Beginners Guide to Renting

While owning your own home is often a lifelong ambition for many people, renting can be considered a cheaper and more flexible method of making first steps onto the property ladder. Renting property provides financial stability with more fixed costs and often no maintenance costs. It can also allow tenants to downsize with ease or be more geographically mobile than someone already on the property ladder. We wanted to give you a breakdown of what to expect when making the decision to rent and have provided some useful tips and advice below to guide you in your journey to renting property for the first time!

Picking a Property

When it comes to picking a property, ask yourself what best suits your lifestyle? If you live alone, a smaller property like an apartment or a studio may be more suited to your needs, whereas tenants with families may be looking at houses with a lot of space or storage.

Take some time to consider your ‘must-haves'. Do you need the accommodation to be furnished, unfurnished or part-furnished? Is it imperative the property comes with a parking space, a garden or a certain amount of bedrooms? Make us aware of your requirements and we will endeavour to find a range of suitable properties to show you!

Picking a Location

What is it that you are looking for from your new neighbourhood? Do you want good public transport links or easily accessible local amenities? Are you looking to lead a quieter life in an area with a sense of community, away from the hustle and bustle or seeking vibrant living in a City Centre location?

Be sure to do some independent research on the best neighbourhoods in your area and again, make sure we have a clear idea of exactly what it is you're after. We will do our best to show you properties that suit your individual needs!

Budgeting and Finance

Really think about what you can afford to pay each month. Set out a budget that includes rent, bills and any disposable income to ensure you have enough to live on for the rest of the month. Allow for utilities and services such as water, gas, electric, broadband and TV license and also be aware of what council tax band your property falls under.

You can find your council tax band using this search:

Take into consideration your deposit and any administration fees – in most cases, your deposit will be equivalent to 4-6 weeks rent and application fees can vary depending on the number of tenants moving in to the property.

Obligations as a Tenant

Tenancy agreements can differ depending on the landlord and the property. Take a look below at some standard clauses you can expect to find in your contract:

  • You must pay your rent and other bills (utilities, council tax, TV license etc) on time
  • You must respect the property and its contents as well as any neighbours
  • You must keep the property secure at all times
  • You must take responsibility for basic maintenance (lightbulbs/batteries in smoke alarms)
  • You must not alter the property in any way without written consent from the landlord

Remember to read through any contracts or agreements thoroughly before signing anything. Once you've signed your agreement, retain a physical copy to ensure you have access to information like landlord contact details, rent details and the length of your tenancy.

Make sure you understand the length of your contract and your notice period so you know how much notice you must give your landlord or agent before you're able to vacate.

Moving in

Once you've found yourself a suitable rental property, you'll be able to start thinking about moving in. We wanted to show you it doesn't have to be as difficult as everyone makes out! Remember these 3 tips for a stress-free move:

  • Declutter – the idea of leading a more minimalist life is attractive to many, but the thought of decluttering can often be daunting. Where do you start?! Try to be imaginative; if you were to buy anything you already own again, how much would you pay? This is a good indicator of how attached you are to certain items. Another useful tip would be to have 3 boxes or bin bags to divide your things into; keep, throw away, give away. Follow this process room by room and only stop once every item has been accounted for.
  • Prepare – start collecting cardboard boxes and label them by room (remember you may need more boxes for certain rooms). Make sure that things you will need during the big day are easily accessible like tea/coffee and cleaning products. Don't forget to tell your bank, your employer, the DVLA, your utilities providers, your doctor/dentist, the council and HMRC that your address will be changing. Checking your bank statements for direct debits/standing orders is another good place to start.
  • Organise – the likelihood you'll get everything unpacked and in place in a matter of hours is highly unlikely. Prioritise certain rooms and boxes and organise your belongings strategically. Bear in mind that decorative or ornamental items don't necessarily need to be on display straight away but it's important that your towels and bedding are handy for that well deserved shower and sleep after a hard day's work!

So there you have it, our fool proof guide to renting for the first time! For information relating to properties we have available, or for viewing availability, you can contact us in the office on 0114 275 8333 or email us at

Last Updated: 17/08/2017
Author: Cactus Living

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COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Cactus Living's Guidance to safe lettings and viewings

In what has been unprecedented times we wanted to set out our guidance on how Cactus will operate in the coming months and our guidance must be strictly followed to maintain the safety of our Cactus team and you as our prospective tenant and valued supplier.

If you are unable to follow our guidance please let us know as we will not be able to allow any viewings to take place or enter our offices.  We will not accept any responsibility or liability for any viewer or contractor/supplier for their health while viewing or entering any of our properties or office and this is done entirely at your own risk.   

Thank you

Team Cactus 

#Stay alert and stay safe

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)