This article will give you advice and information on what you should be looking for in a house when you’re house hunting in Portsmouth.
Think carefully before committing yourself to a tenancy – the house may be in a great location, but that’s not to say that your time there will be as good.
Look around carefully for any outstanding repairs and if possible speak to the current tenants and get their opinion of the house and landlord.
Houses advertised on Portsmouth StudentPad are fully furnished, with ‘study’ bedrooms (i.e. bed, wardrobe, shelving, noticeboard, desk and chair included) and have white goods in the kitchen – they also contain a microwave and most have a washing machine. Some might have a dishwasher and tumble dryer included too.
You should also have curtains/blinds in rooms, acceptable flooring throughout the property and enough ‘easy chairs’ in the lounge for the number of tenants in the property.
Houses offered by letting agents will clearly state if they are furnished, part-furnished or unfurnished – most houses offered as ‘student lets’ will have some form of basic furnishing.
All furniture in the properties should be clean and undamaged and fit for its purpose, and soft furnishing items, such as sofas/chairs/divans/mattresses, must have a manufacturer’s fire safety label attached (which is a legal requirement).
House hunting checklist
Keep track of the houses you have looked at by filling in the details of them as you view them and then use this information to help you choose your best option.
Don’t panic! Don’t accept the first house you see – try and view several houses before you make a final decision because once you’ve signed a contract for a house it’s difficult to break it.
Here is a list of questions you should be asking when looking around houses:
About the house
- Address of the property
- Name of the landlord and a contact number
- Is the property in a good state of repair?
- Do the windows shut properly?
- Are they likely to leak?
- Do the guttering and roof tiles appear in good condition?
- Do the doors shut and lock properly?
- Is there a communal area i.e. lounge or kitchen/lounge?
All the rooms throughout the house (general)
- Are there any loose wires or dangerous looking electrical fittings?
- Does the furniture comply with fire regulations? (check for fire labels and look at the age of the furniture)
- Is there enough furniture for the number of adult occupants in the house?
- Is the furniture in a good and usable condition i.e. not broken or in poor appearance?
- Is there adequate means of escape from a fire?
- Does the house have central heating? If it does, does the thermostat work?
- If there is no central heating, what heating is provided?
- If gas or electric heating, do the heaters work?
- Are there any smoke detectors?
- Is there a carbon monoxide detector in place if there are gas-fired appliances present?
- Is there running hot and cold water?
- Do the cooker and fridge/freezer appear to be in safe and hygienic working order?
- Is there enough work and cupboard space for the number of adult occupants in the property?
- Are cleaning and cooking utensils provided?
- Are there any fire extinguishers or fire blankets? Is there a door to the kitchen that can be closed properly in the event of a fire breaking out?
- Is there a washing machine provided?
- Is a bin provided – for inside and outside?
- Do you need to bring items such as a microwave, kettle, toaster etc?
- Is there any damp or mould?
- Do the taps work?
- Does the toilet flush?
- Does the shower curtain/door stop the water leaking on to the floor?
- Is there sufficient ventilation?
- How is the water pressure in the shower (turn it on to check!)
- Is there heating in the room to dry towels?
- Are the bills to be paid by the tenants?
- How much are the bills likely to be?
- How often are the bills to be paid?
- Are any of the bills included in the rent?
- Are there any card/key meters for gas and electric?
Rent and contract
- How much is the rent?
- When and how is it to be paid?
- Is the rent paid individually (per person) or as a group (a joint tenancy)?
- How long is the contract for?
- How much is the deposit?
- Which scheme will my deposit be protected in?
Before moving in
- Have you seen any of the safety certificates (gas and electric) and the HMO licence (if you are in a house/flat that is shared by 5 or more people?
- Is there an inventory? If not, complete your own with accompanying photographs and agree it with the landlord.
- Does the inventory state the condition of the items?
- Will damaged items be repaired before you move in? Make sure you get in writing anything that the landlord states will be repaired or replaced before you sign a contract!
- Are there any restrictions to having visitors/pets/posters etc?
- Is there a storage area for bikes?
- Are rubbish and recycling bins provided?
- Is a hoover/ironing board/iron etc. provided?
- Have you asked the previous tenants what the property is like to live in?
Check things carefully before committing yourself to a property. If there is anything you are unhappy with or anything wrong with the property, inform the landlord in writing and keep a copy for yourself.
Property in a bad conditionA property in a poor state of repair may be an indication of the landlord’s management. If any work is necessary, make sure you request that this is completed before you move in, notifying the landlord in writing and keeping a copy for yourself.
Ask the landlord to write back to you and confirm that the work will be completed by the start of your tenancy. The condition of the property may give you an indication of the response to any repair requests.