Are you unsure of what you need to think about and what to look out for when securing a rental property? Don’t worry! Read through our comprehensive property viewing checklist to make sure you’re prepared when it comes to viewing and booking a rental home.
Before you consider booking a rental property, you must ensure that you can actually afford to live there. Not only should you budget for the upfront costs – deposit and first month’s rent – but you’ll also have to factor in other living costs such as council tax, groceries, travel and entertainment!
When it comes to what you should think about before booking, these are the main things you should consider:
∙ What is your budget for rental accommodation?
∙ If requested by the landlord, will you be able to pay a deposit within a couple of weeks?
∙ How much council tax will you have to pay?
Location and transport
There’s plenty of things to consider when it comes to choosing your rental home – and it’s all down to your personal preferences and priorities. If you have a car, you might need to find out whether there’s space to park. If you have children, a school nearby might be a priority.
With that in mind, here are some lifestyle questions you should consider when searching for a house to rent:
∙ How far is it from the property to your place of work/study?
∙ Are there any shops nearby?
∙ How far away is your nearest supermarket?
∙ Is the property near a bus or train route?
∙ Is there enough parking?
∙ Are there good schools nearby?
It’s important to know how much it will cost to live in the property, and what you can expect from the landlord whilst living there. Here are some very important questions you should ask your landlord, or letting agent:
∙ How much is the rent?
∙ What is included in the rent? (Are bills included?)
∙ How much deposit is required to secure the property?
∙ Which tenancy deposit protection scheme will your deposit be secured in?
∙ What insurance does the landlord have to cover the property? And what do you need to insure yourself?
Letting agent fees
In 2016’s Autumn Statement the Chancellor, Phillip Hammond, announced that the government intends to ban letting agent fees charged to tenants. However, this change will not come into effect until late 2018. It’s really important that you understand how much a letting agent can charge you.
Some letting agencies will charge you hundreds of pounds to book a rental property, so it’s really important to make sure you find out all of the costs attributed to booking a property.
Here at ClickTenant.com, we only charge a booking fee of £79, taken at the point of booking. That’s it. We have no hidden costs. You won’t have to pay for tenant or guarantor agreements, property check-ins or check-outs.
Viewing the property
Once you have considered everything before booking a viewing, you’ll need to know what to look out for when you’re visiting the rental property for the first time. Make sure you’re asking plenty of questions, and checking the condition of the property, whilst you’re being shown around.
Here are a few things you should look out for when assessing the condition of exterior of the property:
∙ Are any of the roof tiles broken or loose?
∙ Are any of the gutters damaged?
∙ Is the brickwork crumbling at all?
∙ Are there any signs of dampness, mould or condensation?
Furniture and fittings
When viewing the property, you must find out whether it will be furnished or unfurnished. Make sure you’re aware of what is included, and what isn’t, so you know what to bring with you when you move in.
Don’t forget! This doesn’t just include all of the furniture inside the property – you should also make sure that you ask if you will be provided with any white goods (washing machine, fridge, tumble dryer).
∙ What (if any) furniture is provided?
∙ What condition is the furniture in?
∙ Is there a washing machine and tumble dryer provided?
∙ What condition are the carpets in?
∙ Does the cooker work?
∙ Does the fridge work?
∙ What form of heating does the property use?
∙ Is there hot and cold running water?
Health and safety
Finally, health and safety. Landlords in the UK are legally required to ensure that the property is kept in repair and in safe working order – unless the damage has been caused by tenant negligence.
It’s always worth checking that the property is safe for you to live in.
Here’s what you should look out before:
∙ Is the wiring safe?
∙ Have the electrical appliances been PAC tested?
∙ Can you landlord produce a valid gas safety certificate?
∙ Are there working smoke alarms?
∙ Is there a fire blanket in the kitchen?
∙ Are fire extinguishers supplied?
∙ Does the furniture (if any) comply with fire safety regulations?
∙ How secure are the locks on the doors and windows?
If you do come across poor housing conditions (eg. no running water, excessive mould, etc), you can report to your local authority under the Landlord and Tenant Act 1985.