What to Look Out For When Inspecting a Rental Property

January 17, 2022
what to look out for when inspecting a rental property

So you’re ready to rent your first place. Or perhaps it’s your next? Either way, when you’re inspecting a rental property, there are several things you should be looking out for.

Almost everyone will agree that finding a rental property can be both exciting and nerve-wracking. You’ll have your neighbourhoods in mind, you’ll like some homes more than others, and you have to make your application stand out

While rentals are less of a commitment than buying a property, you still want to make a smart move both financially and emotionally. You want to make sure that the home you’re moving into will be a safe haven for you. 

So once you’ve scheduled that inspection, here’s a list of what to look out for when inspecting the rental property:

Prioritise condition over aesthetics

Of course you want the home to look good. So do most landlords, this is where they can up the price of rent. But remember that the priority shouldn’t lie in how beautiful the home is. 

Sometimes the interiors can be a distraction from factors that are more important, so if you’re viewing a furnished apartment that will be empty and vacated, make a note that your belongings will change the way it looks. 

Consider making a checklist of all the things you can’t live without in your rental home, followed by any extras you’d be open to paying more for. Then when you’re inspecting the rental, look over it again to see how it matches up.

Location

what to look out for when inspecting a rental property queensland apartment toowong apartment for rent
Toowong apartment for rent @ 1210/48 Jephson Street, Toowong, QLD, 4066, Australia

Where the rental property is located along with the size will be the deciding factors for you. But avoid making rash decisions and instead, see how living in the home will work with your lifestyle, and how you live your day-to-day. 

Is it near public transport, grocery stores or restaurants and bars? What’s more important to you? 

Upkeep

How has the place been looked after? Here are questions you can ask when inspecting a rental property:

  • Is it a newly renovated rental? 
  • Or does it still need work and repairs
  • Is the heating and/or air-conditioning new or due for an upgrade?
  • Is the oven working well?

All these modern appliances should be in good working order to avoid any nasty surprises later. 

Storage

Feeling out storage space when inspecting a rental property is particularly difficult if there is no furniture. The home will look open and large, giving the illusion of lots of space. In reality, you will need storage areas like built-in wardrobes and cupboards, kitchen cabinets both above and below eye-level, as well as backyard storage like a garage or shed. 

If it isn’t there already, it means you’ll have to buy it. That means more money spent on what might be a temporary living situation. 

A good practice might be to have a proper look at your current home and see what you’re using to store all your belongings.

Bathrooms

what to look out for when inspecting a rental property elizabeth bay apartment for rent
Elizabeth Bay, Sydney apartment for rent @ Unit 607/50-58 Macleay St, Elizabeth Bay, NSW, 2011, Australia

One bathroom for one person is ideal, but when you have roommates in the picture, consider how many you need to be comfortable. 

Your flatmates might have opposite schedules from you, which would avoid bathroom run-ins, but if they’re working from home or have similar timetables, no one will want to wait in line

Outdoors 

Check out the backyard or garden. While you’re renting the property, you will be responsible for the maintenance of the outdoor areas. This can require quite a bit of time and effort. So if there’s a large backyard, ask yourself if you’re willing to put in the hours. 

General Condition

Seeing a good-looking apartment in photos is one thing, you should inspect it in person if possible to check on whether the property is well-maintained

Do check on the house, making sure appliances like air-conditioning and heating are working properly. Look in damp areas like kitchen and bathroom cupboards to check for mould. Spot checks like these are super important to complete first before you move in and have to take it up with your landlord. 

Extra amenities like broadband or WiFi should also be in good working order if they’re included. 

If there are any concerns or issues, raise them with your landlord or property manager. Try and get it fixed before you move in, or at least get in writing that it will be sorted out soon.

Safety

what to look out for when inspecting a rental property byron bay apartment for rent
Byron Bay house for rent @ 16 Shelley Drive, Byron Bay, NSW, 2481, Australia

It’s important that the rental property is secure and safe

While you’re inspecting, ensure the locks on all doors and windows function properly. Other things to think about are:

  • Are there security cameras anywhere? 
  • Is your letterbox locked and secure?
  • For apartments, is there an access gate with additional security? Is the gate secure?

And when you’re inspecting the rental property:

Remember that rental inspections are both for you and the landlord/property manager. It’s for you to assess whether the rental property is right for you, and for the landlord to see if you’re a good fit as a tenant.

There can be a lot of competition when applying for a rental, so you should put your best foot forward. They will be looking out for a tenant that appears polite and responsible

Arrive early to the inspection and bring your documents with you. This way, if the property suits, you can beat the line and apply on the spot. If you can come dressed smartly, even better. It will usually take around half an hour to tour the property. 

Don’t be afraid to ask questions. Now is the time to find out everything you can about the property, which is why making a list of your needs and wants is helpful. You can also potentially negotiate the length of the lease or the move-in date at this point. 

Can I inspect a house during lockdown?

what to look out for when inspecting a rental property albion apartment for rent
Albion apartment for rent @ 410/50 Hudson Road, Albion, QLD, 4010, Australia

There have been a lot of changes with rules related to the pandemic. As such, property agents have shifted towards digital solutions like virtual inspections. While seeing a property is better in person, this is a safer way. 

Have a look on the listing pages to see if virtual inspections are being held in the place of live ones. And get in touch with the agent to be sure. You can also check your state’s current guidelines online, like this one for Victoria.

Wanna get into your dream home faster?

Download the soho app. With the app, you can contact agents quicker, browse through your property matches and ultimately find your dream home even sooner. We are finding you homes we think you’ll love, so don’t forget to shortlist or swipe left on our listings so we can send you others that better match what you’re looking for.

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