Viewing a Property

Questions to ask

  • Deposit protection. If the landlord asks for a deposit, check that it will be protected in a government approved scheme. Some schemes hold the money, and some insure it.
  • You may be able to access a bond or guarantee scheme that will help you put the deposit together.
  • How long is the tenancy for? There is usually a fixed period of 6 or 12 months. If you want more security, you can ask for a longer fixed period of up to 7 years. Many landlords are happy to offer longer tenancies.
  • Children, smoking and pets. Check if there any rules about them, as well as for other things such as keeping a bike, dealing with refuse and recycling.
  • Check who is responsible for bills such as electricity, gas, water and council tax. You or the landlord? Usually the tenant pays for these.
  • Fixtures and fittings. Check you are happy with them, as it is unlikely that you will be able to get them changed once you have moved in.

*Smoke alarms - and carbon monoxide detectors if you have solid fuel appliances. Check these are provided. If not, your landlord must install them. They could save your life.

If the building becomes unfit to live in. Check that the tenancy agreement excuses you from paying rent should the building become unfit to live in because of a fire or flood.

Check who your landlord is

They could be subletting – renting you a property that they are renting from someone else. If they are subletting, check that the property owner has consented.

Find out who you should speak to if any repairs need doing.

Ask whether the property is mortgaged.

Landlords should let you know about this upfront, because you may be asked to leave the property if the landlord does not pay their mortgage payments.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs)

HMOs are usually properties in which unrelated people share facilities such as the kitchen or bathroom.

Large HMOs (more than 2 floors, and more than 4 people) need to be licensed. Check your landlord has done that. In large HMOs, landlords must by law give tenants a statement of the terms on which they live in the property.

More help: Renting a Property