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What should tenants look for in a rental property?

Renting a property is not a decision that should be made lightly. Not only do you need to work out what you can comfortably afford but you must also evaluate various rental properties, paying close attention to the state of each property and the terms and conditions of the lease.

To be able to make an informed decision, tenants should pay attention to several critical factors. Here we discuss three essential considerations renters must bear in mind when looking to rent a property.

The condition of the property

At every rental viewing, take time to perform due diligence, ensuring there are no major issues. Doing so means you can make the problems a condition of the contract to fix before moving in, or you can focus your attention on a different property.

The most important aspects to check include the exterior and interior of the property. Look for leaking pipes, cracked windows or walls, and any damp or mould. Inspect the fixtures and appliances: Do the taps run both hot and cold water? Are all of the white goods in working order?

If you do decide to go ahead with the property, always document any problems the day you move in and ask the landlord to resolve these promptly. This way, the landlord cannot hold you responsible for damages sustained at the end of the tenancy.

Location safety and property security

Location tends to be a priority for renters, who often want to be in close proximity to amenities, transport links, and their workplace. However, what should also be important is the safety of the location and the security of the rental property.

No matter the location, the property should have robust security measures in place, more so if your area of choice is known for having higher crime and vandalism rates. Effective security features include the likes of secure locks on doors, CCTV, motion-triggered lights, and alarms. It’s also worth asking the landlord about the neighbourhood’s safety reputation and the property’s history of incidents, if any.

Regardless of the level of security, it’s still recommended that you put measures in place to protect yourself in case of theft. Opting for a relevant renters insurance policy can give you that extra peace of mind, especially when getting used to a new area.

The terms of the lease

One of the main things to watch out for when renting a property is the terms of the lease. Before signing anything, thoroughly review the terms and conditions and ask as many questions as possible, paying close attention to rent costs, responsibilities, and deposits. This way, you reduce the risk of misunderstandings or unexpected fees.

It’s also worth checking to see if the bills are included in your rent, including electricity, water, and gas. If so, it’s useful to find what they are capped at to avoid your rent increasing.

A landlord who is forthcoming and honest about what is allowed or covered in the tenancy is a good sign. For reassurance, have a look online and see if other past tenants have left reviews of the landlord or property management agency. If they’ve had disagreements or trouble during their time living there, it’s in your best interests to look elsewhere.

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