It is always advisable to look at a number of homes on the rental market before selecting the right home to rent. However, in some areas, particularly university towns and cities, competition can be fierce and you may need to make a snap decision on a property in order to secure it. Whether your area has an abundance of homes to rent or competition among tenants is high, it pays to ensure you ask the right questions of a landlord or letting agent and do a thorough search of the property. Useful advice on viewing a property also includes taking a friend, as another pair of eyes can be very useful to spot problems.
Viewing a Home to Rent: Checklist
- Ensure you thoroughly check the property's condition. Look out for things such as signs of damp, shabby décor, drafty windows and animal droppings.
- If the décor is not to your taste or is out of date, ask whether the landlord can redecorate or whether he objects to you redecorating.
- Check whether the home is safe. Are smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted? How often is the boiler serviced? If the home is furnished, does the furniture meet fire safety standards?
- Ask the landlord about the neighbours and take time to look around the neighbourhood.
- Is the area noisy at night?
- Are the neighbours students or other groups that are likely to have frequent parties?
- Is it an area with a crime problem?
- Has the property been burgled?
- Cost of running a home is also important. Ensure you find out whether the rental home has a metered water supply, double glazing and has loft insulation.
- Look at the market and similar properties. Is the property worth the rent being asked? If not consider putting in a lower offer.
- Does the property have an Energy Performance Certificate? It should have. Ask for a copy.
See also: Responsibilities of a Landlord