Guide to renting a property in Cardiff | CPS Homes

Renting guide

Like buying your first car, renting a house is more complicated than meets the eye. So many questions, so many factors to take into account – size of rooms, number of bedrooms, quality of fixtures, who you’re going to live with… it can be a minefield even for the most experienced of contract-holders. To give you a helping hand, we’ve prepared a step-by-step guide so you can get a sense of what you should expect from the renting process!

Step 1

Narrow Your Search

Before you even book your first viewing, you should have considered where you want to live, the size of the property you’re looking for, and how much rent (plus bills and Council Tax!) you can afford. You should also take into account the reliability of the agent or landlord who’s advertising the property - do some research, check out their reviews and make sure you’re happy with their services.


Step 2

Twenty Questions

Don’t be afraid to ask them. A knowledgeable agent or landlord should be able to answer any queries you throw at them. You want to be sure you’re setting up home in the right place, so never back out of putting the question forward, even if you think it’s the smallest of things. When was the last gas safety check carried out? Is the water on a meter or a set monthly bill? Or, the one that’s top of everybody’s list, where’s the nearest pub? Once you’ve found a property you’re happy with and paid the holding deposit that's typically asked for, the agent will take it off the market and it will be nominally ‘yours’ – but you still need to sign the occupation contract before you can move in.

Don’t forget that you’ll need to undergo some form of check to ensure you’re a suitable contract-holder. Just like you want to make sure the property is the right fit for you, the landlord will want to make sure you’re the right fit for the property! Most landlords and agents will ask for a current employer reference, a current or previous landlord reference and a credit check. Students are usually asked for a financial guarantor.


Step 3

Sign on the Line

Though they’re fully prepared to sign at the bottom of an occupation contract , many contract-holders don’t actually know the details of the legal contract they’re committing to. For example, do you know the time limit your landlord has to place your deposit money with a protection scheme? Do you know what ‘Contract-holder-Like Manner’ is and what it requires you to do? Who’s responsible for the boiler – you or your landlord? (That last one’s a trick question! Landlords have to ensure your heating and hot water systems are running, but contract-holders are expected to be able to top-up the boiler pressure to ensure it runs well.)

Ensure you ask the question about your deposit protection, though, because it’s a crucial one. It’s a legal requirement that your landlord registers your bond with a protection scheme, and you need to know how your money is safeguarded before you commit to your tenancy.


Step 4

Moving Day

So many boxes, so little time – moving day is always hectic! But before you unpack, you should make sure you take a photographic inventory of the property and the furniture. If you have a written inventory, check everything off and make sure it’s all in order. If you’ve packed your tea-bags inside the kettle, you know exactly where they are for that emergency cuppa!


Step 5

Doing Your Bit

As much as the landlord has a responsibility to keep the property in good order, you also have day-to-day duties as the contract-holder. Are you aware that tasks such as changing light bulbs, checking for blockages in drains and unblocking appliance filters are all your responsibility? It all comes under the legal phrase: ‘Contract-holder-Like Manner’.


Step 6

Safety First

Do you know what’s checked when a gas engineer comes out to do his annual safety inspection? How about the number of storeys and contract-holders needed for a property to require an HMO Licence, or how often an electrical certificate needs to be carried out? If you’ve answered even one of these questions correctly, give yourself a pat on the back! To learn all three answers and more, check out our detailed maintenance guides.


Step 7

Moving Out

And before you know it, it’s time to move out. You want to make sure you receive your whole deposit back, but first there are a few things you need to do – taking your final meter readings, closing your utility accounts and giving the property a good clean are good places to start. Your landlord or agent will then perform a check-out inspection to record the condition of the property – that way, there can be no dispute over the condition you left the property in. They'll use this to compare the property at move-in versus check-out.

We hope you find our tips useful! If you have any questions we haven’t answered here or elsewhere in our renting guide, pick up the phone and contact one of our Cardiff branches – we’re always here to help.


To find out how we can help you, e-mail us via or give us a call on 02920 668585. Alternatively, if you fancy calling in for a face-to-face chat, we'd love to see you.