Hack #3: What Questions to Ask When Viewing a Flat
You have started looking for flats to rent in Leeds, and you are not very sure which one to choose or whether it is right for you. Don’t worry Marweezy is here to help. The right questions to ask are clearly the ones you want to know the answers to, but the list I will share should definitely help you decide.
You want to know everything about your flat, but you still don’t want your emotions to decide on “the one” for you. Knowing what sort of questions to ask at the viewing can help in creating the full picture and even give you some negotiating leverage.
Here are the main 12 Questions to ask for your next flat viewing
1. Which bills will I be responsible for?
You need to understand what bills are included in rent or not. This will help you set your monthly expenses and check if the flat is within your budget. The main bills to ask about are the gas, electricity, water and internet.
2. Can I switch energy and/or internet supplier?
The current suppliers might be too expensive, or you have seen a better deal somewhere else. It is always good to understand whether you have the choice of switching or you have to stick to the current ones.
Remember: if you don’t ask about this and you do any changes, this could create problems with your landlord and lead to penalties.
3. What is the EPC rating of the flat?
EPC stands for Energy Performance Certificate. Each rented flat will have an EPC rating, and it varies between A – G. “A” is the highest level of efficiency and “G” is the lowest. The most common is “D”, but I recommend only renting flats of “C” grade or above. The higher the grade, the higher the energy efficiency and the lower your monthly energy bills will be!! For example, Band A-C flats pay roughly £1700 per year on energy bills while Band D pays around £2100.
4. What is the Council tax band of the flat?
Every household has to pay council tax except students. If you are a student, you are exempt from paying it. Otherwise, the council tax band of the flat will dictate how much you will need to pay monthly. This can be found here https://www.leeds.gov.uk/council-tax/bands-and-charges. However, you might be able to get a discount for some cases such as being a single occupant. This is important to consider as it will affect your monthly budget.
Note: even if you are student and exempt, you should still register for council tax as it is required to do so.
5. What is actually included in the rent in terms of furniture?
It is very important to know what furniture or items will be in the flat when you move in! You might have viewed the flat when there were tenants in, so it would be difficult to spot what belongs to the tenant and what belongs to the landlord/flat. You will be surprised to know that things like sofa, TVs and even beds could belong to the tenant. This means that the items will not be there when you move in. Definitely worth raising this question so you know what you might need to buy or be prepared at the very least.
6. What facilities does the building have?
You may want to ask if there is a concierge to handle your mail, any bike storage if you have a bike or even whether there is a gym. These facilities might actually be useful to consider especially for your budget as you might have to pay for an alternative.
7. Can I decorate?
I’m sure you want to make your new flat feel like home whether by adding displays, furniture or even posting some pictures on the wall. When it comes to decorating, each landlord is different. Make sure to clearly ask and share what you exactly want to do to the flat before actually doing it as you could face losing your deposit!
8. Are pets allowed?
You might want to have a pet, or you actually have an allergy to pets. It is useful to know if pets are allowed, and if the previous tenant had a pet. Problem with pets is that they might transfer flees and insects into the flat which you won’t notice until you move in. If that’s the case, then definitely ask the agent/landlord to spray the flat a couple of days before you move in. Trust me you don't want to be bitten by bugs while sleeping!
9. Who is my first point of contact?
Everything in the flat might look in good condition, but sometimes things break or needs repairing. Ask who you should contact in an emergency like: electrical faults, water problems or even getting locked out.
10. How long is the contract? And is there a break clause?
Most of the tenancy agreements are one year but some might vary. Ask about the duration of the agreement and if there is a possibility to break it. You want the flexibility in your contract if you don’t like the flat after a while or you are simply not happy. You can ask for a break clause and usually it will only be valid after certain amount of months. For example, 6 months after you move in you can ask to break out of the contract. Also, ask about the notice period. It is the amount of time you need to give to your landlord/agent to move out of the flat and not renew your rental agreement. It is essential to give notice in writing/email to your agent/landlord if you decide not to continue; otherwise, your agreement will automatically renew.
11. When can I move in?
If you like the flat then ask when will the flat be available to move in. This will help you organise your finances, transportation and any other arrangements you might need.
12. What is the payment plan?
In the UK, you will need to pay 5 weeks rent as a deposit initially which held in a tenancy deposit protection scheme. This amount will need to be paid upfront and in addition to your rent. The deposit will be there to protect the landlord against any damages or loss of rent in case of any issues. Ask how much the deposit will be and will it be put in a protection scheme. Every landlord has to put the deposit in a tenancy deposit protection scheme by law and provide you with the details of it.
Also, ask about the rent, its frequency and who to pay it to. Depending on your circumstances, your payment plan might be different to others.
Remember, any terms/exceptions you agree on with the landlord/agent, make sure to get it in writing/email to keep record of it! This will protect you from any problems.
Finally, if you would like Marweezy to help you with your viewings, please contact us via our contact form or simply call us at +447557366604.