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Bryna Howes, Houzz Contributor
Everyone has different requirements when they’re moving into a new place. For some, an outdoor area is a must. For others, a modern kitchen is a no-brainer. And for others still, all they want is a giant wardrobe that will accommodate all their shoes – and then some. Whatever your status, this handy checklist will help you when you’re searching for your next rented home.
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Investigate storage space
It’s easy to forget how many things we own, but it’s something we become acutely aware of when it’s time to move house. When looking for a new home, make sure you do a quick scan for storage space. If your old place has a lot of shelves and cupboards, and your new place doesn’t, you will need to do some serious downsizing.
Consider investing in your own multipurpose storage pieces with accent and storage benches.
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Explore paint options
This is a two-part tip. Firstly, you should do a quick spot-check to make sure any painted walls are in reasonable condition. If not and you choose to go with the place, make sure you note the paintwork as a condition of the contract. Secondly, if you are wary about the paint colours, you could check with the agent to see if it’s possible to paint over them. Some will allow this, but you may have to restore the original colour at the end of your lease, or you may only be allowed to use a neutral hue.
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Check whether there’s outside space
In the summer, it is great to have an outdoor space you can call your own, be it a balcony, a patio, a garden, a rooftop terrace, or even some front steps. If you do see an outdoor space when you are inspecting the property, check whether it’s private, and always ask about the amount of maintenance you will be expected to do.
Get ideas for an urban outdoor space.
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Ensure appliances are working
If your new rented apartment comes with a fridge, washing machine, dryer, oven, microwave, dishwasher – or any of the above – you need to make sure they are all in working order. Even if you do this after you sign your new lease, you will be given a chance to fill out a condition report. If these appliances are not in working order, you can have your agent fix them.
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Iron out pet clauses
If you have a dog or cat – or any other pet, for that matter – signing a lease is infinitely more difficult. It might be worth meeting with an estate agent ahead of time and discussing your needs. It also helps if you have references from previous landlords you can present to your agent to show that your pet won’t be the cause of any troubles. You can also ask to have the pet written into the lease so that it states you will have any pet damage repaired. This will make many owners much more comfortable with you having a pet.
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Explore the neighbourhood
A friendly and safe neighbourhood is a must, especially if you are new to the area. Take a minute to stand outside your potential place and check out what’s going on. If it seems like a lively area with plenty of foot traffic, you’re in luck. On the other hand, pay attention to street noise, as this can be a deal breaker.
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Work out the deal with parking
A parking space is a hot commodity in the rental market, but it will add a premium to the amount you pay. If you need a parking space included with your lease, you should make sure you have all your paperwork in order and your references ready so you can be first in line. If you don’t need a parking space, but get one anyway, you may be able to sublet the space – but you’ll need to check with your agent first.
Check out front garden designs that sneak in a parking space.
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Be sure about smoke alarms
In the UK, it’s a legal requirement that all rented properties have working smoke alarms installed at the beginning of the lease. Your agent should be on top of this, but it’s important you double-check. Better to be safe than sorry.
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Talk about tech outlets
OK, so maybe a home cinema isn’t on the cards for most of us, but it’s still important to check for any tech outlets you may need. Otherwise, you may have to break your contract, which could be costly.
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Get the right room count
Always, always make sure you know exactly what you’re getting. Quite often, a property listing will make mention of ‘two bedrooms’ when the place in reality contains one bedroom and a sunroom, or a nook. Likewise, check that everything is exactly where you want it to be, such as a washing machine inside your apartment rather than six floors down in a communal zone.