Viewing a property

A colourful row of rental houses in Southsea, Portsmouth

Take a look around

There's plenty to think about when you view potential new homes. Use our list of important things to check – and important questions to ask – when you're looking around.

If there's anything you're not sure about before or after you've looked around a property, our Student Housing team can offer advice and information. They can also help you decipher your tenancy contract if you don't understand all the clauses.

Property viewing checklist

Do you have the name of the landlord and their contact number?

  • Do the windows shut properly? Do they lock (especially on the ground floor) and are there keys?
  • Are the guttering and roof tiles in good condition?
  • Is there a storage area for bikes?
  • Are rubbish and recycling bins provided?
  • Are the main doors secure and lockable and in good condition?

  • Is there a communal area i.e. lounge or kitchen/diner?
  • Is there enough furniture for the number of occupants in the house?
  • Is the furniture in a good and usable condition i.e. not broken or in poor appearance?
  • Is there any damp or mould?
  • Is a washing machine provided?
  • Is there somewhere appropriate to dry clothing e.g. tumble dryer/washing line etc.?

  • Do the white goods e.g. cooker, fridge/freezer appear to be in safe working order?
  • Is there enough work and cupboard space for the number of occupants?
  • Are there any fire extinguishers or fire blankets?

  • Do the taps work?
  • Does the toilet flush?
  • Does the shower curtain/door stop the water leaking on to the floor?
  • How is the water pressure on the shower? (Test it)
  • Is there a fan or a window that can be opened to prevent condensation problems?

  • Are there smoke detectors? Ask first, but make sure you press them to check
  • Is there a carbon monoxide detector in place if there are gas-fired appliances present?
  • Is there a heat detector in the kitchen?
  • Are there any loose wires, sockets or dangerous looking electrical fittings?
  • Does the furniture comply with fire regulations?
  • Is there adequate escape from a fire?
  • Is the flooring securely in place and not worn out? Is it secure on the stairs?
  • Is the stair bannister secure?

  • Does the house have central heating? If yes, does the thermostat work?
  • If there is no central heating, what heating is provided?
  • If gas or electric, do the heaters work?
  • Is there running hot and cold water?
  • Does the boiler (if gas-fired) have a current gas safety certificate on show in the house?

  • Are there any bills to be paid by the tenants? If yes, which ones?
  • How much are the bills likely to be and when are they paid?
  • Are any of the bills included in the rent? If yes, which ones?
  • Are there any card/key meters?
  • How much is the rent? When and how is it to be paid? Can everyone afford it?
  • Is the rent paid separately or as a group?
  • How long is the contract for?
  • How much is the deposit?
  • Which scheme will your deposit be protected in?
  • Are there holding deposit, damage deposit and/or administration fees to be paid? And if so, how much are they? Make sure your landlord is clear about any costs.

  • Will any damaged items be repaired before you move in? Get confirmation in writing.
  • Are there restrictions to having visitors/pets/posters, etc.?
  • Have you asked the previous tenants what the property is like to live in?
  • Can you take pictures of the house while you look around? Be sure to ask for permission first.
  • Are the current tenants around? Ask them about life in the house and the area.
  • You should have a minimum of 24 hours in which to make a decision on the property – is your landlord giving you the time to think about your decision? It's important not to feel pressured into a quick decision.