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Viewing a rental property: know these differences

23 days ago
Viewing a rental property: know these differences

Viewing a property is one of the most exciting steps when moving home. There’s a sense of anticipation and also optimism that this ‘could be the one’. Paying close attention and asking the right questions is just as important when touring a rental property as it is one you might want to buy.  

In fact, viewing a rental property involves a slightly different approach that tenants should be aware of. In this blog, we explore the questions and aspects that are unique to lettings.  

Who you’ll meet

It’s very common for any incumbent tenants to leave the property so the viewing can take place without them being there, although sometimes the property will be vacant. Instead of meeting a homeowner, a prospective tenant will usually be shown around by a letting agent or the landlord. It’s important to ask when a tenancy can begin, as the landlord may have to wait for a fixed-term agreement to end, whereas moving in can be much quicker if the property is empty.  

Ask if pets are allowed

Although there are millions of dogs and cats in the UK, not every landlord wants a pet living in their property. Spotting a cat flap or dog bowl may be a positive sign but tenants should check with the landlord or agent as to whether there are any pet-prohibitive clauses in the proposed agreement. If the landlord will consider domestic animals, tenants can improve their chances of securing the property by creating a pet CV with a vet’s reference and offer to pay a higher rent (or commit to a pet deposit in Scotland and Wales).  

Furniture fact finding

When you buy a property, there is a legal requirement for the previous owner to take away all their furniture but when you rent a property, there can be an advantage if items are left behind.   

Tenants can use a viewing to establish if the property is going to be offered fully furnished, part furnished or empty. In the case of some corporate lets, everything is provided – right down to tea towels, cutlery and an ironing board.  

Establish what’s off limits

Landlords will use the tenancy agreement to set out what isn’t allowed in their property and these are known as clauses. It’s worth noting there is no such a thing as a standard tenancy agreement – landlords can add their own clauses on a tenant-by-tenant basis. ‘No domestic animals’ is one of the most common but there are some more unusual ones.   

There are usually guides on DIY (such as no holes to be made in the wall and no redecorating without consent) but more specific examples can include: no drying laundry on balconies or radiators; only using washing machines and tumble dryers that have been approved by the landlord; not changing the locks and not storing a bicycle in the property.   

Don’t ignore damage and disrepair

Unique to living in a rental property is the division of maintenance, replacement and repair responsibilities. As a general rule of thumb, tenants are responsible for light duties, such as cleaning, changing light bulbs and unblocking sinks, while the landlord takes care of appliances, heating, permanent fixtures and fittings, safety and structural issues. Anything worrying spotted during a viewing should be brought to the attention of the landlord/letting agent, and fixed before the tenant moves in or documented in the inventory.  

Other aspects exclusive to renting

During a viewing you might want to note down if there are smoke alarms and a carbon monoxide detector visible; look for fire safety labels attached to any  upholstered/filled items that are part of a furnished offer, and ask what white goods/appliances are being left at the property.

If you would like to visit an available rental property on our books, we would be happy to accompany you on a viewing and answer any questions you may have. Please get in touch for appointments and renting advice.

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