What to look out for when you look for a private rented home

This section contains some handy hints on what to look out for when you view a home which is available to let.

  • There should be no signs of dampness such as wet patches on the walls, usually found low down on outside walls. Black mould is usually a sign of poor heating, ventilation or insulation and is found on kitchens, bathrooms and sometimes bedrooms.
  • Make sure the property has a good heating system such as central heating or storage heaters that are easy to control and, preferably, thermostatically controlled.
  • Make sure the property has a decent fitted kitchen with enough space to store, cook and prepare food.
  • Check that the property is clean, both inside and outside, and is the decoration in good order.
  • Check that all windows and doors open and close properly and check that all the door and window locks work.
  • Is the roof sound? You can check this by looking for signs of water damage to ceilings.
  • Does the boiler work properly? Ask the landlord or agent to turn on the boiler and run the hot water to make sure it is working. If the hot water comes from a tank and the boiler has been off for some time you will need to wait a while to check whether it is heating the water.
  • If there's a gas or electric fire in the property ask for it to be put on to check it is working correctly and ask to see the safety certificate for it.
  • If the property includes furniture - are all furnishing clean and in good condition and do they meet fire resistant standards.
  • Check electric sockets and light switches to make sure that none are cracked, hanging off or missing. If the property has an electric fire ask for it to be turned on to check that it is working.
  • Check whether the property has smoke detectors fitted and check that they work.
  • Make sure it is in the right location to suit you. For instance, if you have children, make sure there is an available school, make sure it is accessible for public transport and shops etc.

You can print out a useful guide on things to consider when you're looking for a home in the private rented sector by clicking on this link.

If there are any problems remember you don't have to take the home - look at another one - there are plenty to choose from.