When you're looking for a new place to rent there are probably
three things uppermost in your mind. How much is it? Where is it? Is it big
That's understandable. You need to know you can afford the
rent and that it's convenient to get to work or university. And it has to be
able to accommodate yourself along with housemates or family. Tick those three
boxes and you're well on the way to finding your ideal rental home.
But there are other things you can consider when looking at
rental housing. The little extras which can tip the scales in favour of one
property over another. Here are a few other things to bear in mind when
choosing your new home.
First impressions of the landlord
It isn't just the property you should be checking out.
Contrary to what sensationalist TV shows and newspapers will tell you dodgy
landlords are few and far between. But it does make sense to pay attention
when you meet the landlord. What sort of vibe do you get? First impressions
count. Make sure you're comfortable with your landlord.
Any extra fees?
Is the landlord or letting agent asking you for extra
fees? They may not be able to do this. A
new law called the Tenant
Fees Ban has prohibited many fees previously charged by landlords and
agents. But if you're asked to pay extra fees get some advice. Your local
council or citizens advice will be able to help.
Standard of decorating
Maybe not too high on your list of priorities. But you'll be
spending a lot of time in the property and probably won't be able to change the
scheme. Does it suit you? Will it chime with the furniture you have? Decor
shouldn't be a deal-breaker but it is something to consider. But as well as the
colour scheme looks at the standard of decorating. A neat and meticulous job
will be indicative of a landlord who cares about their property. By extension, they'll care about you. An untidy and slovenly job could be an indication of a
landlord who really doesn't care.
Gas or electric?
Which do you prefer? Does it matter to you? Whether a
property is all gas or electric does matter to many tenants. Make sure you're
aware before making a final decision.
New build or old pile?
Is the rental a new
build? If so, it may still have the equivalent of that new car smell. More
practically it should mean the property is very energy efficient which will
reduce your bills. It’ll also mean you're unlikely to have to report any major
repairs to the landlord.
Furnished or unfurnished?
Do you want the convenience of a furnished property or want
to stamp your personality on the place with your own stuff? Unfurnished rentals
are usually cheaper but of course, you then need to furnish your new home. This
can be costly.
Most landlords will provide white goods. Even in unfurnished
properties. Typically, this will include an oven and fridge. Maybe also a
washing machine, freezer or microwave. Check which are included with your
rental. Remember to budget for the cost of any appliances which aren't
included. If you're trying to decide between two properties the one with the
better appliances may be the best choice.
Suntrap or gloomy?
Natural light is so important. But will your new rental let
the light in or will the small windows and overgrown tree in the garden stop
any light coming through? If there's a garden is it south facing to attract the
most sunlight? Will neighbouring properties block out the best of the sun? All
are things to consider.
HMO - which is the best room or floor?
In an HMO the location of your room is important. If you
have the choice you may want to avoid the room nearest the front door on the
ground floor. With the rest of the tenants coming and going at all hours that
particular room can be noisy. A room at the rear of the property on the second
floor is often the best. Unless the property backs onto a nightclub or 24-hour
engineering plant of course.
about garden maintenance?
Is there a garden? If so, this can either be positive or negative. If you enjoy gardening it'll be a big plus point for you. But if you
don't have green fingers you'll need to factor in the time and effort it'll
take you to maintain
the garden. Not to mention the cost of any tools you'll need.
11) Does it have a balcony?
A balcony can be a massive attraction. Who doesn't want to
sit out on high in the sun? Or plant attractive displays in containers? But on
the downside balconies are often a nightmare to keep clean and tidy. A balcony
will add appreciably to your housekeeping workload so carefully consider if the
positives outweigh the negatives.
are neighbours like?
Take note of the neighbouring properties when you go on a
viewing. Of course, you can't always judge a book by its cover. But if death
metal is blasting from next door and there's a clapped-out Nissan Micra on
bricks in the drive you may want to think twice about renting that particular
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