So you’ve finally found a property to rent that fits your criteria down to a T. So, what next?
Well, it’s time to start thinking about viewings.
Becoming a potential tenant means that you probably will have to attend a couple of viewings (whether you want to or not!) before you’re actually able to move anywhere.
Let’s face it, no matter how many pictures there are online or how detailed the description of a property may be, the only way to get a real feel for it is by seeing it with your own eyes.
So if that’s the case, how should you tackle your upcoming viewings, and more importantly, what questions should you be asking during them?
Hopefully, we can help.
1. How much will the bills be and will I need to pay them?
One of the most important things to find out is whether or not a landlord intends to include all or some of your bills within your rental payment, as this could of course greatly impact your monthly outgoings.
Don’t forget to factor EVERYTHING into your monthly budget!
2. How much is the council tax?
This is the main thing people often to forget to consider, especially when they’re first-time tenants. Once you know whether or not your landlord will expect you to pay for the council tax yourself, you must find out how much it’ll be exactly, as rates vary across the country due to different areas and valuation bands.
3. What local amenities are nearby?
Sure, you’ve found the perfect property to rent, but what about its local amenities? If they don’t fit your needs, then what good will the property be to you overall?
And remember, even if you’re told by the landlord and/or local estate agent what you can find in the area, it’s always a good idea to go out there and explore it for yourself too.
4. What are the neighbours like?
As the old saying goes; “Everybody needs good neighbours”, and neighbours can indeed make or break your renting experience. Chances are you’ll be informed by the estate agent who you’ll be living next to, below and above, but it’s always a good idea to push for more details if you feel you need to.
5. Is the property available long term?
Some landlords may only want to offer tenancies on a month to month lease basis. So, if you’re looking to settle down for a few years, it’s handy to find out upfront whether or the property is expected to be available for the long term.
And of course, it’s also good to know what would happen after your contract is up. Would it rollover? Would you be expected to move out? Be sure to check this with your landlord or agent.
6. When is the rent due and how should it be paid?
The most important part of renting? Paying the rent! Rent due dates can differ and even though you may have to pay rent at the beginning of the month, this is often not the case at all - so be sure to have a set financial plan in place to ensure you’re not caught short and get yourself into trouble.
7. How much is the deposit and is there a holding deposit?
The deposit, also known as a “damage deposit”, is usually in the range of one month’s rent to five weeks rent and you’ll more than likely need to pay it upfront.
But don’t worry, it should be protected by one of the government’s registration schemes - you should be informed of these details too. So don’t forget to ask about which scheme your landlord intends to use!
8. What’s the policy on pets and redecoration?
Every landlord is different, especially when it comes to their property policies - some may be more lenient than others! So you need to get a good idea about what is and is not allowed when considering renting a property.
9. How energy efficient is the property?
The more money you can save yourself the better, especially these days. That’s why knowing how energy efficient the property is would be incredibly beneficial. Usually, the newer the property, the better chance you have of the property having a higher energy efficiency rating.
However, there are also many things landlords can do to improve older properties to get them to similar standards too.
10. Is there anything else I need to know?
No doubt you’ll have your own unique questions you’d like some answers to before deciding whether or not a property is suitable for your circumstances. There’s no such thing as a stupid question, so do your best to get all the answers you need no matter how obvious or silly your question may seem.
And of course, when doing your viewing, try to be as curious and thorough as possible! And get as much information as you feel you need.