Moving house is always at least a little complicated, no matter how laid back you are. If you’re planning on renting a new place there’s a lot to think about, so to make sure you’ve got everything covered, we’ve created a checklist of questions to ask your landlord.
Before you meet
1. Be clear on the basics…
The landlord should know the property and the area, so if there’s anything you don’t know from the listing (or from what you can find on Google!) ask the landlord before meeting.
When is the property available from?
Moving dates can often be tight, and dependent on a number of other factors, so this is an important one.
If there’s anything you need to know about the property that’s going to be a deal breaker, ask as soon as you can. Perhaps you have mobility issues and need a downstairs loo, or no tricky steps up to the front door? The more information you have earlier, the better choice you can make with your viewings.
Do you have any location ‘must haves’ - that’s things you just can’t compromise on? Maybe you’re a TiChi master and need a tranquil park nearby to practice every day, or maybe you’re an Ebay super seller and need a post office just round the corner - that kind of thing!! Regardless of what it is, you might not have all this information to hand from the initial listing, so get these location specific questions out of the way first.
Are pets allowed?
If you already have a pet obviously this is a deal breaker. If you’re keen to get one, it makes sense to ask about this now. Sometimes there may be an extra fee or deposit for a resident pet.
2. It’s all in the money…
If you can’t afford the property there’s no point in wasting your time pursuing it further. Know your budgets and ask the landlord the right questions early on.
How much is my rent and what does it include?
If you don’t know this already, be clear on exactly what’s included in the rent; gas, electric, water, council tax, internet and phone, parking permits, etc. You might then also want to ask for a rough idea of how much those factors that aren’t included might cost per month. UK power offer some estimates and a calculator tool here.
How much is the deposit and where will it be protected?
By law, your deposit must be protected by a Government recognised scheme. So you need to know how much it is, and that you’re covered. Find out more on the Government website here.
During the viewing
3. The power three...
Can I see the gas certificate?
If the property has gas then there should be an annual gas safety check, conducted by a qualified engineer. By law, there should be a copy of the certificate for you to see.
Can I see the energy performance certificate?
This outlines the energy efficiency rating of a property. They are legally required and valid for 10 years.
What power and heating is available in the property and who are the suppliers?
Is there gas and electric? Is there central heating? You don’t have to use the same electricity suppliers, but you’ll need to have details of who currently supplies the house.
4. Safety first…
How secure is the property?
Is there a burglar alarm, are there locks on doors and windows, are there any weak spots?
What is the area like and has the property ever been broken into?
Even if you know the area well this is a sensible question to ask and gauge the landlord’s response.
Is there, or has there ever been, any damp?
Damp can cause health problems, as well as being miserable to live with, but it is common and sometimes inevitable. It’s identifying what kind of damp it is, how it occurs and therefore what you can do about it that’s important. Read more about damp on the Shelter website here.
Are there smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors?
There should be, and they should work! More details on what’s safe and legal can be found here.
5. Physical Attraction...
What’s included and will an inventory be drawn up?
Furnished, unfurnished or part furnished? Are the white goods included, are smaller electricals like the kettle included? What about pots and pans, or ironing boards? It’s in your landlord’s best interest to draw up an inventory, but it’s not required. If they don’t have one, perhaps you could arrange this together?
Are there any repairs or ongoing works scheduled?
If repairs are needed, you need to know, but you’ll also need to know when they’re happening and what effect they’ll have on you. Repairs to a few broken kitchen tiles will not be very disruptive, but the rewiring of the whole property’s electrics would be.
6. Taking it outside...
What’s the situation with the garden?
Is there one? Is it shared? Who has responsibility for looking after it?
What’s the situation with parking?
Do I need a permit? Is there an extra fee? Is there space for guest parking?
What are the neighbours like?
You might not get an answer to this (or a truthful one) but it’s worth asking! If you happen to pass them, why not say hello and ask a couple of questions?
7. Looking ahead…
Do you intend to sell?
If you’re thinking of staying in the property for some time, this could be a key question. If the buyer is interested in selling you may have to open your home up for viewings.
What changes am I able to make?
Get the answer in writing or in your agreement. If you have something specific in mind, it’s worth discussing it now to see how flexible the landlord will be.
How much interest have you had and what are you looking for in a tenant?
A good question to throw in there as you’re looking round the house. It will give you a feel for how quickly you may have to move, or indeed whether you’re the right tenant for the place!
8. When you’re pretty sure you want it...
Where are the meters and can you make a joint note of the readings?
You’ll need to know where the electricity and gas metres are and it’s sensible to both take a note of the readings before you move in.
When are the bins collected?
You can usually find this out on the local council website, but always good to ask.
Do you have any instruction manuals or warranties on electrical items?
Ideally, these should be kept for you, to make life easier and help if there are any issues.
Where's the main stopcock (to shut off the water)?
Hopefully, you won’t need to know, but if you do these little taps can be hidden in some strange places so you’ll need to know exactly where to go, straight away, if something happens!
What is the procedure if there is a maintenance problem?
Do you contact the landlord or a handyman? You’ll need to know emergency procedures for any leaks, bursts or blackouts!