Moving House | What to Look For When Renting

                                                                                                                     Picture Source: Pinterest

I've relocated and moved houses enough for two life times and have been very lucky with the majority of landlords and properties. However, not with our most recent. It's such a shame considering the property could be wonderful, with its perfect location and pristine white exterior. Four months ago, my OH and I have swapped the North East for the North West, and unfortunately experienced more than a few problems with our new rented pad:
  • We were promised by the time we moved in, a shower would be fitted... it still hasn't. 
  • We were promised blinds (we're currently open to public viewing)... still no blinds.
  • We were promised the shed would be emptied for our personal use...still has not.
  • The boiler is older than we are resulting in mediocre water temperature and pressure.
  • A cupboard in the shed was built incorrectly, the door blocked by the oven so the space completely unusable.
  • The bath is so poorly constructed that the sides aren't attached and the plug moves around.
  • Not cleaned prior to our moving in.
  • Poor craftmanship throughout. Serious lack of pride in their handy-work. 

Let's just say our landlord is not on the Christmas card list. 

I thought it would be appropriate to collate a few pointers to help you avoid the same problems:

#1 - Research
This can only minimise disappointment. Prior to our move, we researched the hell out of all the possible locations i.e. crime, parking, distance to the nearest supermarket/Boots (y'know, all the important stuff). Once you've shortlisted a few places, you need to know how much you will be forking out for letting fees (one agency's fees were £475 - no, no); insurance for both house and car; council tax costs; local transport into your nearest town/city. If you're conscious of budget, all of these will factor into your monthly outgoings and need to be calculated.

#2 - Don't rush if you can help it
Due to my work commitments and the 167 mile difference, we only had two weeks to find our new shack and move. Yes, I was on rightmove, gumtree, classifieds, saving all the properties that caught my eye at every opportunity, but with petrol costs, going to see the places at a drop of a hat was unfeasible. With all our favourites being let like hot cakes, we were left with very few properties to view as viewings could only booked a few days before due to their rate of let. Essentially, we had to go for the second one we saw out of sheer desperation. Rushing means you become complacent and forget to check for the vital living credentials, leading me to:

#3 Look for the little things
We were all out of luck with viewings with many of our appointments being cancelled. Now I think about it when we went to look at our now place, the builders had taken all sets of keys for the property (should have seen this as foreshadowing) leaving us with the only option to view it through the windows. Our place looks lovely and high quality with hardwood floors and large open spaces and windows...then, like a bad boyfriend, its true colours start to show.

Ensure the boiler is modern and efficient; type of meters fitted; storage opportunities; natural light levels; quality of the fittings; number and location of plug sockets; number and location of radiators. For me, living essentials. 

#4 Don't be afraid to ask questions
I'm always the one to ask questions in order to put my mind at rest. When you're forking out more than you would for mortgage payments, you need to. However, despite my love for rationale and organisation, in my naive, panicked mindset, I did not think to ask who the landlord was and what their contract was with them. I'm all for a pre-Google check.

Oddly, our landlord pays an agency to manage his properties, yet when it comes to maintenance work, he will only use his people, meaning that the agents' hands are tied. If we had known this, it would have brought up red flags, and I would have avoided him at all costs. Of course, he knows some guys whom are very loosely trained in their respective fields. We lived without hot water for two weeks due to both landlord and engineer too lazy to check for the correct boiler part.  If you pay peanuts, you get monkeys.  

Ask when the last time the boiler was checked; the reason why the previous letting agreement fell through; about the odd maintenance issue you see whilst viewing the property.

Believe me - running through these basics will save you numerous headaches.

Have you had any similar experiences or any rental horror stories? 


No comments