A property viewing gives the tenant the opportunity to see the property at first hand, but it’s also a good opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the property. As a prospective tenant, it’s important to arm yourself with as much knowledge as possible about the property before you sign the tenancy agreement to avoid the potential for surprises later down the line.
We advise making a note of any questions you can think of before the viewing, as it’s easy to forget more general questions once you’ve stepped into the property.
Here are some examples of questions a tenant can put to a letting agent when looking for a property to rent.
1) Which areas of the property is the tenant responsible for maintaining and who is responsible for managing the other areas?
Find out whether the letting/managing agent or the landlord would be your first point of contact should a maintenance issue arise, or something needs to be repaired. Who can you contact in an emergency, and is there an out-of-hours number you can call? Likewise, is there a garden or outside area to the property, and who is responsible for maintaining it?
2) What’s the Council Tax and what other bills are included?
Council Tax rates vary from area to area, and borough to borough. If you are required to pay Council Tax, make sure you know which Council Tax band the property falls into and how much you will need to pay.
The EPC rating of a property will be advertised with the property listing, but it’s always worth asking questions to establish the approximate cost of utility bills. Also check whether the bills are included in the price of the rent.
You should also take the opportunity to ask the agent about the deposit, and whether a holding fee needs to be paid. You’ll need to form a clear picture of what your immediate and future outgoings will be, so you know what you can afford.
3) What are the rules surrounding pets, furnishings and redecoration?
If you don’t have a pet and don’t intend to have a pet, then the first question is not relevant. But it’s always useful to find out how amenable the landlord is to the tenant making superficial changes, such as redecorating the walls in another colour, for example. To what extent can you personalise the property? Can you hang pictures on the walls?
The same goes for furnishings. Let’s say you want to rent a property which is unfurnished but have found a property you like which is semi-furnished or furnished. It might be that you want white goods to be included with the property but want to live with furniture (sofa, bed, dining table, etc) that you’ve chosen. Will the landlord be able to remove some of the furniture? Always ask the agent any questions about how flexible the landlord is willing to be when it comes to furnishings and redecoration, especially if you’re looking to rent the property in the longer-term. If you arrange for any items of furniture to be added or removed from the property, make sure this is stated in the tenancy agreement.
4) How energy efficient is the property?
Energy efficiency is a growing concern for tenants, as it should be, as it will affect how much you are likely to pay in energy bills. Since the new Minimum Energy Efficiency Standards (MEES) kicked in in April this year, rental properties need to be rated A – E to be legally let to new tenants or for renewal tenancies. A poorly-insulated property or a problem-prone boiler is not what you want, so always check the boiler and the property’s EPC rating.
As letting agents working with landlords and tenants in the Wimbledon area, we help landlords to source the best tenants and guide tenants to discover the properties which are right for them. Register as a tenant today.