Finding a property to rent can be a daunting task, and after all the appointments, viewings and offers you are sure to be relieved once you have finally secured your ideal home.
Your attentions can now be focused on moving in, but before you consider how to get that piano through the door, there are a few things you should find out from your landlord. Here I offer some tips on the most important things to ask your new landlord before you move in.
1. What changes am I allowed to make?
If your landlord plans to re-decorate the property before you move in, you may be able to negotiate a few things - such as what colour the walls get painted. Even if there are no re-decoration plans, you should find out what improvements your landlord will allow you to make once you move in. Even little questions such as whether you are allowed to hang pictures on the walls and if you can have satellite television installed are well worth asking.
2. Is there any ongoing repair work?
In instances where the property is being redecorated or renovated, it is important to find out estimated completion dates for the work as soon as possible. Firstly, this puts a little pressure upon your landlord to get the work carried out promptly, and it also minimises the likelihood of any nasty surprises. After all, nobody wants to move in and find out that there is no fridge in the kitchen.
3. What happens with the garden?
If the property has a garden, do you have access to it? If so, whose responsibility is it to maintain its upkeep? Some landlords will be on top of this and will send gardeners weekly or fortnightly to mow the lawn. If clarity is not immediately forthcoming, you should consider negotiating terms with your landlord.
4. Do you intend to sell?
Does your landlord have immediate any plans to sell the property? This might seem like it's none of your business, but if your landlord wants out in the near future then you will find yourself dealing with a stranger - and perhaps some inconvenience too.
5. Can I bring my pet?
This will usually be covered in the contract. Some landlords require tenants to pay a pet deposit, whilst others are less forgiving and will ban animals entirely. If you are an animal lover, this is a very important issue to resolve as early as possible in the process - it could save you a lot of money and heartache.
6. Where are the meters?
You should ask your landlord where the meters are located and find out which companies are providing your utilities. If you will be paying your own bills, you should receive letters when you move in about taking over contracts. If this is not the case, seek guidance as soon as possible.
7. Where can I park?
The wardens are coming! Do you have a designated parking space, and are there any parking restrictions? Most city councils require residents to have permits to park on the road outside their properties. Find out in advance to avoid fines.
8. When does the rubbish get collected?
When moving in to a flat, particularly in a city, the litter situation can be confusing. Finding out collection dates and where to leave litter in the absence of any bins can be very difficult, so to avoid chasing your neighbours down the road to ask them, find out from your landlord well in advance.
For more handy tips on everything to do with moving house, you can visit WhatNewHomes