Let’s picture the scenario. You’re looking at properties to rent, and you’ve seen some nice potential properties in North Oxfordshire & South Northants. They are near your work, near open spaces. There’s parking too. All looks perfect and just what you need.

But, aside from the property looking great when you viewed, what else do you need to know from a potential landlord or your letting agent?

Here, we outline the eight questions you should be asking.

1. Who Has Responsibility for What?

When you’re starting to rent a property, you should always get an understanding of what your responsibilities and your landlords’ responsibilities are. Whether that’s for furnishings, bills, maintenance and of course for sorting out any issues that may arise during your tenancy. Don’t rely on your memory, make sure everything is in the contract. This way, everyone knows where they stand, and you’ll have written documentation if needed in the future.

2. What’s Included?

Again, this should be written in the contract, but ask about what’s included in the monthly rent. Your property might be fully-furnished, or it might only have white goods such as a fridge and an oven. Some bills might be included. You need to know so that you can work out if you can afford it and to avoid any nasty surprises.

3. Are Pets Allowed?

You may have a cat, or a dog, or even a parrot, but if your prospective landlord doesn’t accept pets, then you won’t be able to rent the property. Some landlords may be strict about this, even putting it in contracts, but some might look at pets on a case by case basis. Be open if you do want a pet and discuss the possibilities beforehand.

4. Can I Decorate?

If you feel the magnolia walls in the property could do with brightening up, and the curtains are just not right for the space, ask the landlord or agent if there is scope to decorate. Most will agree, on the proviso that when you leave, you should return it to how it was when you moved in. If you are going to decorate or hang pictures, make sure it’s done to a high standard. You don’t want a landlord retaining some of your deposit on the grounds of a bodge job.

5. Where are the Gas and Electrical Certificates?

Safety is paramount when you’re renting, and you don’t want to live somewhere that could put you or your family in danger. Landlords have a legal duty to carry out a gas safety inspection and an electrical safety inspection too. You are entitled to see these and be satisfied that they have been done in line with regulations. Get permission to take a photo of the certificates so that you have them ready if ever needed.

6. Who do I Deal With for Maintenance, Emergency or Other issues?

Sometimes, when you’re viewing a property, you will deal directly with the landlord. Other times, it is a lettings agent. A landlord will sometimes manage the property but will ask an agent to find a tenant. Or, it might be that they ask the agency to handle finding a tenant and manage the property going forwards. Either way, you need to know who is your first point of contact should you need to speak with someone about the property. Tenancy agreements should have all the contact details for your landlord. Make sure you have the correct information should you need them.

7. What is the Length of the Agreement?

Most of the time, a landlord will like a tenant to stay in the property for a long time. It saves them time and money from having to find a new tenant every six or twelve months. But you may need to rent for only a few months, perhaps because of work. Check the agreement and if there are penalties should you want to end the contract early.

8. Can I Install WiFi and a Landline?

This sounds simple, but where would we be without WiFi, phones, and TV? Ask if your new place has all these services already, and if not, check whether your landlord will allow you to have a new service wired to the property.

These eight questions are useful as a starting point, and should all be asked. If you need help with finding a rental property, or if you are a landlord looking for a management service, simply get in touch with us. Email ask@cherry-lets.co.uk or call us on 01869 337346.