Finding a new rental can be a hectic time. Besides figuring out whether you can afford the rent and deposit, there are many other factors you need to consider before you decide to sign the lease.
Since letting agents don’t have to disclose the same things to you when you’re renting as they do when you’re buying, asking the right questions during your viewings is essential.
In this article, we’ll give you our top ten questions all renters should ask when viewing a rented house or apartment, helping you make the right choice.
1. How’s the Signal?
We’ve all visited places where the signal isn’t great. When viewing a property to rent, ask what the connection is like when using the phone or the internet to get a better idea of the speed.
You can always do your own research, too, by checking with local internet providers.
2. How Much?
Affording the rent isn’t the only factor to consider when moving. Service charges and utility bills are often not included in the rent price. Ask the landlord or letting agent how much the bills will be based on previous tenants. Plus, unless you’re using a lifetime deposit, you’ll need to save up for your new deposit rather than using your existing one. Ask how much this will be, so you know how much to save.
3. Can I Decorate?
Many landlords aren’t keen on letting their tenants decorate. But if you plan on renting a place long-term, they may reconsider. It’s an expense for landlords to find a new tenant, so it’s worth asking whether they’ll let you make the place feel like your ‘forever home.’
Just make sure you get any agreements around decorating written into the lease to protect your deposit later.
4. Can I Keep a Pet?
Landlords have guidelines that state they shouldn’t have blanket bans on tenants having pets anymore. They also have to consider a request for pets seriously and only decline if they have a good reason. If you have a pet or want one soon, it’s better to ask from the outset.
Read our guide with advice on how to rent with pets to learn more.
5. What’s Included?
Some rentals are furnished, and some aren’t. When viewing a house or apartment to rent, always ask what’s included. Never assume that everything you see is included. Some landlords may have furnishings in the property to stage it during viewings.
Also, if you don’t need furnishings, you may be able to negotiate a lower rent price.
6. What Happens in an Emergency?
Most landlords and letting agents will provide emergency services if things go wrong, like calling a plumber if a pipe burst or the boiler cuts out.
Ask who’s responsible in an emergency and who you would contact out of hours if something goes wrong.
7. What Storage Space Will I Have?
You can never have enough storage space! When viewing a rental, sometimes the landlord grants access to a loft, shed, boiler cupboard, or outside lock-up facility for storage purposes.
If adequate storage is important to you, ask the letting agent what’s available. They may be able to speak to the landlord to see what else could be thrown in if you need more space.
8. What Are the Neighbours Like?
When you’re viewing a property to buy, the sellers have to declare problems they’ve had with the neighbours. Renting a property works slightly differently. You need to ask the question to find out if the neighbours are a nuisance.
Always ask this question before you move in and, if you can, get the response in writing.
9. What Am I Responsible For?
Knowing your responsibilities as a tenant is a crucial part of the tenancy agreement. If you breach your contract, you could quickly face eviction.
You should always read your agreement in full before signing anything. But when you’re viewing a property, you just want an overview from the letting agent about what you will be responsible for and what obligations the landlord has.
10. What’s the Area Like at Night?
When viewing a house to rent, asking this question is a great way to figure out how safe it is (and how secure you’ll feel).
During your viewing, check whether the rental has outdoor floodlights and ask if the streets are well lit at night. Some areas turn off the streetlamps at a certain time, so it’s best to find out in advance if you’re comfortable with this.
How Fronted Can Help When You’re Moving Home
At Fronted, we believe renting should be better. When moving in the private rental market, finding somewhere affordable, that won't break the bank can be tricky. That’s why we’ve created the first Lifetime Deposit - built with you in mind - to help fix some of the issues with renting in the UK.
Our painless set-up process makes getting a lifetime deposit quick and easy – with a handy app you can download to manage your deposit long-term.