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Questions to Ask When Renting: Pre-Tenancy and Beyond

Phi Spencer

By Phil Spencer

Amongst all the stresses of finding the perfect property and moving home, it’s easy to forget to ask the right questions.

But, remember - don’t ask don’t get!

From the first house viewing to the final contract signing, there’s plenty to think about. You may not be buying the property, but you’re still going to call in home!

Let’s ensure your tenancy runs as smoothly as possible. Here are the questions to ask when renting.

Questions to ask when viewing a house to rent

More and more of us are abandoning the property ladder and sticking to renting for the long-term. So, property questions are more important than ever!

There’s only so much you’ll be able to tell from online images - so pay close attention during the house viewing.

When viewing rental homes, try not to overlook things. No detail is too small! Ask the landlord or letting agent to volunteer the following information:

• What furniture is included with the property? Is it furnished or unfurnished?
• What are the neighbours like?
• If you have them, are you allowed to rent with pets?
• Can you redecorate?
• How well-connected are the transport links in the area?
• Are bills included?
• What is the property’s energy efficiency rating?
• How much is the deposit likely to be?
• Is there a holding deposit?
• How long is the contract?
• What are the local amenities like?
• What tenancy deposit scheme will they use?
• How much is the council tax? Will you need to pay it? If they’re unsure, check your council tax band
• Will you be able to see the contract before signing anything?

These are all questions to ask the landlord or letting agent. The answers to these should help determine whether this is the property for you, or if you need to keep looking.

Other questions to ask at a property viewing should include the individual features of the home itself, such as bedrooms, the kitchen or the garden. If you spot anything that looks out of place - don’t be afraid to query it.

Before you sign anything - ensure you fully understand the condition of the property! Check and double check everything.

What to ask when viewing a house

So, what should you look for when renting a house?

When it comes to rental viewings, consider not just the property but everything around it. For example, the local area itself will play a large role in determining how much you enjoy living there.

Be sure to visit at different times of the day also, to see if there are any issues you didn’t notice last time, such as noise or light pollution.

Also, consider the landlord themselves. Are they receptive to your questions and forthcoming with answers? If not, this should send alarm bells ringing.

Questions to ask when viewing a flat

Where a flat or apartment is concerned, the questions should largely remain the same as the ones mentioned above.

However, there are some extra considerations that should be taken into account:

• Who’s responsible for managing communal areas?
• Do you have access to these communal areas, such as the garden?
• Who else has keys to this property?
• Has there ever been trouble with the neighbours and previous tenants?

Of course, these questions to ask when renting a flat are in addition to more general questions about the property itself. But, they’re easily forgotten.

Rental checklist: meeting safety standards

There are a number of things to consider when renting, so it’s easy to see why so many are forgotten.

But, it’s important to ensure you make safety a top priority! Ask the landlord or managing agent:

• Where are the smoke alarms?
• Who is responsible for maintaining the electrics, such as washing machines?
• When was the boiler last serviced? Who should you contact if the hot water cuts out?

It’s a legal requirement for the landlord to maintain your home to the necessary safety standards. But, it’s a good idea to arm yourself with as much information as possible also.

After all - it’s better to be safe than sorry!

Questions to ask the landlord before renting a room

Even after you’ve chosen your rental property and are in the process of moving in, the line of questioning is far from over.

Here’s a rental property move-in checklist:

Before you sign the tenancy agreement

Read and re-read the tenancy agreement! Ensure you know everything there is to know about it:

• Do you understand any break clauses?
• Can you sublet?
• Are the clauses fair?
• What type of tenancy agreement is it?

On move-in day

In the process of moving in, don’t forget to ask the following questions (either to the letting agent or landlord). You’ll want to feel settled in as soon as possible!

• Where’s the fuse box?
• When is rubbish collection day?
• How do you get in touch with the landlord or letting agent?
• Where’s the TV aerial?
• Where are the phone line sockets?

Questions help you arm yourself with as much information as possible, as does research! Before you lay your roots in a particular property, ensure you know everything about its surrounding area. This includes everything from crime rates to schools. Keen to find out more? Get your full report here.

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