Looking for a new apartment can be both exciting and stressful. You get only a limited time to look around before making a choice on whether or not to rent, and often the property is still inhabited by its current resident. The excitement of finding a place that looks perfect on first glance can turn to aggravation and disappointment when you move in and issues crop up that went unnoticed at the time of your viewing. Good lettings agents should insist on professional end of tenancy cleaning and maintenance for all newly let flats. However, sometimes this does not happen, particularly when dealing with private landlords or looking for accommodation with a tight budget. It is worth stipulating that you expect a thorough end of tenancy clean to be carried out prior to moving in, before you sign any contract. While this should ensure that the property is in an acceptable state of cleanliness, it is also beneficial to arm yourself with a checklist to help you make sure everything is up to standard. You should use this checklist to look for potential problems both when first viewing the flat, and again when you are given the keys. Flagging up issues straight away is the best way to ensure that they are resolved and that your deposit is secure. We’ve put together a list of some commonly overlooked issues you should look out for when viewing and inspecting new apartments.
It is easy to miss problems with flooring as our attention is more often instinctively directed to the room’s features and problem areas can be easily covered by furniture. Make sure you give the floors your full attention and carry out a thorough check. If the room has a carpet, look out for stains, snags, tears, missing sections, and bad smells. Pay special attention to corners and areas hidden by moveable furniture. While you cannot ask for furnishings to be moved around when viewing an apartment, make a list of their locations and check these over as soon as you move in. Let your landlord or property management company know if anything is amiss to ensure they are aware that the damage pre-existed your tenancy. In kitchens, bathrooms, and the areas with hard or tied flooring, ensure that the floors are well swept and mopped, and that tiles or laminate are not scratched, broken, missing, or loose.
Walls are another huge source of problems. Once again, furniture and pictures can hide a multitude of sins. Carry out a thorough inspection of the walls in every room, looking out for stains, marks, holes, torn wallpaper and chipped paint. Make a note of locations of wall-hanging paintings or ornaments, as it is likely that there will be holes to fill in when these are removed. Ensure that the landlord or property manager is aware of these. It is also important to check skirting boards for damage and to make sure that they are securely fitted.
Many people overlook windows as they are too intent on gazing at the view beyond them. A common safety hazard comes in the form of windows that either do not open or do not close properly. Every room should have at least one window that can be opened, and it should also be possible to securely fasten every window. Check around windows for evidence of leaks or damp rot. It is also a good idea to check curtains and blinds, as stains or damaged mechanisms can go unnoticed until it’s too late if these are open when you arrive and you don’t think to check.
When inspecting the kitchen and bathroom, turn on taps and showers to ensure water flows and heating mechanisms work correctly. Look for signs of mould and mildew on the taps and shower heads. Check tiles and grouting around the sink, bathtub or shower basin to ensure that there is no sign of damage and no holes that water could leak into. Have a look at the pipes under sinks to check for signs of wear or damage; any tape or ‘stuffing’ should be considered a massive red flag. Lastly, flush the toilet to ensure that this works well.
Finally, make sure that you look inside fridges, freezers, ovens, washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers. This is especially important if the property is unoccupied when you go to view it, as mouldy food or laundry could have been left by the previous tenant. If possible, as for appliances to be switched on to ensure they are all in good working condition. Look for lime scale in water using devices, grease build up in ovens, and mould and mildew in fridges and freezers.