Everyone knows that the UK rental arena is a fast-moving market, but that doesn’t mean you should rush your decision when searching for your next home. Every tenant should have a list of key questions to ask their prospective landlord, or the agent handling the let, before they agree to sign on the dotted line.
But, what exactly should they be asking?
In today’s post, we’re going to walk you through 13 key questions every tenant should ask that will give you a greater insight into the home, the area, and the people you’ll be dealing with during your tenancy.
Let’s get started!
What is the deposit due and how will it be protected?
The first part of this question is somewhat of a no-brainer, but the second part often gets overlooked. Landlords are legally obliged to protect their tenant’s deposit, but there are different ways in which this can be done. Knowing which avenue your landlord is taking will enable you to do your homework and give you peace of mind.
What’s included in the price?
Knowing what is, and what isn’t, included in the price you’ll pay every month is another obvious thing to ask, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask it anyway. Automatically assuming something can land you in hot water and, when it comes to finances, that’s never a good thing.
Who is responsible for what?
Maintenance, garden care, looking after communal areas, repairs...who exactly is responsible for the general upkeep of the property you’re looking to rent?
Finding out these things beforehand is vitally important, especially if you feel you’ll be unable to keep things at their current standard yourself. After all, failing to maintain the home could result in your deposit being held back when the tenancy ends.
Who will be managing the property?
Will you be dealing directly with the landlord, or is there going to be a property management team or local letting agent handling the home? Knowing who you’ll be dealing with across the length of your tenancy is important, especially in terms of who your point of contact will be should something go wrong.
How is the home heated?
You don’t have to geek out over boiler makes and models, but knowing which type of boiler is fitted and how old it is will give you a better idea of what your bills will be like going forward. Ask about how it has been maintained as well.
What’s the Internet connection like?
It can be easy to take logging on to the World Wide Web for granted these days, but not all properties have decent connectivity, so it’s well worth asking about...especially if you work remotely.
You can also run a speed test from your mobile phone when viewing the property, should you wish to see for yourself just how good it is. Weirdly, London has some of the worst broadband speeds in the country, so it’s a good idea to find out if your new home is one of those properties bringing the average down before you agree to rent it.
What’s the policy on pets?
The importance of this will divide renters, but if you fail on the side it matters to, then it’s likely to really matter. The thing to remember here is that many landlords apply a blanket ‘No Pets Allowed’ rule, but they’re often open to allowing tenants to keep them and will make their decision on a case-by-case basis. So, if you don’t ask...
What storage options are there?
While some storage options, such as cupboards and closets, will be obvious, others may not be so conspicuous...there may be a garage included, for example. Ask about all the available storage and query whether or not more can be provided.
If you intend to bring your own storage with you, how easy is it going to be to get it into place. Will your solid wood wardrobe really fit through that doorway?
Can I redecorate if I want to?
Making a house (or apartment) feel like a home is important for most of us, and putting our own stamp on things in terms of decorating plays a huge role in achieving that goal. The thing is, most landlords aren’t really open to having their properties painted neon green, so you might meet some resistance!
That being said, if you want to redecorate simply to freshen things up, but not dramatically change the colour palette, some landlords will happily let you get busy with the brushes. Asking the question now will allow you to find out where they stand.
What are the transport links locally?
This is especially important for commuters, but everyone can benefit from having decent transport links close to home, especially those who do not drive or own a car. Asking about transport links should definitely make your shortlist of questions. Find out where they are and get a handle on their regularity and reliability, too.
What’s the parking like?
For car owners, being able to park your car is obviously going to be a priority. However, even those of you who don’t own a car should still ask this question. Visitors, delivery drivers, and tradespeople will all appreciate having somewhere to park, so it’s an important thing to consider.
Ask the landlord or letting agent whether you’ll have your own designated parking spot or if you’ll have to find a space out on the street. If that’s the case, what are your options? Is there resident’s parking available or is it a first come, first serve free-for-all?
How safe and secure is the area / property?
While you can obviously do your own homework, finding out a bit more about both the property itself and the wider area is always a good idea. Ask about specific security measures the property may have, what locks are fitted, whether the windows are secure, etc.
You could ask whether or not the property has been broken into over the last 24 to 36 months or if any other criminal activities have been reported here. Going further still, check the area’s crime statistics by visiting police.uk and entering the property’s postcode.
Who are my neighbours going to be?
This one can be tricky for landlords and letting agents to answer, as they may not know, but you should make the enquiry anyway. Although they may not live there, they will know if the last tenant had issues with the people next door.
Even if you only get a vague description of your neighbours, you can get a broad picture of what living next to them might be like. We’ve put the emphasis on ‘might’ because we’re obviously generalising here, but an elderly couple will likely be less noisy than a family with young children...although not always!
If you’re looking to rent in East London or West Essex, or if you’re a landlord looking for the best letting agent locally, Petty Son and Prestwich should be on your radar. We’ve been helping people find their perfect home for well over a century and we’re confident we can do the same for you.
So, if you’re in the market and want to make either Wanstead or one of it’s wonderful surrounding areas your new home, get in touch with us today. Our team of friendly professionals will be delighted to take your call and give you the help you need to find your next property.