Home and living

What to ask when viewing a property

It’s a very exciting prospect looking for accommodation, but it can also be quite daunting. Take a look at these questions before you look around.

1. Who is your point of contact if something goes wrong?

It could be the landlord, the letting agent, or someone working for the landlord. Either way, if your heating suddenly stops working or you spot a leak, you’ll want to know who to call. Store their number in your phone and get your housemates (if you have any) to do the same.

2. What expenses are included, and what is extra?

Find out the exact costs involved and if the bills are included in the rent. If so, check which ones. Make sure you factor all of these into your budget.

3. How much is the deposit and when would it be due?

Before you commit to anything, find out exactly how much you’ll be expected to pay upfront, whether in the form of a deposit or admin fees, and by when. You may also need a guarantor who will be responsible for payments should you not be able to pay your rent.

4. Can you see a copy of the contract you’ll have to sign?

Is it easy to understand? Is it clear what the terms are and what the consequences are if either you or the landlord breaks any of the terms?

5. What will you need to do to get your full deposit back?

Sometimes the landlord will provide you with photographs of how the property looks before you move in and they will expect you to leave it in the exact same condition. This may mean you might need to shampoo the carpets or pay towards a professional cleaner. It’s not a bad idea to take your own photographs so you can evidence the condition of the property and any furniture yourself.

6. If you decide to leave, when will you need to let them know by?

Make sure you know how long the initial tenancy agreement runs for and how many months’ notice you will need to give, should you wish to leave.

7. How much does it cost to replace a lost key?

Although not a deal-breaker, this can be a real stinger and worth asking when you’re looking around.

8. Can you talk to any current tenants?

They might even be there when you’re looking around. Think of the questions you might like to ask them: Have they had any problems with damp? Is everything in good working order? Do they have a good relationship with the landlord? Is the landlord quick at sorting out any issues?

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