Booking and viewing properties

If you're on the market for a rental property, you'll probably find a number of homes that match your criteria. As such, you'll want to arrange a viewing, before going round to take a look firsthand.

It's easy enough to do this – simply get in touch with the landlord (for a private rental) or the agents. With agents, you'll be able to talk about your needs and they'll be able to keep you in the loop of any future properties that come onto the market.

Once you've spoken to the landlord or agent, you can arrange a suitable time to view the rental property. It's advised to visit during the day, but of course, work permitting, this might not always be possible.

Try and arrange to be shown around individually rather than with a group of other potential renters - although don't go alone, particularly after dark - and take your time. Take a friend or family member, partly for security, but also because they might notice something you miss.

Try to arrive a few minutes early, and take a good look at the outside of the house. Check, as far as you can, the condition of downpipes, drains, gutters, widows and roofs.

Woman on phone

Rental checklist when viewing

So, you've arranged a time to view your first rental property. However, don't just turn up and walk aimlessly round – without an idea of exactly what you need to be keeping an eye out for.

This is where our handy checklist comes in. Consider all the details below when you're viewing:



  • As much as possible, check the condition of the windows, brickwork, roof, door, downpipes and guttering.
  • Does the accommodation seem secure?
  • Look for potential nuisances - pubs, schools, noisy businesses - in the street.
  • Check the wider area for the amenities you want.
Going in

Going in:

  • Is the garden or road tidy and well-maintained?
  • Who maintains them? Are there any extra costs?
  • When do the bin men come? Are there any other services, such window cleaners, and will this be an added cost?
All rooms

All rooms:

  • Are there any signs of damp, such as flaking paint or a musty smell?
  • Are there any signs of infestation, such as mouse droppings?
  • Are there any repairs needed? It's a bad idea to move into a house which requires a lot of work.
  • Is there central heating, and do all the radiators work?
  • Is there double glazing and roof insulation? If not, expect higher bills.
Kitchen and bathroom

Kitchen and bathroom:

  • Do all the taps work and does the toilet flush?
  • Does the shower work?
  • Do water heaters work?
  • Do the fridge and cooker work? Washing machines are harder to check without running them through a cycle, but you can look for evidence of recent use if the property hasn't lain empty for a while.
  • Check washing machines and dishwashers for leaks - feel around the pipes at the back and on the floor underneath, preferably while they're running.
  • Is the kitchen big enough for your needs? Does it have adequate preparation and storage areas?
Livng room and bedrooms

Living room and bedrooms:

  • Test power sockets and make sure plugs don't warm up in use.
  • All furniture and furnishings in rented properties should now comply with the 1989 Fire and Furniture Regulations, and must be clearly labelled to that effect.
  • Make sure the bedrooms are adequately heated.
  • Are the beds and chairs comfortable and dry?
  • Is there adequate storage space?
Safety and security

Safety and security:

  • Is there a burglar alarm?
  • Try to find out if the property has been broken into in the last year.
  • Is there a chain on the door and adequate locks? Is there controlled entry to the communal close?
  • Would it be easy to escape a fire?
  • Is there a smoke alarm and a fire extinguisher or blanket in the kitchen?
  • Are there carbon monoxide detectors? Yellow or brown staining around or on appliances could indicate carbon monoxide.
  • Demand to see the Landlord's Gas Safety Record or Gas Safety Certificate. You have a legal right to this.
  • Was the last gas safety check on gas appliances within the last 12 months? This is a legal requirement.