6 Most Important Things To Know As A Tenant Before You Go For Viewings

25 September 2023 | BY

Here’s how you can make an informed decision when renting a place.

rental viewing checklist

Renting can be one heck of a ball game to conquer, especially if it’s your first time. It’s hard enough to find a unit that fits your budget, let alone keep track of a whole range of criteria – some of which you may not even be aware of.

The last thing you want is to sign a lease for a unit that you’re not fully committed to, leaving you dreading your stay; we ain’t got the time and money for that. So here’s a rental viewing checklist for you with 6 important things that tenants should know so you can make informed judgements.

1. Prepare a list of questions

looking at a listImage credit: TheSmartLocal

As most of the time spent during viewings is on exploring the unit itself, it’s easy to overlook the essential details. To keep things short and sweet for you, here’s what you need to ask the agent or the landlord, and some things to consider adding to the tenancy agreement:

  • Lease terms
  • Renewal options
  • Deposit & refund policy
  • Maintenance clause
  • Damage checklist
  • Utilities – condo maintenance fees, WiFi etc.
  • Pet policy
  • Is the space unfurnished, partially furnished, or fully furnished
  • What changes are allowed – painting, wallpaper etc.

You should also ask the landlord about the details that don’t usually go into a tenancy agreement like neighbourhood noise and what the neighbours are like.

2. Check the general condition of the home & inspect for damages

kitchen with counter - rental viewing checklistImage credit:

Some landlords may conceal and refrain from being transparent about any defects in their space. As such, the onus is on you to thoroughly assess the general condition of the home and inspect for damages that are present before you move in. 

Apart from checking for cracks or holes in the walls, ensure that the floorboards are not peeling and that the tiles are all well-sealed. It can become a massive headache for you if there are mould, stains or insect infestations developing between the tile linings. 

Don’t be shy about bringing over your magnifying glass or measuring tape to properly analyse the space as some seasoned renters have suggested. You’ll thank yourself, and us, later.

3. Try out all appliances & fixtures

washing machine service yard

Moving on, it’s also crucial to ensure that all the appliances, fixtures and other nitty-gritty elements in the home are fully functioning. Otherwise, it can be equally troublesome and expensive to fix them.

This means testing out the fridge, laundry machine, fans, air-conditioning units, sockets and other big-ticket items; even the electrical box should be checked in case a blackout occurs. Particularly for the aircons, take note of the model used and its warranty details, and discuss with your landlord how to settle its maintenance.

Over at the bathrooms, make sure all taps, water heaters and flushes are in order. For the kitchen, ensure all the stoves, microwaves and other kitchen appliances listed in the contract can work.

As for lighting, apart from testing out all the light fixtures, close your curtains or come at night to ensure they can properly illuminate up the space when it’s dark.

4. Check the storage options

checking kitchen storage - rental viewing checklist

You need not be a chronic hoarder to keep an eye out on how much storage there is at the units you view. Not only does everyone need space to keep their personal belongings, but the storage should also be appropriate; you wouldn’t want to have to store cleaning supplies next to your condiments or use your oven as a spare wardrobe like Carrie Bradshaw.

During your viewing, check through what kind of shelves and cupboards are there at different locations around the house, especially those that are built-in. This lets you plan for more storage if you love the space but it’s lacking in cabinets and drawers.

5. Check sunlight direction through windows & home ventilation

sunlit balcony - rental viewing checklist

Another big factor to take note of is the direction of sunlight relative to your unit. In general, the more west-facing a unit is, the more prone it is to experiencing strong sunlight throughout the year.

But that doesn’t mean renting such units creates a gone case for you; wind direction also matters, with north-south facing units experiencing the best ventilation.

6. Recce neighbourhood for amenities & transport options

the woodleigh mallImage credit: TheSmartLocal

Before or after your viewing, you should also recce your future neighbourhood for all the essential amenities such as shopping malls, clinics, hawker centres and post offices. After all, you wouldn’t want to commit to a lease only to find out that the nearest MRT station is a 30-minute walk away and there isn’t any good food that satisfies your cravings.

Important thinImportant t tenants need to know when going for viewings

With so many factors to consider, it’s hard to find the unit that satisfies all our conditions. That said, once you’ve sieved out a handful of factors that are the most important, trust that your judgement will be sharpened and you will find a place that’s rightfully yours.

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