Viewing a rental property is similar to checking out a property to buy, as you’re looking for a place where you’ll feel comfortable and safe.
This means ensuring there are no major problems with damp or subsidence, as well as making sure the property is located in a safe neighbourhood.
To try and help, here are our tips on how to view a rental property.
Get a second opinion
When viewing a potential property, take someone with you. Two pairs of eyes are always better than one!
You’ll be amazed at what you miss while you’re too busy trying to picture yourself living there. Getting a second opinion may help avoid this!
Also, take pictures on your phone. Use these to prompt your memory, or to show you anything you missed during your first visit. Pictures can be just as useful as a second opinion!
Look at the building itself
Look closely at the condition of the building. If the gutters or drains are blocked, this could be an indication that the property isn’t maintained well.
Also, spend as much time as you can looking around. If you decide to move in, you’ll be spending a lot longer in the building, so it’s important to give your potential new home a thorough examination.
Try and do both a day and an evening visit. You’d be amazed at how noisy the ‘quiet street’ can be during daylight hours when the shops and local gym are open. It’ll also let you see which rooms get the most sunlight.
Remember additional costs
When viewing a rental property, remember to check out additional costs. What’s the council tax, for instance? How much is the monthly heating bill?
Check that all fittings are working. This includes the lights, water pressure and cooker. If they’re not, say you’d like them fixed before you move in. You don’t want to be paying to fix these!
What are the locks like? If it’s a ground floor flat, you’ll want locks on all the windows, as well as a mortice on the front door. Paying to have locks fitted will be expensive if they’re not included.
Imagine yourself living there
When viewing a rental property, imagine what it would be like to live there.
Would your furniture fit? This is an important question to ask yourself if you’re moving into an unfurnished property.
There’s no harm in taking a tape measure with you to ensure any furniture you have will fit in the property. Is there enough storage space for all your belongings? It’s amazing how much we can accumulate without realising!
Ask about the neighbours. Whether you’re buying or renting, it’s important to know who the neighbours are and whether you’ll potentially have any problems with them.
Also, find out about public transport. If you’ve got a car, enquire about the parking situation (not being able to park in front or nearby can be a deal-breaker).
If it’s a shared flat or house of multiple occupation, meet your flatmates first. It’s essential for you know to who you’ll be living with. If possible, view the property when most other tenants are likely to be home.
While it’s important to organise a second viewing if possible, it’s also important to act quickly and decisively. If you like the property on the first viewing, let the agent or landlord know. Tell them how keen you are! Assure them you only want to come back at night/during the day to get a full final picture.
It’s important to note your interest fast too. There are many people looking to rent and good properties go quickly. Be mindful – it can be competitive.
Therefore, it makes sense to have all your paperwork (references, bank statements etc) prepared and money for your deposit set aside. This should ensure you can get the ball rolling as soon as you decide it’s the property for you.
Moving to a new rental property? Find out more about your new area with Phil Spencer's Property Report . Reports tell you all you need to know, from rental estimates, to make sure you are not paying over the odds, to local crime stats to local amenities, make sure you get the lowdown on your prospective property and the local area.