For many people, a letting agent will be the first port of call when looking for somewhere to rent, but be aware that they can come with extra fees including charges for credit checks and setting up the inventory.

Letting agents will advertise rental properties, arrange viewings and help negotiate the tenancy agreement. In some cases they even manage the property on behalf of the landlord, so it’s worthwhile investigating just how involved your letting agent will be.

A perk of dealing with letting agents is that they must be part of an approved redress scheme that can mediate in disputes between landlords and tenants. The letting agent must clearly state which scheme they are members of.

The three government-backed schemes are: The Property Ombudsman (TPO) Ombudsman Services Property Property Redress Scheme. Most tenancy agreements last for a year and normally no longer than three years – this offers the landlord a financial guarantee for a significant period of time and also gives the tenant enough freedom to leave the agreement if needed.

If you’re a student or you’re planning to move job or area in the not-too-distant future, then it’s probably best to make sure you stick to a six-month or one-year agreement, a break clause is also quite standard now, too. This allows the tenant and the landlord to end a fixed-term tenancy early.

Renting is not a cheap process and it’s wise to make sure you’re financially setup before starting your search. Here are the costs you could face before securing your rental.

The average cost for rent in England is £675 a month, but for London that figure jumps to £1,400. Property costs will be advertised as ‘pw’ (per week) or ‘pcm’ (per calendar month) and you will normally have to pay your first month’s rent in advance.  Be careful not to calculate the monthly rent by multiplying the weekly charge by four, though.

A typical month lasts longer than 28 days, so the extra days’ rent you don’t include will add up and could leave you budgeting less money than you need. Some agreements also include bills within the rent which can work out cheaper and is a great option for tenants in shared houses.

Try to be flexible with your property search, a garden can add a lot on to the rent so if it isn’t a necessity take it off your checklist. Or, try looking a little further away from central locations or main transport stations – the convenience will cost more. Be sure to budget for your outgoings as much as you can. Set up direct debits and check you’re on the best energy tariff for your household.