Helping You Build a Life Overseas

Five rules to renting abroad

Moving to another country is a big deal. How are you supposed to know whether it is the right move for you without at least trying it on for size? Renting provides you with the perfect opportunity to explore an area, get to know the local community and try out the amenities before you make the final decision to lay down your roots in a particular area.

The rental market can be a minefield so this week we discuss the most important things to consider when you are looking to rent a home in another country.

One final tip: if you need to exchange pounds into euros, now could be the ideal time as this week I noticed that the £/€ exchange rate is the best it has been for 19 months. To take advantage of this rate, I recommend speaking to the currency specialist Smart Currency Exchange on 0808 163 0102, or for a free no-obligation currency exchange quote, click here

1 Know what to expect

As is the case with any big life decision, make sure that you conduct thorough research before you commit to anything. Investigate your chosen island, the suburbs that surround it, the local property market and visit online expat forums to find handy advice and have your questions answered. As well as looking at public transport, school and work options, if you have the opportunity to visit before you move, it is advisable to drink in the cafés, eat in the restaurants and shop in the shops to see what your everyday life would entail should you choose that particular area. Do a little investigation into recommended agents who have a good reputation and who will be able to help you with the renting process.

2 Know what to consider

While you are conducting your research it is worth starting a list of everything that you want from your rental property. This will mean that when you come to actually viewing properties you will have your priorities straight in your head. Things to consider include what kind of property you would like and in what location, desirable local amenities, the length of tenancy you are after, whether you want the property to be furnished or unfurnished, how many rooms and bathrooms you require and any other special requirements you might have.

3 Know where to look

Finding properties can prove tricky when you are in another country. Contacting relocation agents can be a good place to start as they will be able to provide valuable advice on reputable rental companies in the area. Take a stroll around the neighbourhoods on your list and keep your eyes peeled for “to let” signs so that you can get an idea of what kind of properties are on the market. Keep an eye out for expat magazines which may feature property listings or even offer a service that helps people who have just moved to the area. Never underestimate the power of word-of-mouth. Chat to people, listen to their experiences and take their advice on how to proceed and who to contact.

4 Know what you need

Depending on the country, renting can either be super easy or involve a lot of paperwork. If you have investigated the documents that you will need in order to get a rental agreement, you will be able to collect things as you go along. This will mean that you have them all ready when the time comes to hand them over to your agent. ID and bank statements will be the absolute minimum required to rent a house but don't be shocked if your landlord conducts credit checks, asks for references or demands a number of months rent in advance. 

5 Know your rights

Before signing any rental agreement it is advisable to employ a local, independent lawyer to read through the terms of the rental contract before you sign your name. It is vital that you understand what is expected from you and what is expected from your landlord so that there are no issues at a later stage which could result in you not receiving your deposit back. Make sure that you are fully informed on what you are signing before you do so.