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Finding a good rented property


It's been about 8 months since Mat and I moved to Cambridge to live together, and it's been a bit of a learning curve. We had some teething issues with the property that weren't immediately obvious but luckily, after some persistence, these have now been totally resolved and we're content with where we are. That said, there are a few things I wish someone had told me before we took the plunge.

Check the council tax rate - Our council tax is £137 a month. While there are probably some who pay more, and some less, we didn't really factor this in when considering how much our rent and bills were going to be. If you're renting from a letting agent they should have the council tax band displayed in the listing, which you can then go online with and find out how much the damage will be.

Check for mould, mildew and condensation - Depending on your budget, you may find that properties at the cheaper end of the spectrum are single glazed or don't have extractor fans fitted in the bathroom and kitchen. This can be bad news, as poor ventilation can lead to condensation and mould. Check windowsills, ceilings and tile grouting for signs of mould. If mould is black I would advise you run a mile as this can be a health hazard.

Go for gas heating if you can - A lot of flats are fitted with electric storage heating, and while modern systems aren't much less efficient than good old gas heating, old storage heaters can consume more energy, throw out a dusty, musty smell and be a fire hazard if you were to hang anything over them. We got lucky with gas heating as our flat is a converted house, but be choosy with this if you can.

Be aware that you probably won't be able to redecorate - Our flat is a horrifying, soul destroying shade of magnolia throughout. While some people might not mind it, I do and the fact that we aren't allowed to redecorate makes making the place our own a bit tricky. Invest in prints and canvases to brighten the place up if, like us, you can't attack the walls with glorious matte white.

Image source (that's right, this is not my house)

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