Use this essential checklist when viewing potential new homes.
When you're viewing a house or flat to rent, you're not just looking at a pile of bricks and mortar - this could be your future home.
Of course, you'll have an instant emotional reaction, but you should try to balance this with a rational assessment of living there, including the local area and the condition of your potential new home, both inside and out.
Your own priorities will vary depending on whether you're viewing houses, flats, studio flats or just rooms, but this checklist should act as a basic guide to help keep all your bases covered.
For extra ease, we've made a checklist you can print and take with you to your next viewing.
- Is the outside of the property in good condition?
- Is the property secure - including windows and external doors (check the quality of the locks)?
- Is there an entry-phone system and burglar alarm? And has it ever been burgled or damaged?
- Is there a garden?
- What is the aspect of the front and/or back garden?
- Who is responsible for maintaining the garden?
- What is the state of the garage, shed and/or other outbuildings?
- Is there a driveway or off-street parking? Is a permit required?
- Are there any potential nuisances or red flags - passing traffic noise, a nearby nightclub, exposure to flash flooding?
- Are the windows single, double or triple-glazed?
- Do the downstairs windows have locks?
- What is the condition of the window frames?
- Is there enough storage space?
- Is there central heating? Do the boiler and all the radiators function properly?
- Is there any sign of dodgy wiring, loose wires or faulty plugs, lights or light switches?
- Are there carbon monoxide detectors present (a carbon monoxide alarm is legally required in any room containing a solid fuel-burning appliance)?
- Are there enough smoke alarms (private sector landlords have been required to have at least one smoke alarm installed on every storey of their properties since 1 October 2015)? Do they work?
- Is there an easy means of escape in the event of a fire?
- Is any furniture unsafe, broken or damaged in any way?
- Do the furnishings comply with the latest fire safety regulations (1989 Fire and Furniture Regulations)?
- Are there enough power sockets? Are they easily accessible?
- Is there a phone/internet line?
- Are there signs of damp, mould, condensation, woodworm, pests, flaking paint or infestations of any kind?
- Are the curtains or blinds in working order?
- Is there privacy from the street and the garden?
- Do kitchen appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers work?
- Are there enough kitchen cupboards and work surfaces?
- Are the pots, pans and kitchen equipment in good condition?
- What is the condition of the dining table and chairs?
- What is the pressure from taps?
- What are the sizes of the fridge and freezer?
- Is there a fire blanket and fire extinguisher in the kitchen (this is required by law if the property is an HMO)?
- Are there any signs of damp/mould?
- Is there a window or extractor fan?
- Does the toilet flush and do the bath and sinks drain adequately?
- Are the sealants around the bath and shower intact?
- Are the taps and shower not leaking?
- Is there hot water, and good water pressure from the taps and the shower?
- Are the bedrooms adequately heated? Are there curtains?
- Is there a built-in wardrobe and/or cupboard?
- What is the condition of the mattress?
- How much is the rent and what is included?
- What other bills are there and what are you liable to pay?
- What are the estimated running costs of the property?
- How much of a deposit is required? What are the conditions for the landlord deducting money from the deposit?
- Can you comfortably afford the rent on top of the deposit and running costs?
- What are the neighbours on each side like?
- Can the property receive a quality broadband and wi-fi service?
- Are there any mobile phone dead spots?
- Are you allowed to redecorate?
- Is there a landlord's gas safety record available to view?
- Have all appliances had safety checks (PAT tested)? Is the paperwork available to view? (PAT testing is not a legal requirement, but all electrical items should be maintained in good condition and serviced as necessary)
- Proximity to public transport connections and amenities
- If anything needs to be repaired, ask the landlord in writing.
- If the landlord agrees to make repairs, ask them to agree to it in writing.
- Double-check the inventory before you move in.
- Get a copy of the tenancy agreement and make sure you fully understand it.
- Keep your own signed copy of the tenancy agreement.
- Ask previous tenants about their experience of the landlord and the property.
- Check and note all meter readings on the day you move in.
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