Whether you plan to rent a house, flat or studio apartment, you have several things to consider to make sure your choice is rational and not emotional. A rental property is going to be your home for a period of time and it is easy to delight in a place at first and rush to move in, leaving you with lots of time to regret the due diligence you didn’t do. A checklist can act as a basic guide to make sure you rent a property that is suitable for your needs.
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The most important question is how much is the rent. If it falls into your affordable range then find out if you can pay weekly, fortnightly or monthly to match your income or wages. Determine the amount of deposit and what conditions will allow the landlord to deduct money from this. Find out what additional bills you are liable for, such as electricity and gas, and how much they are likely to be. Check how long the rental period is and how many weeks notice are required if you wish to move before the term expires.
Location and transport
Check how far it is to where you work or study and find out what public transport is available. If you have a car make sure there is parking. Check the location and distance of the nearest shops supermarket, school, childcare centre, takeaway, church, cinema, library, doctor, dentist, hospital or whatever else is important in your life. Take a quick walk around the area to see if it is noisy and to get a feel for what the neighbours may be like.
The outside of the property should appear in good condition, with no large cracks in the exterior. The roof should appear solid and gutters should be intact. If there is a garden, check what maintenance is required. The inside should be in good condition with no signs of dampness, condensation or mould. Carpets and curtains should be clean and check the type of heating. Ask who you should contact in an emergency such as fire or flood.
Check the locks on doors and windows and whether there is a safety chain and/or bolt. Determine if there is an alternative way out if the front door was blocked by fire. Check for smoke alarms and that the kitchen has a fire extinguisher and safety blanket. Ask the landlord or letting agent to show you the energy performance certificate (EPC) and electrical and gas safety certificates. If the EPC has a high rating, your utility bills are likely to be lower and could save you hundreds of pounds over a two-year rental period.
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