an essential guide to viewing a rental property

Published: 06/11/2021

When viewing a property to rent, it's easy to get carried away by imagining where you'll put your favourite armchair, already moving in your mind's eye, neglecting to check out the essential things that could come back to haunt you…

When considering whether to rent a property, it's important to take your time and thoroughly evaluate the property before making a decision. The following checklist will help you identify potential issues and determine if the property is right for you.

  1. Check the exterior condition of the property: Take a look at the building's exterior and evaluate its overall appearance. Check for any signs of damage or neglect, such as peeling paint, broken windows, or overgrown gardens.
  2. Verify the locks: Ensure that the locks on the front and back doors meet insurance standards. Many insurance policies require using a five-lever mortice deadlock, so check this before committing to a rental property.
  3. Check the entry system for flats: If you are viewing a flat, pay attention to the entry system. Does it provide enough security, or do you feel uncomfortable with it?
  4. Determine if there's a functioning burglar alarm: Check if there is a burglar alarm in place and make sure it's working. This will provide an extra level of security for you and your belongings.
  5. Evaluate the heating and radiator effectiveness: Ensure that the heating system is effective and that all radiators are in good working order. You want to avoid moving into a property only to find that it's too cold to live in during winter.
  6. Look for double glazing: Double glazing can help reduce noise and increase insulation, so check if the property has it.
  7. Request any necessary repairs in writing: If any repairs you would like carried out before moving in, be sure to request them in writing from the landlord. This will provide you with a written record of any promises that are made.
  8. Confirm if you have enough storage space: Make sure you have enough storage space for all your belongings. This is especially important if you have a lot of items or if you plan on living in the property for an extended period.
  9. Determine the level of furnishings and if white goods are included and working: Find out if the property is furnished, part-furnished, or unfurnished. Also, check if white goods, such as refrigerators and washing machines, are included and in good working order.
  10. Evaluate the kitchen size and condition: Look at the kitchen cupboards and work surfaces. Imagine preparing a meal to see if the kitchen is big enough for your needs.
  11. Check the water temperature, boiler, and pressure: Run a tap to check how hot the water is. This will give you an idea of the condition of the boiler and the water pressure.
  12. Test the toilets: Flush them to ensure they are in good working order.
  13. Check phone signal strength: Make sure you have a good phone signal in the area. You want to avoid moving into a property in a mobile dead zone.
  14. Look for signs of condensation or poor insulation: Check the windows for any signs of condensation, which can indicate poor insulation or cracking sealant.
  15. Check the bathroom sealant: Ensure the sealant in the bathroom is intact.
  16. Confirm the promised direction of the garden or balcony: Use a compass to check if the promises of a sunny south-facing garden or balcony are true.
  17. Assess the proximity of amenities and transport links: Consider the proximity of amenities, such as shops, restaurants, and parks. Also, evaluate the available transportation links, such as buses, trains, and taxis. Are there any train lines running close to the building, or are there any busy roads nearby?
  18. Check for nearby late-night pubs: If you're sensitive to noise, take note of any late-night pubs or clubs in the vicinity of the property.
  19. Ensure that smoke, burglar, and carbon monoxide alarms are working: Make sure that all smoke, burglar, and carbon monoxide alarms are in good working order. This is a critical safety measure that should be noticed.
In conclusion, there are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not to rent a property. By following this checklist, you can understand the property's condition and make an informed decision about whether it is the right fit for you. However, no matter how much you want a property, our advice is to follow your gut instincts rather than your heart.

If you're looking for a property to rent in SE1, EC2 or the surrounding areas of London, please get in touch with our fantastic lettings team.  We are not restricted by geographical boundaries.
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