A few weeks ago we told you what it was like to rent a home in the middle of the pandemic through an article narrated in first person, and based on the experience of a person who had rented a house during covid-19 on idealista. Now, this same tenant recounts his first months in the property and offers a series of basic tips to avoid making mistakes such as paying the landlord’s overdue electricity and gas bills or having to repair any damage to the property once the contract has been signed.

The first recommendation is related to the security of your decision. It is important that you are convinced about moving into a new rental property, whether it is your first rental or not. Being sure will avoid future frustrations. The next thing you should have is patience, because you have to assume that renting a property takes time. You will not like all the flats you visit, and the ones that do fit your preferences may have several interested parties and in the end you may not be the one chosen. If this happens, it is important not to get discouraged, because it could lead you to accept the next flat you visit, even if you don’t like it, just for fear of not finding something better.

One of the best pieces of advice you can receive before deciding on any property is to leave impulsivity aside. That is to say, you may like the house, it may have all the services you demand, it may be located in the area you were looking for, it may be economical… but that is not everything. Before making the final decision, it is vital to ask about the costs and the coexistence with the rest of the neighbours.

With regard to the first question, it is necessary to know not only what the house consumes in electricity, gas or water, but also to ask about the community expenses. Normally, it is the owner who pays these expenses, but on occasion you may find yourself with an unpleasant surprise. In fact, this has happened to me twice. In relation to this issue, I also recommend that you ask about the kitchen appliances. It is common that in the excitement of finding a house that we like we do not pay attention to the description of the advert where some owners warn that the property is rented without furniture or that the kitchen does not have electrical appliances.

In this case, I didn’t have my own appliances because my former landlady rented me the house fully equipped. It sounds silly, but I dismissed a house that met all the requirements I demanded just because I was not willing to invest in the purchase of appliances, especially because I would have to add this expense to the estate agent’s fees, the month’s deposit, the security deposit and the first month’s rent. Too much outlay in a short space of time, but this was a personal decision, because there are also people who prefer to buy their own appliances and take them with them to their future homes, whether renting or buying.

Once you have clarified these points, the next thing you should do is to ask about the costs of the property: electricity, water and, if it has it, gas. In my case, the owner of the house I finally rented even showed me bills from previous months so that I could check how much money I would have to pay for these services. My recommendation is to access (if you can) those bills to see if the expense is within your means.

If you can afford to pay the rent and the associated costs, I would advise you to find out about the neighbourhood cohabitation. This is where your personal preferences come into play, because there will be people who like to live in a community and others who prefer more peace and quiet in this respect. What is important is that you feel comfortable not only in your home, but also in the area where you are going to live.

When you have made your decision based on all these premises, ‘only’ you have to sign the contract. And I say ‘only’ because it is actually the most important step and where any mistake can spoil your immediate future. Read the contract more than once, twice and three times, ask questions about anything you don’t understand, complain about anything you think is not included and should be, clarify all the points of the agreement and don’t sign anything until you are sure. In my case, I was concerned about a section related to the payment of the community fee and as it was written, it seemed that I would be the one to pay for it. After a clarification and a modification the matter was clarified.

But before signing, there is one more thing to do: to check the inventory of the flat and the damages. In my specific case, the landlady drew up a list of objects that remained in the flat and another list of those that did not, so as not to have any problems the day our relationship came to an end. In the case of the damages, they were all fixed before the contract was signed.