the property as you found it!

Getting your deposit back

As you approach the end of your tenancy, compare the condition and contents of the property to the inventory you were given when you moved in. We recommend you do the following:

  • Have the rental property professionally cleaned – including carpets. Keep the receipts to prove that this has been done – it means the landlord can ask the cleaning company to re-visit if the cleaning isn’t up to scratch.
    Insider tip: Inventory clerks will always check the oven and washing machine tray.
  • If you have moved items of furniture around, return them to the original rooms so they can be accounted for.
  • If you have re-decorated and the tenancy agreement requires that the decoration is returned to its original state, please do this to a professional standard before check out.
  • Ensure all rent is paid up to date.
  • Take meter readings on the last day of the tenancy and inform all relevant utility companies – you must make sure the bills are paid until the end of your tenancy period.
  • Provide a forwarding address to the landlord or letting agent.
  • If you are unsure about the condition of the property, ask the agent for a pre-check-out visit so they can point out anything that needs attention. You then have time to rectify any issues before the check-out day.
  • Make sure that all keys given to you upon check-in (and any you have had cut since) are returned on or before the check-out appointment.
  • Bear in mind that reasonable wear and tear is allowed, but the level of wear and tear will vary according to how long you have lived in the property.

Find your ideal property to rent

There’s a lot to think about when you are looking for a house or flat to rent. Your individual circumstances will determine what sort of rental property is right for you – and our experienced Lettings team is here to guide you every step of the way.

Your rental property search

We always start by understanding your reasons for renting and the factors that are most important to you. For example, if you’re looking for a long-term family home to rent, you will have different priorities to an individual who is relocating with work and just needs a stop-gap rental property. That’s why we take time to listen to your needs, so we can recommend the right sort of house or flat for you to rent.

Here’s a brief guide to the process involved in renting your ideal property:

Register your details

At the outset, we will ask you about what you’re looking for in a rental property and your top priorities – whether location, property size, price or any other factors. Are you looking for a furnished or unfurnished house or flat to rent? Do you have pets? Do you need to be in a particular school catchment area?

View rental properties

Go and see the properties we recommend. Always make a detailed inspection to see how well the property matches your wishlist. Remember that in the rental property market, the timescales are quite short. Landlords don’t like their properties to be vacant for long, so don’t start looking at rental properties too soon before you are ready to move. Let us know if you have a deadline for moving in.


Once you have found a house or flat that’s right for you to rent, you need to submit an application. We can help you create a tenant profile, detailing all tenants, any pets and any special requirements that you have. The landlord will then decide whether to accept you as a tenant, subject to references and signing all application paperwork.


Third-party reference checks are mandatory when you rent a property with Preston Baker. These usually include credit checks, financial checks and previous landlord references, if applicable. In some circumstances a guarantor will be required, who will be subject to the same reference checks.

Complete paperwork

After successful referencing, all legal paperwork is completed and the tenancy agreement is signed by all parties (including the guarantor, if applicable).

Pay deposit

We will take the deposit payment and the first term’s rent before your moving-in date. These funds must be cleared three days before you move in.

Move in

We will hand over the keys to your new home on the agreed moving-in date. For most rental properties you will be given an inventory of items and a condition report for the property. You have seven days to check these and inform us of any inaccuracies.

Renting a property: what are the fees?

When you rent a house or flat, there are a number of costs involved, most of which are paid before you move in.

On all rental properties you will have to pay:

Administration and referencing fees

Our Fees Page

Deposit and first term’s rent

The deposit is refundable at the end of your tenancy, subject to a satisfactory inspection of the rental property. If you intend to pay your rent monthly, you will need to pay a month’s rent in advance. If you intend to pay quarterly, you will pay a quarter’s rent in advance. These funds must be cleared three days before you move in.

Rediness Schemes

  • Property Ombudsman
  • The Solicitors Regulation Authority