When you view a property to rent, it pays to be organised. Our rental viewing checklist will provide you with questions to ask and things to look out for.
Whether you are viewing a house or a flat, it could be your home for the foreseeable future, so be prepared and make a rational assessment of the property.
Although you are going to be renting a house or a flat rather than buying it, remember that it will be your home for the foreseeable future. Of course you will have an instant emotional reaction to any property, but you should balance this with a rational assessment of the potential of living in the property, including the local area and amenities, the condition of the property both inside and out and the costs that come with living in it.
Obviously, your own priorities will vary depending on whether you're viewing houses, flats, studio flats or just rooms, but the checklist should act as a basic guide to help you keep all of your bases covered.
- Does the outside of the property appear to be in good condition?
- Does the property seem secure? Are external doors secure? Is there an entry-phone system and burglar alarm?
- Is there a garden? Who is responsible for the maintenance of the garden?
- What is the area like? Are your preferred amenities and transport links within easy reach?
- Are there any potential nuisances?
- What are the neighbours like?
- Has the property ever been burgled or damaged?
- Are the locks of good quality and secure?
- Is it in good condition? Are there signs of damp, flaking paint or infestations of any kind?
- Do repairs need to be carried out? Are there any broken items of furniture?
- Is there central heating? Do all the radiators function properly?
- Is it properly insulated? Is there double glazing?
- Is there enough storage space for your belongings?
- Is there any sign of dodgy wiring, loose wires or faulty plugs or lights?
- Do kitchen appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers work?
- Are there enough kitchen cupboards and work surfaces?
- Are pots, pans and kitchen equipment in good enough condition to use?
- Are the bedrooms adequately heated? Are there curtains?
- Check the bathroom(s) and make sure taps are not leaking. Does the shower work properly?
- Are the sealants around the bath and shower intact?
- Are you allowed to change the decoration in the property?
- Are there enough electrical and telephone points and are they in the right places for your needs?
- Does it have broadband or wi-fi?
- Have all appliances had safety checks (PAT tested)? Is the paperwork available to view?
- Do the downstairs windows (if any) have locks?
- Is there a burglar alarm?
- Is there a safety blanket and fire extinguisher in the kitchen (required by law)?
- Is there a landlord's gas safety record available to view?
- Do the furnishings comply with the latest fire safety regulations (1989 Fire and Furniture Regulations)?
- Are there carbon monoxide detectors present?
- Are there enough smoke alarms? Do they work?
- Is there an easy means of escape in the event of a fire?
- How much is the rent and what is included?
- What other bills are there and what are you liable to pay for?
- How much of a deposit is required? What are the conditions for the landlord deducting money from the deposit?
- What are the estimated running costs of the property?
- Can you comfortably afford the rent on top of the deposit and running costs?
General considerations if you decide to proceed
- If anything needs to be repaired, you will have to ask the landlord in writing
- If the landlord agrees to make repairs, get 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
- Get (and keep) your own signed copy of the tenancy agreement
- Can you ask previous tenants about their experience of the landlord and the property?
- Check and note all meter readings on the day you move in