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12 questions to ask the landlord when viewing a property

Published: 03/06/2020

The rental market in London moves quickly, but tenants shouldn't feel pressurised to make quick decisions when searching for a new home. They should have a list of questions to ask their prospective landlord or the letting agent before they agree to sign on the dotted line.
 
Below are some common questions that tenants should ask:
 
Deposit
 
Landlords are legally obliged to protect the tenants' deposit, but there are different ways to do this. Knowing which avenue your landlord is taking will enable you to do your homework and give you peace of mind.  
 
What's included?
 
Knowing what's included is an important question. Assuming can land you in hot water and, when it comes to finances, that's never a good thing.  

Responsibilities
 
Who is responsible for maintenance, gardening, communal areas, repairs?
It's essential to know before committing, because failing to keep things at their current standard, could have an impact on your deposit.
 
Managing the property?
 
Is there a property management team in place, or will you be dealing directly with the landlord if something goes wrong? Either way be sure you have all the contact details.
 
Internet connection 
 
Check if it comes with Wifi and run a speed test from your mobile phone during the viewing, to see for yourself just how good or bad it is. London has some of the worst broadband speeds in the country, so it's advisable to check if your new home is one of those properties bringing the average down before you agree to rent it.
 
Pet policy
 
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 you don't get.
 
Storage solutions
 
While some storage options, such as cupboards and closets, will be apparent, others may not be so conspicuous. Ask about all the available storage and query whether or not more can be provided.
 
If you intend to bring your storage with you, how easy will it be to get it into place?
 
Decorating
 
Making a home feel like a home is essential for most of us, and putting our stamp on things in terms of decorating plays a considerable role in achieving that goal. Most landlords aren't open to having their properties painted neon yellow so you might encounter some resistance!  Stick to a similar palette, and you might be given the green light to get out the paintbrushes.
 
Transport 
 
It is especially important to have decent transport links close to home.
 
Parking
 
For car owners, being able to park your car is 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?
 
Security
 

While you can do your 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.
 
Neighbours
 
This one can be tricky for landlords and letting agents to answer, as they may not know, but you should enquire 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.
 
Conclusion
 
Asking the right questions and doing your research ensures that there won't be any skeletons in the cupboard and you won't be taken by surprise.
 
 
 
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