Viewing a flat: What landlords should look out for

Especially in sought-after urban centres like Hamburg, Munich and Berlin, flat owners can choose who they let move into their vacant flat. The creditworthiness of the tenants is paramount. In this article we report on what else you as a landlord should look out for when viewing a flat.

Prepare the flat for the visits

Whether you arrange mass viewings or individual interviews depends on the number of prospective tenants and the housing market. In highly competitive rental markets, it is a good idea to guide potential tenants through a flat in large groups. Note: Individual visits take longer, but you can get a better picture of potential tenants here.

How to prepare a flat for visits

  • Remove minor defects and repair if necessary
  • Make sure the flat is tidy and clean
  • Make sure there is no unpleasant smell and be in the flat early enough to air it out again if necessary
  • Make sure that things that are too personal are removed.
  • Wertsachen Remove or protect valuables

Current tenants are still there: What you should consider

Often the current tenants have not yet moved out at the time of the flat inspection. Under the Tenancy Act, they cannot refuse to agree to a viewing. If the proposed dates are not suitable, the current residents should give alternatives.

Ask them nicely to clean the flat and advise them to remove any personal belongings or valuables. As a landlord, you must protect their privacy. For example, prospective tenants must not take photos or videos of the flat.

Procedure for viewing a flat - checklist for landlords

At the top of a landlord’s “wish list” is certainly a tenant who can prove his or her ability to pay. Landlords place particular value on a solvent tenant. Apparently, landlords are increasingly concerned that their new tenants will not be able to meet their financial obligations.

However, what matters to them is not the maximum possible rent, but that the rent can always be paid reliably. A relatively small number of landlords put income first. In short, tenant creditworthiness is more important than maximising profits.

Find solvent tenants, because the wrong tenant can cost you a lot of money and nerves. Therefore, it is important not to make decisions based on empathy alone. Therefore, you should obtain the following information in advance::

  • Creditworthiness of the tenant, e.g. through the SCHUFA credit check.
  • Tenant self-disclosure
  • Profit and loss statements

Checklist for the property owner when visiting a flat

Before the visit (preparation):

  • Define target group(s): What is the ideal tenant like? (Single, couple, family, student, pensioner)
  • How high should the rent be? (Pay attention to rent brake!) + deposit (Mietpreisbremse beachten!) + Kaution
  • Take informative photos of the property – inside and out
  • Obtain a floor plan of the property
  • Place an advertisement, use an agent if necessary
  • Obtain other important documents, presentation of an energy certificate is absolutely necessary (utility bills, possible finishing documents etc.)
  • Does the property need to be repaired or renovated? Do parts of the property need to be replaced/renewed, e.g. windows, doors, floors or sanitary facilities? Is the property clean?
  • It is possible for prospective tenants to send a self-disclosure form in advance (with a request to bring all documents for inspection).
  • Obtain information: What questions may arise? Find out about the infrastructure, nearby clinics, shops, schools and kindergartens
  • Obtain keys (to living quarters, utility rooms and cellar)
  • Avoid mass viewings; if in doubt, arrange several individual appointments.
  • Do not arrange appointments in the evening (viewing during daylight)

Bei der Besichtigung

  • Punctuality and friendliness (also respond to criticism/questions in a friendly manner)
  • Bring a folding rule or tape measure for measuring
  • If not sent in advance Obtain self-disclosure
  • Collect self-disclosure from interested parties
  • Bring documents (e.g. energy performance certificate, floor plans), print out and distribute questionnaire
  • Have all rooms, including the cellar and outside area, inspected.
  • SBe prepared for questions: Be able to present the flat in detail (area, furnishings, age of the flat, room layout, finishing notes, etc.).

Landlords should be prepared for these questions

DLandlords should be able to answer these questions in order to convince potential tenants during the flat viewing:

  • How large is the living space?
  • What was last repaired and when? (Doors, windows, floors, heating …)
  • Where is the south and when is the sun in which room?
  • How warm does it get and what is the electricity consumption? (Residents can also find this information on the energy certificate)
  • Who are the neighbours (older people, young families, etc.)?
  • How soundproof is the flat?
  • How noisy is it in the morning and evening?
  • What are the characteristics of internal rules? (e.g. “sweeping week”: tenants take turns cleaning the staircase).
  • Are pets allowed? (Note: keeping small animals such as cats and dogs should not be strictly forbidden).
  • What defects are there in the flat? (Note: If you conceal the damage, the tenants can terminate the contract without notice)
  • What network connection (e.g. fibre or copper cable) is available?
  • Where is the nearest parking space?
  • Where is the nearest bus stop?
  • Where are the nearest supermarkets, schools, etc.?
  • What additional rooms are available? (Cellar, lift, attic, drying room etc.)
  • What is the condition of the windows and doors?
  • Has the property already been modernised? If so, what has been done?
  • Which connections are distributed in the flat? (TV, internet, telephone)
  • Which heating system is installed? And how old is the heating?
  • Does the flat have a parking space/garage/bicycle cellar? If yes: costs?
  • What is the social environment like?
  • If there is a garden: Can it be used on a pro rata basis?
  • How high are the operating costs?