From hidden fees to haunted flatmates: your rental viewing must ask questions

Are you tired of scrolling through endless online listings for rental properties, only to be disappointed when you finally view them in person? Well, fear not my fellow renters. For we have compiled a list of essential rental viewing questions that will help you determine if that dream apartment is really the one for you.

“Is that rental cost final?”

While you’re distracted by the roll top bath and direct garden access in your potential new rental. One of the first things you’ll want to know is how much the rent is going to set you back each month. Though it sounds obvious, it’s important to understand the exact costs involved and whether there’s a chance the rent could increase in the future. You’ll also want to add asking about the security deposit to your rental viewing questions, which is usually equal to five week’s rent. Make sure you know if the deposit is refundable when you move out, and what the conditions are for getting it back. By asking about the rent and deposit upfront, you can make sure the place is within your budget and that you won’t be hit with any unexpected charges while you’re trying to relax in that standalone bath.

“Can you pay my telephone bills?”

Okay, definitely don’t add that your rental viewing questions. But Destiny’s Child did have a point when they wondered who’d be responsible for those bills. Will you be in charge of things like electricity, gas, and water? Or will the landlord be covering those costs? You’ll also want to ask about any additional charges, such as council tax or service fees. These can add a significant amount to your monthly outgoings. So it’s important to factor them in when you’re budgeting. Knowing what you’ll be expected to pay for utilities and other charges can help you determine whether the overall cost of the property is within your means. And once you do, “then maybe you can chill…”

“How old is the building?”

This question may seem insignificant (and downright rude should the building be an older lady). But it can give you an idea of what to expect in terms of maintenance and potential issues. Plus, older buildings often have more character, so it’s a win-win. With an older property in particular, it’s also important to understand who is responsible for maintaining it. So you’ll want to ask the landlord about their obligations when it comes to repairs and upkeep. Find out what the process is for reporting and addressing any issues that arise, such as a leaky tap or a broken fridge. Knowing the landlord’s maintenance responsibilities can give you peace of mind, as you’ll know what to expect if something goes wrong.

What’s the parking situation?”

If you have a car, this is a vital question to ask. Is there designated parking? Street parking? Or do you have to sell your car and rely on public transportation? If you have any additional belongings that need to be stored, such as bikes or outdoor equipment, you’ll want to ask about any storage options like a shed or garage. Parking and storage can be important factors in your decision-making process. So it’s worth getting all the details upfront. You don’t want to end up in a situation where you have to pay extra for parking or have nowhere to put your scooter collection.

“What are the neighbours like?”

Sure, the apartment itself may look perfect, but what about the people upstairs? Are they loud partiers or peaceful introverts? This question will possibly save you from some future noise complaints – which works both ways. You’ll also want to get a feel for the local community and any potential nuisances, such as noise or traffic. Understanding the neighbourhood and amenities can help you determine whether the property is a good fit for your, let’s face it, wholly unique lifestyle.

“Can I bring my four poster bed and three-seater sofa?”

Another key question to ask is whether the property is furnished or unfurnished. If it’s furnished, you’ll want to know the condition and quality of the furniture and appliances. This can be an important factor. Especially if you’re not planning on bringing your own furniture with you. Knowing the furnishing situation can help you budget for any additional expenses. Such as having to buy your own three piece or replace any items that are in poor condition. It’s also a good idea to ask about the landlord’s policies on making changes to the furnishings. They might not love your idea to upholster their belongings in Laura Ashley knock offs.

“Am I allowed to hang my Monet?”

Speaking of making changes. It’s important to find out what the landlord’s policies are when it comes to decorating and renovations. Can you paint the walls or hang up shelves? Are you allowed to make any structural changes to the property? Understanding the rules around modifications can help you decide whether the property is a good fit for your needs. Read our guide on inexpensive ways to spruce up your rental for ideas.

“Is Flopsy welcome?”

If you have a furry (or scaly or feathery) friend, you’ll want to ask about the landlord’s policies on pets. Some landlords may not allow pets at all. While others may have certain restrictions in place. You’ll also want to find out about the rules around guests and visitors. Are there any limitations on how long they can stay or how many you can have at a time? It’s always better to have this information upfront rather than finding out after you’ve already moved in with your menagerie.

Shall I invest in noise cancelling headphones?”

While renovations may seem like a good thing, they can also be a major inconvenience if they’re happening while you’re living there. Think early starts to the tune of power drills and Radio 5. Make sure to ask about any planned renovations and how they may affect your living situation.

“Let me see the fine print”

Once you’ve got the financial and logistical details sorted, the next step is to take a close look at the tenancy agreement. This is the legal contract that outlines the terms and conditions of your rental. Make sure you read through it carefully and ask the landlord to clarify anything you’re unsure about. You’ll want to know how long the lease is for and whether there are any break clauses that would allow you to end the agreement early. Understanding the tenancy agreement is crucial, because it will determine your rights and responsibilities as a tenant. Taking the time to review the contract thoroughly can save you a lot of headaches in the future.

Is the apartment haunted?”

Oh, you may laugh, but no one wants to move into a place with a ghostly roommate. So it’s best to get this one out of the way early on. Plus, if the landlord’s face turns white and they start stammering, you know it’s time to run. We’re only half joking…

And there you have it. Our top questions to ask at your rental property viewing, that will help you make an informed decision about your potential new home. Renting a place to live is a big commitment. So it’s important to do your research and understand exactly what you’re signing up for. With a little bit of preparation, you can find the perfect rental property that ticks all your boxes. Remember, don’t be afraid to ask any additional questions that come to mind, and always trust your gut instinct. Happy flat hunting!

Contact us:

mark@daviesdavies.co.uk – Sales Director (contact for sales, lettings and new homes)

katrina@daviesdavies.co.uk – Head of Property & Block Management (contact for property and block management)

020 3820 2492

Davies & Davies Estate Agents, 85 Stroud Green Road, London, N4 3EG

Article & images by Barefaced Studios

You might also want to read other useful blog articles by clicking here.


Please note that all content contained within our website is for informational purposes only. You should not construe any such information or other material as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice. All Content on this site is information of a general nature and does not address the circumstances of any particular individual or entity. We advise seeking professional advice from a legal, financial, or other professional.

24 April 2024
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