What to Look For on Viewings

When you have decided on properties that you like, you or your agent can arrange a viewing of the property. Make the most of this opportunity by:

  • Checking how well the property has been maintained - look at gutters, windows, roofs.
  • Noting how much storage space there is.
  • Checking to see how the place is heated and how well insulated it looks - this will affect your bills.
  • Asking to see the gas safety certificate and operating instructions for electrical items. Are there enough sockets for your needs?
  • Finding out which furnishings will be in the property when you move in. Does it meet the fire safety regulations?
  • Running the taps, bath and shower, and flushing the toilet. Do they all work? Ask to be shown that the heating and hot water works - and that windows open.
  • Asking yourself how secure it feels? Is there access from rear gardens and alleys? What are the locks like - many insurers require five lever mortise locks on all entry doors and window locks.
  • For flats, asking if you have your own secure post box. How clean are common areas - how often are they cleaned and by whom? How are any common grounds maintained? If there is a vehicle space, what's parked in it now - if there is a rust heap, ask when it will be cleared.
  • Finding out how close the transport links are - is it an easy commute to work or university and how close are other amenities, shops, etc?
  • Visiting at different times to establish how safe/quiet the area is.
  • Asking if road works are planned or new houses are going up nearby - this will add to noise.
  • Talking to existing tenants (if they are still there) and neighbours. Ask them what it's like to live there.
  • Ask tenants what the landlord is like.
  • If the landlord will be looking after the management, asking if you can meet him.

Good places go fast, so here are our tips for getting ahead of the rest to secure the best property:

  • Start viewing in good time. A lot of property to rent won't be available to move in to for at least four weeks, or even longer on student houses where new lets are often agreed months in advance.
  • Have a cash reservation fee ready (and get a receipt for it).
  • Have copies of references from your employer and previous landlords available, together with your bank details, documents proving your ID and full address with postcodes for the last three years - the agent will need these for the reference check.
  • Be ready to sign a tenancy application form - this will allow the agent to check your references and run a credit check.
  • If you think you may need a guarantor, get this set up in good time (and check if the agent or landlord will accept one).
Eastwood Homes Unit 14, Bridge Mills, Huddersfield Road, Holmfirth, HD9 3TW 01484 689509