Your Guide to Making an Offer on a Rental Property

What does making an offer on a rental property mean? 

Viewing a rental property is exciting but can also be nerve-racking — especially if you fall in love with the place and are eager to secure it. That’s why you need to make an offer on the property if you like it; doing so is a sign of intent that you’re serious about moving in. 

Offers are typically made to the letting agent who markets the property, or to the landlord if they are advertising it themselves. If you make an offer to an agent, they will inform the landlord, who then has the final say on whether to accept, negotiate or turn the offer down. 

Is making an offer on a rental legally binding? 

Making an offer on a rental property isn’t legally binding. If for any reason you need to withdraw the offer placed (written or verbally), you can do so as long as you haven’t signed the rental agreement. Inform the agent or landlord so that you have evidence of amending or retracting your offer. 

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If your offer was accepted and you paid the holding deposit, you might forgo your rights for getting the deposit back, as you were the one who withdrew the offer. 

When should I make an offer?

The best time to make an offer is when you decide you’d like to live in the property. This typically happens after viewing the home, but there are cases where renters decide they want to move in without a physical viewing — especially if they’re moving from overseas and logistics play a problem.

Renting during Covid-19

New social distancing measures means that viewings look different post-coronavirus. Please bear in mind that you should do the following during any physical viewing:

  • Wear gloves and a facemask where possible
  • Don’t touch surfaces, cupboards or doors. These should be left open in advance by the current occupant
  • Remain two meters apart

How does making an offer on a rental property work? 

When making an offer, you will have to fill out an offer form (either via email or through an online platform) that contains questions regarding your personal details. The questions vary depending on who you make the offer with but expect to provide information about your current (and past) addresses, place of work, income and referees. 

The sooner you fill out the form, the quicker you’ll get a response from the landlord. Not all agencies and landlords wait for every application to be submitted before making a decision and often accept an offer as soon as they receive one they’re happy with. 

Can I negotiate the asking price? 

You will need to offer the asking price if there’s lots of competition for the property. If, however, the landlord doesn’t have loads of interest from renters, you might be able to negotiate. Your negotiating power depends on different variables, such as the landlord’s desire to let the home and how much you want to move in. 

Post Pandemic Renting

Make sure the offer is respectful if it’s below the asking price. You don’t want it to come across that you’re not serious about moving into the property. The landlord might accept your lower offer or come back with a counter one. 

What do I need to look out for when making an offer on a property? 

Research and find out average rents for the area or if there are similar properties in the neighbourhood. It’s also worth researching the letting agent to see their feedback from other renters and landlords, just to make sure they provide a good-quality service. 

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