Making an offer

Once you have decided on the flat or house you want to rent, you need to express your interest, negotiate the details and ensure that the property will not be let to anyone else.

As well as the obvious rental price, there are several other aspects of a tenancy which are important to landlords so, when you make an offer to rent a property from a landlord, all these points should be made clear to avoid later confusion. They are:

  • Length of contract - The vast majority of private tenancies nowadays are Assured Shorthold Tenancies (ASTs). ASTs can be any length but the most common lengths are 6 months or 12 months. If you have a 6 month or 12 month contract with no break clause, then these are fixed term contracts i.e. neither you nor the landlord can break the contract before it expires - you and the landlord are committed to either 6 or 12 months.

    A break clause can be put in a tenancy agreement to give either or both parties a chance to end the contract early should they need to. For example, a 12 month contract with a 6 month break clause on both sides would mean that either the landlord or the tenant could give notice for the tenant to leave at any time after 6 months. So, the contract can be broken at the end of month 6, 7 or 8 and so on.

  • Move-in date - When you make your offer on a property, you should set a tentative move-in date. Bear in mind that the longer a property is empty, the more it costs the landlord. So, if you want a property that is currently empty in 2 months time, don't be surprised if the landlord rejects your offer on the basis that he has time to find someone else who will start paying rent sooner.

  • Conditions - If there is anything you want adding to, removing from or doing to the property, it is best to make it clear at the very beginning. Some landlords will have flexibility on providing or removing items of furniture but some simply won't have the means to be able to do so. Likewise, some landlords will agree to make improvements to the property, but some won't and this may effect your decision to rent the property.