House Viewing Checklist Use this checklist when viewing a house or flat - print it off, take notes and ask the landlord or agent plenty of questions. If youâ€™re happy with the property, you can also check whether the landlord or agency is up to scratch too - check out the guide on www.susu.org/housing.
Location Is the property in a convenient area for your studies and social life? Are there public transport routes and local amenities nearby? Would you feel safe walking around the area during the day or in the evening? Look out for street lighting! What’s the mobile phone signal like in the area?
Safety Look out for loose electrical fittings or plugs – is the wiring safe? Are the electrical appliances sound? Landlords should get them checked every 12 months. Usually an electrician will put a sticker on the plug of each appliance that shows when they were last checked. If it doesn’t have a sticker -ask! Check that there is sufficient ventilation, especially near any gas appliances. Can your landlord show you a certificate of gas safety provided by a Gas Safe Register engineer within the last 12 months? In case of a fire, you’ll need the following: working smoke alarms, a fire blanket in the kitchen, fire extinguishers and an alternative escape route in case the front door is blocked.
Security Is there a working burglar alarm? Are all of the external doors strong and secure? Does the door have a bolt or chain? Do the ground floor windows have security catches? Are the ground floor bedroom curtains lined or thick enough?
Costs What does your rent include? How does it compare to other rents? Have you paid a deposit (a holding deposit or security deposit)? If itâ€™s a security deposit, which of the Tenancy Deposit Schemes will it be protected under? Have you got a receipt showing what youâ€™ve paid? Who is responsible for paying the water bill? Remember to check that the hot water actually works! How much does the heating cost? Ask the current tenants what they spend on heating.
Outside Space Are there any communal areas, such as an entrance hall or stairwell? If so, who is responsible for cleaning or maintaining them? Is there a garden? Who is responsible for it? Are the outside areas secure? Does anyone else have access to outside areas? When is the rubbish collected and are wheelie bins provided?
General Condition These are some common housing problems â€“ be vigilant! Is there sufficient heating (radiators etc.) throughout the property? Ask if it can be turned on when you arrive. Also remember carpet is often warmer than wooden flooring. If you want repairs or decoration done, ask for them! Make sure itâ€™s agreed in writing and timescales are given. Does the exterior of the property appear well maintained? Look out for broken guttering, damage to the roof e.g. missing roof tiles, cracked window panes and sturdy front and back doors. Are there signs of dampness or condensation? Look out for mould! Does the plumbing work? Test the taps, check the toilet flush and make sure the sinks drain. Are there any signs of pests (mouse droppings, slug trails, fleas) in the house? There may not be now, but check for places that pests might be able to get in. What condition are curtains/carpets in? Does the oven work?