Rental property checklist

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How can you tell if the rental property you’re about to purchase is a gem or a dud? Here are a few things to look for.

Checklist when viewing

· How does the exterior of the house look like? Are there leaky gutters or pipes?
· How does the inside of the house look? Do the lights work? Is there water from all the taps?
· Does the house look and feel secure? Can the doors and windows be opened and closed easily? How good are the locks on the doors?
· Does the house have enough electrical outlets?
· Does the house come with professionally installed smoke alarms? Are the smoke alarms battery operated or are they connected to the mains power supply?
· Request to go through the property certificates. The certificates you’ll want to see include the energy performance certificate and safety certificates for gas and electricity. If you want a property with low utility bills, look for one that has a good EPC rating. A good EPC rating could mean saving several hundred pounds every year.
· Ensure that the house has a ‘house in multiple occupation’ (HMO) license from the council if the place you’re moving into is a shared accommodation. If the property is occupied by five or more people who are not related and is three stories or higher, it will usually need an HMO license. There should be additional safety features such as fire doors in case the property is a licensed HMO.

Checklist for Tenancy

If you’re a potential tenant, you need to understand just how much it will cost you to live in a house and what you can expect from your landlord or letting agent. Questions you should ask include:
· What is the monthly rent?
· What does the rent cover? Does it cater for any utilities?
· What other bills can you expect to pay apart from the rent and how much are you likely to be paying?
· How much are you supposed to pay as a security deposit? Is the landlord registered with a tenancy deposit protection scheme and if so, which one?
· How much notice period is needed when vacating?
· In the event of an emergency such as a fire or a flood, who should be contacted?
· What type of insurance cover does the landlord have for the property? Is it necessary to get your own cover?

Questions on fees for Letting Agents

You will almost likely be charged letting agents fees if the house you go for is advertised by a letting agent. Some of the questions you should ask about these agent fees include:
· Are there fees charged for moving into the property and if so, how much? Do these fees include administrative, check-in and credit reference check fees?
· Is there a fee paid to move out?
· Is the fee paid per person or per property i.e. is there a single fee divided among the occupants or does everyone pay the full amount?
· Is VAT part of the quoted fees? (Agents sometimes quote the fees minus the VAT)

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