A property viewing allows the tenant to see the property first hand. It is also an excellent opportunity to ask any questions you may have about the property. As a prospective tenant, it is essential 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 list of questions and taking it along to all your viewings, as it’s easy to forget more general questions once you’ve stepped into the property.
Here are ten questions to ask:
1. Who is responsible for what?
If you are viewing a house or flat with a private garden or outside space, find out who is responsible for maintaining it and whether the tools you need are provided. Buying a lawnmower, hose pipe, and other gardening tools will cost you additional money.
Flats are likely to have communal areas such as hallways, courtyards and gardens. Check who is responsible for maintaining these.
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?
2. How much are the bills?
Council Tax rates vary from 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, and this will give you an idea of how energy efficient the property is. Ask to see the full Energy Performance Certificate as this includes estimated energy costs for the property. You can also find a property’s energy certificate on the gov.uk website.
3. How much is the deposit?
You should also take the opportunity to ask the agent about the deposit and whether a holding fee needs to be paid. This helps to form a clear picture of what your immediate and future outgoings will be, so you know what you can afford.
4. What is the notice period?
Ensure you know how long the tenancy agreement is for, whether there is a break clause and how much notice you will need to give if you wish to leave.
5. Can I decorate?
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?
6. What furniture and furnishings are included?
When you view a property, much of what you see will belong to the existing tenants. Find out what is being left.
Even if the property is offered unfurnished, double-check that the white goods and curtains will be in place.
For furnished or semi-furnished places, it might be that you want to use some of your own furniture instead. If this is the case, you should ask whether the landlord will remove the furniture you don’t need.
7. What is the parking situation?
If the property does not have a drive or allocated parking spaces, you’ll need to ask whether parking permits are required and how much this costs. Also, find out about where visitors can park.
8. Who lives next door?
Ask if who lives next door, for instance, a young couple, family or elderly couple. Do they have pets or a baby? This can help you gauge whether the house will be compatible with your lifestyle.
9. What is the internet and phone signal like?
With more people working from home and streaming TV, internet speeds are probably one of the most significant considerations.
Ask who the internet service provider (ISP) is for the property. Visit the ISP’s website and enter the property’s postcode to find out what internet speeds are available.
Changing ISP typically requires some installation, such as cables or a satellite dish, so you will need approval from your landlord if you want to do this – check before you sign.
During the viewing, check your mobile phone signal too.
10. How are the heating and water?
Ask what type of boiler the property has. Combi boilers are excellent because they give you an unlimited supply of hot water. A standard boiler is fine too, but you will need to set it up to heat the water daily. Find out whether there is an immersion heater as a backup.
Does the landlord have a service agreement plan for the boiler? It is good to have the reassurance that any problems with the boiler will be fixed quickly.
During the viewing, ask to check the shower pressure. This will avoid moving into a new home only to find that the shower pressure is terrible. Check that the shower has a thermostatic mixer. This protects you from any sudden changes in the water supply to the shower, so even if somebody flushes the toilet or turns on the kitchen tap, the temperature of your shower will remain the same.
We can help
We have a comprehensive selection of properties in the Wimbledon area available to rent and can help you discover the right property for you. Register as a tenant today.