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What to look for when inspecting a rental property

What to look for when inspecting a rental property

By Sarah Lefebvre on Jan 21 2018


Making sure you visit a rental property before you sign a lease is vital. It's tempting to sign away as soon as a landlord says yes, but be patient. There could be issues that aren't visible in an online listing.  It is recommended to visit a property for a midweek viewing as well - weekends can be packed with rival tenants, whereas visiting on a Wednesday might see you leap to the front of the queue.

Here is a summary of what to look for when inspecting the property:

The outside

Make sure you spend time looking around the outside of the property and consider the following:
  • Is it in good condition?
  • Is the property secure? Have a look for deadlocks, window locks and other security features. The level of security can make a huge impact on your insurance.
  • Is there a garden and what maintenance is required? Does the landlord maintain the garden?
  • If you like gardening it is worth asking if you are able to add your touch to the garden
  • If there is a garden shed with junk it in, ask the agent if it is being cleared out
  • Does the property have a garage - does it have a roller door, is it electronic or manual?
  • If there is no off street parking do you need parking permits?

The Inside

  • Is it in good condition? Is it clean, is there any signs of damp, mould, infestations of any kind?
  • Does anything need to be repaired?
  • Is there enough storage for all your stuff?  Consider if there is enough pantry space, clothes hanging space, linen space and areas for you to store laundry items such as brooms and vacuum cleaners and external storage
  • Is the property insulated?
  • Is there central heating or air conditioning and do these work?  If they are not working find out when they will be fixed
  • Will you be able to fit your furniture and items into the property? It is worth measuring the front door and rooms to ensure your furniture and white goods will fit in
  • Inspect the quality of kitchen items - are the saucepans in good condition?
  • Does the property have enough electrical outlets and are they in the right place?
  • Does the property have broadband or wi-fi?
  • Does the property use Gas or electricity?
  • Are the bedrooms adequately heated and do they have storage and curtains?
  • Check the bathroom - do you see any signs of leaking, does the shower work?

Safety checks

  • Have all appliances had safety checks (PAT tested)? Is the paperwork available to view?
  • Do the windows have locks? Especially important if you have a ground floor apartment or house.
  • Is there a burglar alarm?
  • Is there a safety blanket and fire extinguisher in the kitchen (required by law)?
  • Is there a landlord's gas safety record available to view?
  • Are there carbon monoxide detectors present?
  • Are there enough smoke alarms? Do they work?
  • Is there a way to escape in the event of a fire?

Budget considerations

  • How much is the rent and what is included?
  • How much is the bond?
  • What other bills are there and what are you liable to pay for?
  • How much of a deposit is required? What are the conditions for the landlord deducting money from the deposit?
  • What are the estimated running costs of the property?
  • Can you comfortably afford the rent on top of the deposit and running costs?

Other considerations

  • Does anything need to be repaired?  If so ask the landlord to put this in writing
  • If the landlord agrees to make repairs, get it in writing along with a time frame of when it will be fixed
  • Photograph the rental property including all inventory before you move in
  • Spend time reading and understanding the tenancy agreement
  • Keep a copy of the signed tenancy agreement for your own records
  • Check and record all metre readings on the day you move in and send a copy to your landlord / property manager

Happy home hunting!

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