Written by Katy Harrison-Taylor, University of Westminster, on behalf of Endsleigh - hub.endsleigh.co.uk/
1. Read your tenancy agreement
Everyone does it, whether it’s a computer programme or the bumf of a new video game, the legal mumbo jumbo gets ignored and we scroll to the end and we ‘agree’. It’s the same with renting a new place – who reads the tenancy agreement anyway? The smart people, that's who.
2. Check everything works
This goes for TVs, fridges and also the plugs that you put all your electrical gadgets into. We'd all be screwed if we had nowhere to plug our stuff in, I mean, a world without electricity, who could imagine?! My top tip is to buy a night light (that you plug in when you're scared) and take it with you to viewings. Who cares if the guy showing you round thinks you're crazy, it's far better to know the plugs work!
3. Check the shower/toilet/radiators
The toilet: give it a flush to check it works. Plumbing problems are the absolute worst.
Check the shower: just ask if you can flick it on. Check it gets hot and remains hot for more than five seconds.
The radiators: although you don’t want to waste too much on heating, it's important to know that they work. Ask about how the central heating system works and where the switch is.
4. Check for damp
Yes you say, it's helpful to have them, but I mean to check for any signs of damp. This will look like the wallpaper is peeling at the corners or near the windows, and in worse cases looks like mould: gross.
Next: the carpets. Do they feel damp or are they curling up at the edges? Water and damp will make them shrink and curl. Make sure you ask about it. Don't let them blow you off, especially if there are signs near the windows.
5. Check the windows
When viewing each room, especially the bedrooms, walk right up to the window and see if you can feel a draft! Check the seal on the windows to see if they are double glazed and secure. This not only means they’re good windows, they will also keep your heating costs down, meaning more money for alcohol and Apple products (because we all know that's what student loans are for)!
6. Check the bedrooms have locks
Now think about all your precious gadgets: laptop, camera, smartphone, straighteners – they would cost a lot of money to replace. Whoever you move in with, no matter how long (or how little) you have known them: having a lock is essential. If it doesn't have one, ask if you can have one put on. You need one to protect your stuff to have it covered by your insurance. So, make sure you check this one, it's pretty important.
7. Take a photo of every tiny thing
Before you unpack ANYTHING at all, take a photo of every little detail, crack, chip or mark and save them on multiple hard drives, completely backed up. The beauty of a digital photo is the date is digitally stamped on to it so you can prove that date they were taken was 'moving day'. This will protect you when it comes to getting your deposit back from your landlord.
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