Things to check before you rent a new house

Moving to a new house? Once you’ve found your dream home and you plan a viewing, make sure you check it over thoroughly. Before you sign on the dotted line, there are a few important things to check before you rent a new house for your own safety and peace of mind. Remember, there’s so much to consider when you decide to move – where you can afford, the type of home you want, whether it should have a garden, is it close to work and school, and how long you intend to stay in it are just for starters. How many of these are already on your checklist?

Check the boiler

Is it in good condition? Check with the landlord when was the last time it was serviced, and when it’s due again. Ask for a recent gas safety certificate so you can check the validity of the claims too. If it looks ancient and the landlord is sketchy on how well it works, it might not be worth the trouble to move in.

Check the number of working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms

This is crucial and is a requirement by law – ideally you should have a smoke alarm in every room with an electrical appliance. There are a number of options, heat alarms, smoke alarms, combined heat and smoke, smoke and carbon monoxide combined alarms – whether they are battery operated or connected to the electricity main, don’t move into a rented property without one.

Make sure the appliances are in good condition

If you aren’t planning to furnish the new place yourself, take your time to inspect the major appliances, like the washing machine, oven and fridge freezer, are in usable condition in the house you plan to rent. If not, flag this with the agent or landlord. These electrical goods are included in the price of your rental, so why would you pay for something you can’t use?

Test the water pressure

Don’t be afraid to turn on the shower and the taps in the kitchen and bathroom to test the water pressure. If you can only survive with a revitalising shower in the morning and this house just has a trickle of water coming out of the tap, then it’s probably not the right house for you.

General maintenance

Take a closer look around for signs of neglect or wear and tear – check the gutters, windows and roof, check around the taps (inside and out) for leaks, check for fire exits and note the state of the carpets and floorboards, including any stains or scuffs so that you can’t be held responsible for these after you move in. It’s also a good idea to check for damp signs – mould, bad smells, dark patches, especially if the house has been vacant for a while, as a landlord is unlike to heat a home that’s empty.

Energy metres

On the day you move in, you should check the readings on the metres of your gas and electricity units and let the suppliers know. If you have a property that relies on home heating oil, make sure you get a top up otherwise your first few days in your new home could be rather chilly.

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