Five questions tenants should ask before renting – but don't!

When you’re looking to rent a property, there’s a lot to think about so it’s easy to forget some key issues that could cause you problems down the line.
A good landlord or managing agent will be happy to answer your questions, so don’t hold back. Here are five key questions tenants tend not to ask, but should.
1. Can I add another person to the tenancy agreement at a later date?
Just think, you love your new home, have moved in and everything’s rosy, but then life happens. You meet your life partner and want to move in together, or maybe you need help with paying the rent. You need to know.
2. Has the property ever been burgled?
If it has, find out whether the landlords have improved security. You might think lightening doesn’t strike twice, but you can never be too sure. Is there a burglar alarm? Are windows and doors secure? What about neighbourhood watch?
3. Can I talk to the previous tenants?
If they’ll agree, it’s a good way to get a full picture of life in the property you’re looking to rent – get a heads up on the neighbours, nuisances and how well the landlords or managing agents carry out their end of the bargain.
4. How much does the property cost to run?
Energy efficiency ratings are all very well, but you don’t want any surprises. Ask for an estimate of monthly bills and get some clarification over what maintenance costs, if any, you’re liable for. Are there any service fees to be paid over and above the rent?
5. How safe are fixtures and fittings?
Ask to see evidence of safety checks and the landlord’s gas safety record. Check whether smoke alarms work and if there are carbon monoxide detectors What about fire escape routes? And if the property’s furnished, make sure the furnishings comply with fire safety regulations.