When you are renting a property in London, it pays to do some careful research before signing up as a tenant. If you simply find a place online and visit it just once before you make the decision to rent, you may be storing up problems for the future. This is going to be the place where you spend most of your free time, so it’s important to know that the property will meet all your needs. Here are the top three things to check before you decide to rent a place in London.
What’s on the inside?
All good letting agents will provide an inventory that records the condition of the property when you move in, but it’s sensible to make your own observations at the time of viewing. Check for when light passes through because if you love a bright living room but the sun only hits it part of the day then make sure it when you are most likely to be sitting there, what are the neighbours like, is the main door secure to protect you and your valuables and window locks are all secure.
Proper insulation is important to retain heat, keep the bills affordable and prevent noise pollution, so you could ask the landlord or agent if the insulation has been fitted. Check the strength of the wifi signal and find out if there are any smart controls that allow you to operate systems such as central heating, lighting and music systems remotely. Inspect the property for any possible damage and ask the landlord to repair any faults you notice before you move in.
What’s on the outside?
What is the locality like? Is it close to public transport links? Will you feel safe walking home late at night and is there a supermarket or corner shop close by, so you can stock up on essential groceries? Is the property protected by a burglar alarm and does it have security cameras monitoring the exterior? Do you need bike storage? It’s worth spending some time in the street at different hours of the day, so you can get a feel for the neighbourhood. It may also be helpful to find out if there are any ongoing or proposed new developments nearby, which could cause noise or disrupt traffic.
What does your rent cover?
Make sure you have a clear understanding of what the rent does – or does not – cover. Are gas, electricity and water charges included? What about service charges for the apartment block and any communal garden space? If your building has a swimming pool or gym, you might also enquire whether its use is included in the service charge and if not, whether you can get special rates as a resident.
Finally, be aware that many landlords do not want their tenants to redecorate or make internal changes. If there’s something you don’t like about the décor or furnishings, you should ask if the landlord would be willing to make those changes before you move in. Also find out if the agent is also managing the building as if it’s the landlord doing it themselves then that can sometimes delay repairs whereas the agent can be quicker to resolve issues.
Thankfully, if you have a good lettings agent, most of the issues that could potentially arise when you are renting a property will already have been anticipated and discussed with the landlord before your first viewing. Your agent is a vital link in sorting out any little niggles that you might have and negotiating a good rental deal, so if you’re looking for a fabulous townhouse to let, or searching for luxury apartments to rent in London, call Hudsons Property 020 7323 2277.