Questions to Ask When Viewing Rentals

Latest update: 08 June, 2022

Searching for a new rental property is stressful. It pays to prepare in advance for viewings, so arriving armed with key questions and a checklist already prepared is a smart move. 
How do you know which questions to ask when viewing a rental? This handy guide is here to help.

Which Bills Do I Pay?

Most rentals will require the tenant to cover all household bills. Some charges, such as service charges and ground rent, are typically covered by the landlord, however it is rare to have utilities included in the rent. 

Speak to the current tenants or the agent during your viewing to get an estimate of monthly cost to help you effectively budget for your new home, and when you need to pay them. Find out from the landlord or letting agent whether you will be able to switch energy and broadband providers. Is there admin fees? Are there other expenses? Ask for the details about the fess and read your contract. What does the deposit cost?

This could save you money and may also be helpful to ensure the property has sufficient internet speeds and wi-fi coverage. 

All in all it will be a good idea to have a overview on all the costs, to see if you're able to afford it.

Are there Carbon Monoxide Detectors and Smoke Alarms?

Current legislation states that landlords must install a carbon monoxide alarm in any room that contains a solid fuel-burning appliance, such as a wood burning stove or coal fire. Ask the landlord or letting agent if the property has one and if not, ask if it’s possible to have carbon monoxide alarms installed before you begin renting.

The law requires the property to undergo gas safety checks every year, with a gas safety certificate issued to you.

In addition, it is a legal requirement to have at least one smoke alarm installed on each storey. The landlord is legally required to ensure that the alarms are in working order before any potential tenants move in.

Tell Me About the Neighbours?

The likelihood is that your new rental will be in close proximity to other residents so it pays to find out a little bit about others who live nearby. Are they young or old? Are they a family? Do they have pets? Are they quiet or do they make a lot of noise?

Letting agents may not know the answer, so asking a previous tenant or potential flatmates what they’re like, whether they’ve experienced a good relationship with them is an excellent way of working out whether they will be compatible with your lifestyle.

What kind of Boiler Does the Flat or House Have?

Many modern boilers are combi-boilers which provide hot water as it’s required, which many tenants prefer; properties with standard boilers will need to be set daily to heat the water and central heating. Find out which your property has before you go to rent.

Ask if you can test the hot water and water pressure, and bear in mind that all private rental homes now need to come with a boiler that scores a minimum of E on an Energy Performance Certificate.

What Comes with the Apartment?

The listing will give an idea of how furnished the apartment will be, however, it’s essential to understand exactly what you expect it will come with. An unfurnished property should include white goods, such as washing machines, however, some furnished apartments may only be part-furnished rather than fully-furnished.

Find out what storage space will be available to you and where, check the light switches work, and if there are communal outdoor spaces ask whether there is a paid for gardener that looks after the grounds that you need to contribute towards.

In addition, ask if the apartment comes with an allocated space for parking, particularly if you have a car, and how many parking spaces are set aside for visitors, or whether you need to apply for a permit from the local council.

Can I redecorate or use my own furniture? 

Do not go into a rental agreement assuming that you can redecorate or bring your own furniture. Most landlords will be happy for some level of modification to take place to the property within reason.

They may allow you to repaint walls or replace light fittings, but they will not want to come across any nasty surprises. So always request your landlord’s permission before doing so otherwise you could be jeopardising your deposit.

Who is My Point of Contact?

Knowing who your initial point of contact is in the event of problems is essential. Find out whether you need to speak to the landlord or letting agents as and when things go wrong. 

In addition, they will be the person you get in touch with should you need to give notice before the end of your tenancy agreement.


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