If you’re currently on the property hunt, you’ll know just how fast-paced it is, especially for long-term and student lets.
There are certain things you should consider when trying to find the right property for you, such as location, transport links, and amenities. But a viewing is also a time to ask the landlord or letting agent questions in person. Let’s take a look at some of the key things you might want to ask.
How long is the contract?
Understanding the length of the contract is a great place to start. You may have already seen the tenancy length on the advertisement but it is always worth double checking.
Most fixed-term contracts are from 6-months onwards with the average being 12-months, although this can vary.
Ensure you check what happens after this period. Will you have to move out after your tenancy ends? If you want to stay, are you able to renew your contract? Will you then be put on a ‘rolling contract’?
It is worth asking when the tenancy start date is as well. Most will require you to move in on the specified date, others may be flexible to accommodate when you can move in.
What are the local amenities like?
Your letting agent or landlord are likely to be a local, or should at least know the area fairly well. So, it is worth asking them about the local amenities such as which shops are nearby, transport links, schools, gyms, anything that is important to you.
If you have a car you may want to ask about parking as well. Properties in central locations may not have parking close by or they may require you to purchase a parking permit.
What does furnished mean?
If the property is furnished or part-furnished, find out exactly what will be left in the property when you move in. A lot of the funishings you see when viewing the property could be the current tenants and only a few pieces will remain once they move out.
This doesn’t just apply to furniture but goods as well such as a fridge, freezer, washing machine, TV etc. These things can add up if you have to purchase them yourself.
How much are the bills?
In most cases it is the tenants responsibility to cover the cost of the utility bills, so it may be worth checking if the letting agent or landlord have a rough estimate of these as this could significantly affect your monthly outgoings.
It is worth asking about the EPC rating as well as this could affect how much you will be expected to pay on things like gas and electric.
Council tax is another one that is worth asking about. In most cases you will be required to pay council tax, however, there are exceptions and rates can vary across the country. Your local council will charge you a monthly amount, depending on which band your property falls under.
Full-time students are exempt from paying council tax but you will have to apply for an exemption with your local council.
When is the rent due and how do I pay it?
Rent due dates vary from tenancy to tenancy. In most cases, it is at the beginning of the month for ease and this is generally when tenants tend to move in.
When it comes to paying your rent, it is common for your letting agent to ask you to set up a standing order so that the money is automatically transferred when it is due, helping to reduce late rental payments. They will let you know which account this should be paid into.
How much is the deposit? Is it protected?
The deposit is usually one month to five weeks rent and is commonly required to be paid upfront before your tenancy starts.
This should be protected by a government registration scheme such as DPS. You should be made aware of this, if not, always ask where this will be protected.
Some landlords may also require a holding deposit. This is a sum of money you are required to pay when you are a serious prospective tenant. This is legally capped at one week’s rent and is refunded to you once you start the tenancy or it is taken off your first month’s rent.
In summary, ensuring you ask all of the questions you want during the viewing stage helps you make your decison much easier. If everything sounds great you’ll be ready to say yes and put your offer in. If not, you can carry on with your property search knowing you asked all of the questions and could eliminate it with ease.
If you require help in your property search, get in touch with the team on 0117 011 8663 or view our properties here.