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.
When you are viewing a house or flat to rent rather than buy, you're not just looking at a pile of bricks and mortar - remember that it could be your home for the foreseeable future.
Of course you will have an instant emotional reaction, but you should balance this with a rational assessment of living there, including the local area and amenities, the condition of the property both inside and out and any associated costs.
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.
Viewing checklist 1. The outside
- 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? And who is responsible for the maintenance?
- What is the local area like? Are your preferred amenities and transport links within easy reach?
- Are there any potential nuisances or red flags - passing traffic noise, a nearby nightclub, exposure to flash flooding?
- What are the neighbours like?
Viewing checklist 2. The inside
- Are there signs of damp, flaking paint or infestations of any kind?
- Are repairs required Is any furniture unsafe, broken or damaged in any way?
- Is there central heating? Do all the radiators function properly?
- Is there hot water, and good water pressure?
- Is it properly insulated, draught-free, and double-glazed?
- Is there enough storage space?
- 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 condition?
- Are the bedrooms adequately heated? Are there curtains?
- Check the bathroom(s) and make sure taps are not leaking. Does the shower work properly?
- Does the toilet flush and do the bath and sinks drain adequately?
- Are the sealants around the bath and shower intact?
- Are you allowed to redecorate?
- Are there enough electrical and telephone points, and are they in the right places for your needs?
- Can the property receive a quality broadband and wi-fi service? Check broadband speed with our partners, uSwitch
Viewing checklist 3. Safety checks
- 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)
- Do the downstairs windows have locks?
- Is there a burglar alarm?
- Is there a safety blanket and fire extinguisher in the kitchen (this is 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?
Viewing checklist 4. Financial considerations
- How much is the rent and what is included?
- What other bills are there and what are you liable to pay?
- 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?
Read more: Cut your household bills with our partner Zoopla's, Running Costs tool.
Viewing checklist 5. General considerations if you decide to proceed
- If anything needs to be repaired, ask the landlord in writing
- If the landlord agrees to make repairs, ask them to agree 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
- 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
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Some information contained herein may have changed since it was first published. PrimeLocation strongly advises you to seek current legal and/or financial advice from a qualified professional.