UK Easy Rental Advice
Rent a Room
|VIEW A HOUSE|
The viewing - things to consider - questions to ask
Cheap rents can often be an indication of the quality of the area where the accommodation is located.
So be careful. Do some research. Check out the neighbourhood.
Is the building located on a noisy main road? If so it may be difficult to get a peaceful night's sleep.
First ask yourself how you intend to allocate the rooms in the house. For example, if you are viewing a three bedroom house, are you thinking of using the lounge or dining room as a fourth bedroom? In this way you could reduce the rent paid per person, since one or more people could sleep in the lounge or dining room. You need to consider all the following factors - how many bedrooms? what size are the bedrooms? how big is the lounge? If there is a dining room, how big is it?
If you are intending to use the lounge or dining room as an extra bedroom then the room layout, or floorplan, is very important. Ideally there should be doors leading to all the principal rooms from the hallway and/or landing. For example, you don't want a situation where to get from a bedroom to the kitchen or toilet, your only route is to walk through the lounge, where someone may be sleeping.
Big rooms can seem attractive but they do have one disadvantage. If the room is too big, or the ceiling is very high, the room could be difficult and/or expensive to heat in the winter.
Are the windows single glazed or double glazed ? If the windows are single glazed you will lose heat in the winter, it may be too hot in the summer and noise insulation will be poor. Which way do the different windows face? If a window faces another room, either in the same building or in a neighbouring building, you may feel a loss of privacy. The only solution will be to keep the curtains permanently closed.
If you have no furniture of your own you will have chosen to rent a furnished house. You may have to buy an extra bed or beds to put in the lounge if you intend to use it as a bedroom. How many single beds and how many double beds will you require? What other furniture is included - sofa, settee, other chairs, table, desk, cupboards, drawers, wardrobes, etc? How closely does the actual furniture supplied match your personal requirements? Are there any carpet or rugs? If so, what condition are they in?
If you do have your own furniture you will have chosen to rent an unfurnished house. But ask yourself, "Will all my furniture fit into the house that I am viewing?". If it won't, you will have to consider selling some items, or storing some items. Storing furniture is another expense that is best avoided. Another consideration will be, how easy is it to move in your own furniture, especially the large items? Consider the size and layout of the hallway, stairs and any landing. There would be nothing more embarassing than discovering that your favourite double bed jams while negotiating a sharp corner on the staircase.
You should check that the kitchen meets your basic requirements. Does it include a cooker, a fridge freezer, a sink and drainer and a work surface for preparing food? Is the cooker simply a hob, or is an oven included as well? Is a washing machine included? If not, is the plumbing in place, should you wish to install your own washing machine? The cooker, fridge freezer and washing machine are collectively known as white goods. How much storage space is there - in cupboards or on shelves? What other equipment is provided - microwave, toaster, kettle, cuttlery, crockery, etc?
How big is the kitchen?
If the house has no separate dining room, or you plan to use the dining room as a bedroom, you will most likely have to eat in the kitchen.
So, is there enough room for a table and a number of chairs?
If the house is described as furnished, is this kitchen furniture included?
Perhaps there is a breakfast bar and stools?
After washing your clothes, where can you dry them? Fortunately most houses will have a back garden and/or a yard where a washing line can easily be installed. But when it is raining you will be forced to dry your wet clothes inside the house. Is there a warm airing cupboard somewhere in the house? Drying your clothes in the kitchen or bathroom is not advisable as the air in the room will become moist. Condensation will occur and mould may start to grow on the walls and window frames.
What type of heating is available? Night storage electric heating is occasionally found in houses. This type of heating is both difficult to control and is generally more expensive than other types. Fortunately central heating is the most common form of heating found in houses. Central heating, feeding several hot water radiators located in different rooms in the house is economical and easily controlled.
Remember, the cost of heating will NOT be included in the rent. You will be paying the heating bills. Central heating, double glazed windows, sensibly sized rooms and good general insulation will all help to keep your heating costs to a minimum.
If you intend to watch terrestrial TV, check that there is a TV point somewhere in the house. If you intend to install a BT landline for telephone and/or other services, check that there is a BT point somewhere in the house. You will almost certainly have to install your own broadband connection.
When you rent a house you will have to pay all the utility bills yourself. These will include council tax, gas, electricity & TV license. In some situations you may have to pay the water rates, but not always. Check with the landlord or agent who is conducting the viewing. You may also choose to set up the following additional services - telephone landline, broadband internet, cable TV, etc. The installation and regular payments for such services are entirely your responsiblity.
Who fixes the central heating when it breaks down? Who fixes a leak in the roof? Who repairs the washing machine when it breaks down? Ask the landlord or agent what exactly the situation is with the house that you are viewing.
When things go wrong perhaps nobody seems willing to accept responsiblity. So maintenance becomes poor, infrequent or even non-existent. Repairs don't get done when things go wrong and the building starts to look shabby and neglected. When you view the house look out for evidence of poor maintenance - lights that don't work, doors that don't shut properly, doorbells that don't work or a garden that is overgrown and neglected. Take these factors into account before making your final decision.
If having viewed the house you feel pleased with what you have seen so far,
CHECK OUT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
ROOM SIZES - ROOM LAYOUT
KITCHEN SIZE? - WHITE GOODS?
TV, BT & BROADBAND
REPAIRS & BREAKDOWNS