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What should you ask when viewing a rental property?

If you are a renter on the hunt for your next dream home, it pays to be armed with the right questions to ask.

It’s so easy to get carried away with the excitement of a potential new pad, but if you rush into things, you could find yourself committed to living in a house that’s totally wrong for you for the next six months or more. This is not a great situation to be in so we have put together a handy guide to arm you with the top ten questions to ask when viewing.

1. Is it furnished, part furnished or unfurnished?

This is an important point to establish, as you might prefer unfurnished if you already have your own furniture, but if you don’t have your own and you arrive to an empty space, this could get very expensive, not to mention inconvenient!

2. Who is responsible for any shared areas?

If the property has shared communal areas such as gardens, stairs or hallways, it’s a good idea to establish who looks after these, as well as check whether there are any additional fees involved for maintenance, otherwise you could end up with additional costs you weren’t anticipating, or rows with neighbours about who’s turn it is to mow the grass etc.

3. How much is the rent?

Obviously you need to know what the rent will be, but you also need to check what that covers, when it needs to be paid, and also whether the bills are included or extra? 4. What sort of boiler does the property have? Checking the boiler is up to scratch is an important point to establish, as an old or faulty boiler could be inefficient as well as potentially dangerous. Ask the landlord when the boiler and other gas appliances such as fires were last serviced and also whether this was done by a Gas Safe registered engineer. By law every 12 months Landlords have to provide certification to prove all gas appliances are safety checked.

5. What storage space is available?

Storage is a point many people overlook when viewing a property, but it is an important one if you have a lot of belongings you need to store. A small flat can become very cluttered if there isn’t any built in storage, so make sure there is enough for your needs.

6. Is the landlord in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme?

If the property is being offered under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement your landlord should be in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme by law. If they are not, this could be a red flag that they are an unscrupulous landlord.

7. What are the transport links like?

Make sure you remember to check your potential new home has good links by rail, bus or road to places you regularly travel to such as work, the shops, and places where friends and family live etc. If you drive, make sure there is somewhere safe to park your car and check whether there are any parking fees or passes to apply for.

8. What are the local schools like?

If you have children and are relocating, you will need to do your research regarding local schools in the catchment area before signing up to a new property. It’s no good finding your dream home if there are no decent schools within reasonable travelling distance.

9. Is the area safe?

If you are moving to a new area it’s important to check whether the area is safe and crime rates are low, especially if you have kids. It’s worth asking the landlord or letting agent, but it’s also a good idea to do your own research too, by driving around the area at night if possible and also doing some online research.

10. What leisure facilities are there?

If you have found your dream home, you might think you have found your ideal happy place, but you could soon become bored and feel cut off from the world if there are no suitable leisure facilities nearby. Consider your lifestyle and what amenities are on offer. If you are a foodie, are there nice restaurants in the area? If you are a night owl, are there lively bars and clubs nearby? If you have kids, are there any parks, playgrounds and other places to visit such as museums and theme parks in the area?

Hopefully these questions will give you some food for thought and help you when viewing rental properties. If you need any other help with finding your dream home, why not get in touch with the iMove team?

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