Once you’ve spotted a flat or house you love and can afford, it’s easy to get carried away in excitement when you’re viewing it. It’s only after you’ve moved in that you may realise things aren’t quite what they seem, and start to wish you’d asked more questions.
Although you’ll have your own list of priorities to ask, there are a few things you may forget, so being the helpful Letting Agents that we are, we’ve listed 10 key questions for you to ask!
Who are the neighbours? Having good neighbours can make all the difference. It is always worth discussing with your agent whether they know anything about who lives next door.
What’s included? Properties can come furnished or unfurnished. Some properties are also staged for marketing purposes. Asking your agent what is included can save you from forking out for additional items.
What’s the TV & internet like? Whether you want to bring your existing TV & internet service with you, or you’re planning on switching, it’s a good idea to check what’s allowed or available in the new place. For example, a new landlord may not allow you to put up a Sky dish, Virgin Media cables may not be in place or you may have to change the phone line if you want to sign up to BT.
How’s the heating & water? Check what boiler there is and when it was installed. Ensuring hot water comes out of the taps and the radiators work can save you freezing during the cold winter months. Double glazing will also help insulate the property. It is also worth checking the water pressure – you’ll be glad you did!
What happens in an emergency? Make sure there’s a 24 hour phone number you’ll be able to call in an emergency. Is the landlord or estate agent managing the property? Knowing you have a reliable point of contact can help settle your nerves should anything go wrong. Hopefully you won’t need to contact them!
Are there any bills included? If you are fortunate enough to secure a property with bills included, you will want clarity which are, and which aren’t.
Are there any additional fees? You’ll likely already know what the rent will cost, but there could be other fees too. You’ll need to know how much deposit you’ll be paying, how much rent up front and any letting agents’ fees. Don’t forget to check the Council Tax bands too.
What is the pet policy? All landlords will have their own policy on pets and redecoration, with some more lenient than others. It’s important for you to know where you stand from the off, as it could stop you getting into a dispute later. If landlords are unwilling to let you keep pets or redecorate at the start, this viewpoint may change over time if you prove to be a reliable tenant.
What local amenities are in the vicinity? You may have found the perfect rental property, but if its provision of local amenities doesn’t suit your needs then it’ll be of no use to you. Ask whoever is showing you around, about the local area and what to expect. Make sure they inform you about transport links and local shops, plus any other things you need to be close to such as schools, gyms or parks.
Can I decorate my apartment? Some landlords don’t allow the tenants to put nails in the walls and therefore it is worth asking the managing agent whether you would be allowed during your tenancy. The most common response from landlords is that you ‘make good’ and patch up any holes and paint come the end or your tenancy.