In this article
- How to make a thorough assessment of a property to ensure it is suitable for you to rent
- The TTV property checklist of what to consider and what questions to ask the landlord/letting agent
- What financial considerations you need to take into account
Renting a flat or house is a big commitment therefore you need to give consideration to a variety of questions and criteria to make sure the accommodation you choose is suitable for you and meets all your needs.
In a nutshell, you want to think carefully and assess all aspects of the property. This includes the condition of the property (inside and out), whether you get a good feeling about living there, how the local area and amenities suit your lifestyle and most of all whether you can afford all the costs and on-going expenditure that will come with it.
Making an assessment
To help you cover all bases for the property checklist, here are a few TTV guidelines:
When looking around the property you will obviously be looking to see what condition it is in. Pay particular attention and ask questions about the following:
- Signs of damp, mould, poor paintwork and signs of infestation
- The state of the furniture and appliances – washing machine, dish washer, fridge, freezer – are they all working properly?
- Does anything look like it needs repairing or replacing?
- Central heating – is it in good working order?
- Double glazing – is it sound and in good condition?
- Is all the wiring in good condition?
- Do all the lights and plug sockets work?
- Are there enough sockets in each room for your needs?
- What is the broadband connection like?
- How adequate is the space and storage for your needs?
- Are the bedrooms big enough for you?
- Do the rooms have clean and sufficient curtains?
- Is the bath in good condition – the seals intact, the taps work without leaking etc?
- How clean and what condition is the toilet in?
- How efficient is the shower?
- What limits you have on re-decorating if you want to paint the walls or change other decor?
Safety and efficiency checks
Your landlord is obliged by law issue you with copies of all the relevant safety certificates and test check records, for gas especially, but TTV recommends that you ask about them when you look around just to double-check that they are in place.
Ask the landlord or letting agent about:
- Gas supply and appliance safety
- Kitchen fire blanket and extinguisher provision and condition
- Do the furnishings comply with the latest fire safety regulations (1989 Fire and Furniture Regulations)?
- Energy efficiency and running costs
- Locks on the windows
- Burglar alarm
- Carbon monoxide detectors
- Smoke alarms – are there enough and do they work
- Fire escape procedure
Just as important as the interior, you want to be sure the garden or back yard is at least in a reasonable condition to enable you to enjoy a bit of outdoor space, so check for and ask about:
- Signs of damage to outside structures such as window sills, guttering, extension roof
- External doors, are the locks secure and in good condition?
- Have there ever been any burglaries or attempted break-ins at the property or in the neighbouring properties/area?
- If there’s a garden, what are you duties of care and how much can you use it for your own gardening pleasure?
- Where are the communal areas (if they exist)?
- What are the neighbours like?
- What car parking facilities are there?
Whilst you’re in the area looking at properties TTV recommends that you check out the local amenities to see if the area has the kind of shops, pubs and restaurants you like and whether there is a library swimming pool, cinema, park etc.
And don’t forget to check public transport links and services if that is of concern to you for work purposes or generally getting around.
Having done all of the above, if you are seriously contemplating a move to a property, the big question is can you afford to live here?
- The amount of rent you will have to pay each month
- The total amount of all bills you will have to pay
- Sundry expenses, such as a parking permit for example
- The total running costs for the property
- The likelihood of housing benefit to help
- The deposit you will have to pay
Having worked out the financial side of things, if you can comfortably say you can afford the rent and running costs once the deposit has been paid, then there is nothing stopping you from going ahead with peace of mind and the knowledge that you could be moving into your dream home!
Where to go for further help and advice:
The Shelter Budget Tool can help you work out and manage your finances so that you know exactly what you can afford.
- When looking for a property to rent you will want to make sure the property is as suitable for your needs as can be
- It is wise to check and double-check facts and figures and make a thorough assessment of any property you look at both inside and out
- A thorough inspection of the property will in the end help you decide if you want to move there
- The final thing to do is complete a thorough and detailed breakdown of all the finances you will need to rent the property to make sure you can comfortably afford the rent and all associated running costs
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