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Viewing the property

When people are looking for a property to live, they view it first so that they can get a feel for what it is like to live in and its surrounding area. As you go through a property, you need to be on the lookout for safety and that within your budget. Do not agree to accept a property if the agency sends you round with a viewer who doesn’t have a clue how to answer your questions. If that happens, note down your queries and go back to the agency looking for answers before you agree to sign contracts. Avoid landlords, who won’t talk to you – if they are unwilling to explain any thing now, things are unlikely to improve after you are agreed to handover all that money.

It is simply not wise to make appointments to go into empty properties with anyone you have never met before. If you are looking to share with other tenants, make sure that you are all be available to view together. Landlord and agents can quite reasonably be reluctant to reshow one property to various members of a group at different times. Preferably, take a note on those points that may need to be clarified.

What is to view?

Always view properties during daylight hours as that is when flaws show up best. First of all you have to view the exterior side of the property. It is important for the tenant to check inside the property carefully. Check it is clean and tidy, making sure all the lights work and there are no obvious flaws like a dripping tap.
  • Have someone with you for security or at least tell a friend or colleague the time of the visit and when you will be back or the person who wants share accommodation.
  • Tidy the garden, exterior gutters leak.
  • Watch the front door and windows.
  • Tidy any communal areas, such as a hallway.
  • When you check inside, do check that lights work, all electrical point are all right, water taps properly fitted, water line works properly. Doors and windows work properly.
  • Double check the kitchen for smells/cleanliness, including hidden parts such as grills and microwave interiors.
  • If you are furnishing the property, cover bare mattresses with a throw or blanket – it gives a much more homely impression. It may even be worth dressing the rooms with, say, some pictures and a vase o f flowers for a better 'homely' feel.
  • Air the property and sort out any sources of smells such as a blocked drain.
  • Have all relevant information handy, including estimated running costs.
  • Check you’ve got keys to all areas/rooms.
  • Any property rented out should have a gas and electric safety certificate and all furnishing must meet the fire safety regulations.
  • If possible ask if you can view the property again at another time of day. This will allow you to check for noise levels and view inside all rooms.

Holding Deposit

Be prepared for a holding deposit if you do like and want to rent the property. Make sure you ask for receipts for all holding deposits and indeed for full rental deposits too. These receipts should state exactly what the money is for, what costs you agree to be deducted from it and what circumstances will trigger a full refund. Then keep them safe. Always remember that until all the necessary leases have been signed and full monies exchanged, no contract exists at all. When you really want a particular property, you need to ensure that the paperwork required by your landlord /agent is quickly made available and money required is ready to pay. Do not expect anyone to hold a property for you for days or weeks while you sort yourself out.