UK Easy Rental Advice
Rent a Room
|VIEW A ROOM|
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.
When you rent a room you will be given a key for the main front door of the house or flat in which the room is located and usually, but not always, a key for your own room. If there is no lock and key for your bedroom door, there is a risk of other occupants entering your room when you are not at home.
Is the building located on a noisy main road? If so it may be difficult to get a peaceful night's sleep.
On which floor is the room located? Remember that the ground floor is the least secure as thieves can climb through your open window, or break the window if it is closed.
Is the room big enough for you?
In some houses and flats there will be a communal lounge where you can relax.
It may be possible to eat either in the kitchen, lounge or dining room.
However, if this is not the case, remember, you will be sleeping, eating, maybe studying and relaxing in your bedroom.
Therefore check out the situation with the landlord, (see section - Kitchen).
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.
Make sure that you understand the difference between a single and a double room. As a single person you may choose to rent a double room simply because there will be more space. If you intend to share, do you want one double bed or two single beds? Would you consider sharing a double room with a stranger or would you only share with a friend who you already know well? If you share a room you will save money but you will lose your privacy. Check that the landlord is able to comply with your requirements.
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 does the window face? If the 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.
What type of heating is available? Is the cost of heating included in the rent? Various forms of heating are used in bedrooms. Night storage electric heating is common. It is both difficult to control and is generally more expensive than other methods of heating. Central heating feeding one or more hot water radiators will be more economical, more easily controlled and most important, the cost will probably be included in the rent. It is very important that you clarify with the landlord exactly how the heating works and whether the cost is included in the rent.
When you rent a room in a shared house or flat, electricity, and maybe gas, will be consumed by room heating, cooking, lighting etc. In most cases all such costs are included in the rent. This is often described by the phrase "no bills". It is very important that you clarify with the landlord, what is included and what is not included in the rent. Beware of extra, non-included costs. They are impossible to quantify. Choose a "no bills" room rental wherever possible.
If you have a bicycle you will need to know where you can store it safely. The landlord will almost certainly not allow you to store it inside the house or flat. There may be a secure bike shed outside the house or perhaps a safe and secure place where you can lock up your bike behind the house or in the back garden.
It is very important that you know the situation for the room that you are viewing.
Mailbox security is an important issue, particularly if you are expecting to receive valuable parcels or confidential mail. Mail will most likely be dropped through one common letterbox at the building entrance. If the landlord lives in the house security should be good. The landlord may even sort the mail and deliver it to your bedroom for you. However if the landlord does not live in the house, mailbox security generally will be poor since all the mail for all the occupants of the building will be left in a pile on the floor by the front door.
If you intend to eat at home regularly and perhaps enjoy doing your own cooking there are several questions that you should ask about the kitchen. Is there enough space to eat in the kitchen? Or would you normally eat in another room such as a lounge or dining room? Maybe the only practical place to eat is in your bedroom? How much storage space will you have - in cupboards, on shelves, in the fridge and in the freezer? What equipment is provided for use by room renters - microwave, toaster, kettle, cuttlery, crockery, etc?
If you think that there is not enough space for you to store your personal stuff in your bedroom, ask the landlord if there is anywhere else in the building suitable for storage. Is it shared? Is it secure? Is it free, or will the landord charge you for this extra storage space?
Ask the landlord how many other room renters you will be sharing with. The more there are, the greater will be the problems. You should take into consideration noise disturbance, general security and possible difficulties getting access to bathrooms, shower rooms and toilets. And, if you have a car and there is a car park you may find that on occasions you can't find a vacant space, or you may get blocked in by another car.
In most shared houses, wireless broadband internet will be available, but not always. Is it available? Is it free? Is it unlimited? Is it available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week? Ask the landlord. Bear in mind that if many people in the house are using the internet at the same time the speed may slow down considerably.
If watching TV is important to you, ask the following questions. Is there a TV in your bedroom? If not, will the landlord allow you to use your own TV? Are cable channels available? Sometimes the only option is to watch a communal TV in the kitchen, dining room or lounge.
Is there a washing machine available for your use? Will the landlord charge you for using it and will he only allow you to use it at certain times of the day? Is there a dryer? If not, where can you dry your clothes? On a washing line in the garden or on a balcony? In a warm airing cupboard? Or on a drying rack in the kitchen or utility room? Maybe the only option is to dry your clothes in your bedroom. This is not advisable as the air in your room will become moist. Condensation will occur and mould may start to grow on the walls and window frames.
Ask the landlord if there are any rules and regulations which you should be aware of. There may be restrictions regarding guests and visitors. If the landlord is a resident landlord he is unlikely to allow guests or visitors to stay overnight. If he does allow overnight stays he will almost certainly want to be warned in advance. If you like to have friends staying overnight you should be clear where you stand.
A resident landlord may restrict the times when you can use the kitchen. There may also be restrictions regarding the over frequent use of the shower room, bathroom or washing machine.
If you know that you are likely to be regularly working late in the evening or working night shifts you should discuss this with the landlord now. If the landlord is a resident landlord he will not want to be regularly woken up by your returning from work very early in the morning or very late at night. Discuss it now to avoid causing bad feelings after you have moved in.
You will normally be expected to clean your own bedroom. So confirm that a vacuum cleaner (Hoover) and other cleaning tools and consumables are provided. Ask if you will be expected to clean any of the communal areas in the house. Again, discuss it now to avoid causing bad feelings after you have moved in.
Ask the landlord if there are any restrictions on the length of stay. For example, is there a minimum period of four weeks.
If you find you are not happy in the room and want to leave after a short time, you need to know how much notice to leave is required. If you do not give the landlord adequate notice he is entitled to to keep some, or all, of your deposit. If the landlord wants you to leave, he too must give you adequate notice. Notice given from landlord to occupant is usually the same as notice given from occupant to landlord, but not always. Check it out.
If having viewed the room you feel pleased with what you have seen so far,
CHECK OUT THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
KEYS & SECURITY
SINGLE & DOUBLE ROOMS
BILLS - WHO PAYS & HOW MUCH?