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What to look for in a rental property

Published 20 February 2016 by

When you’re moving into a rented property – whether this is your first rented home or you’ve been a tenant for years – there’s a lot to consider. You might not think it’s as big a decision as buying a house but it’s still important you make the right choice. After all, if your contract lasts for at least six months, you don’t want to spend that time living in a property you’re not happy with.

The best way to ensure you’ll end up in the ideal rented property is to be organised and not rush into anything – so here’s what you should be looking out for.

Make a list

Before you even start looking at properties, it’s a good idea to note down a list of all of the things that a place you’re renting needs to have. It’s likely that location will be important to you, so factor in if you need to be near your child’s school or a Tube station so you can commute to work. This is probably the main thing to consider – there’s no point finding your dream property if it’s not located near any amenities or transport links and you don’t have a car.

You’ll also need to make sure you’re looking at properties with the right number of rooms. Obviously, this includes the number of bedrooms, so if you’re sharing a house with five other people, you’ll need six bedrooms. But bedrooms isn’t the only concern – if everyone needs to be out of the house at the same time in the morning, it might be important to you to find a property with more than one bathroom.

A few other things you might need to consider is whether you want a furnished or unfurnished property (depending on whether you’ve currently got any furniture), if you need a property that accepts pets and if you need somewhere with a washing machine or if you’re happy to use a laundry. Once you’ve finalised what you’re looking for, you’ll be able to start your search properly.

Asking questions

If you’ve found a property that you’re happy with, don’t rush to sign up straightaway – make sure to ask all of the questions you need to. You’ll need to know how much the rent is as well as what’s included in this – for example, will you have to organise and pay for your own contents insurance and will you have to pay any extra for the upkeep of the building and the grounds? You’ll also need to know the details of how the landlord would protect your tenancy deposit and how you’ll be able to claim this back.

Make sure you know who you’d need to contact if you need any repairs doing or if there’s an emergency and that you have the contact details for them. And while you might not be thinking about leaving the property before you’ve even moved in, it’s important to know what notice period you’d have to give and if there’s a fixed length to the tenancy.

Ready to sign on the dotted line? Find out what to look out for in your tenancy contract.