Where can I look for properties?
There are several ways you can search for a place to rent privately, these include:
Many landlords use letting agents to manage and let their properties. The letting agency may advertise their properties on a website, in their window, or in local papers.
Local newspapers often advertise properties that are to let weekly.
Adverts in shop windows can often be close to where the property is so you could try walking around an area you are interested in.
Word of mouth
Hearing first-hand experience from a friend or family member can be a good option for finding a reliable landlord.
Glyndŵr students’ union and university
If you are a student at Glyndŵr University, you may be able to get advice through the student’s union or the university about finding somewhere to stay.
Shelter Cymru also provides guidance on finding a place to rent.
Renting from a landlord or letting agency
If you are renting privately you could be renting from a landlord or letting agent.
What is the difference between a landlord and a letting agent?
If a landlord is fully managing a property they rent out this means they carry out all tasks involved in managing the property. This includes marketing the property, finding tenants, collecting deposits, establishing tenancy agreements, carrying out inventories, collecting rent, arranging property maintenance and renewing/ending tenancies.
In some cases a landlord may decide to pay a letting agent to act on their behalf. The landlord may choose to get an agent just to let a property, collect the rent, or to fully manage a property. Whoever has the role of managing the property will be who you usually deal with directly during your tenancy (for example who you report repairs to).
The landlord always has legal responsibilities to keep even if an agent is managing a property. If the letting agent is causes issues during your tenancy you can contact the landlord directly to let them know.
You have the right to ask the agent to provide the name and contact details for your landlord if this is not provided in your tenancy agreement. The agent must provide the information within 21 days of your request.
Shelter Cymru provides further information about letting agents.
What to do before you rent
Check that the landlord or letting agent is registered/licensed
All landlords with property in Wales need to register themselves and their properties with Rent Smart Wales.
Self-managing landlords and letting agents acting on behalf of a landlord must also be licensed with Rent Smart Wales. Landlords and agents receive Rent Smart Wales approved training before getting their licence.
The licence lasts for five years and landlords/agents must follow a Code of Practice in order to keep their licence.
You can search the online public register to check whether a property, landlord, or agent is registered (you’ll need the landlord or agents name and the address of the property).
If you find they are not registered it’s worth asking if they have applied for a licence (if they haven’t you can report this to Rent Smart Wales).
It is a good idea to view several different properties before you decide to rent.
If you can meet the landlord or letting agent at each property it will give you a chance to ask questions. It can give you an opportunity to judge how well your relationship with the landlord or letting agent will be. You may also get the chance to ask other tenants about their experiences.
What to check and ask questions about at a property viewing:
- rent (the amount of rent you will be charged, how often it will be due, whether it includes bills and Council Tax)
- repairs (what the procedure is for reporting disrepair)
- tenancy deposit protection (which approved deposit protection scheme will be used if you are going to be paying a tenancy deposit)
- how the property is managed
- the property’s Energy Performance Certificate
- gas appliance checks (ask to see a copy of the gas safety record/certificate which should detail the most recent annual check for any gas appliances, if it isn’t provided at the viewing make sure you see a copy before signing a tenancy agreement)
- where any smoke detectors in the property are located and if there is a fire escape route
Check the tenancy agreement
Always read the tenancy agreement thoroughly before you decide to sign.
If you previously asked questions about the property, make sure that the tenancy agreement matches any answers you were given (for example the rent amount and how often it needs paying).
Most tenancies are assured shorthold agreements that last for 6 or 12 months. They should not include responsibility for repairs that would legally be the responsibility of your landlord.
If you are unsure about any of the terms within the agreement you can try contacting Shelter Cymru for advice.
Rent Smart Wales provides a helpful tenant checklist you can refer to when looking for a place to rent, find it under ‘Tenant Information’ in the Rent Smart Wales resource library (external link).