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Do I Have to View a Property to Rent it?

29 April 2020 Simon Banks Read time: 3 min
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Simon Banks

Ever since a nationwide lockdown came into force, many renters have been left wondering if they need to view a property to rent it. Even though the sales market is effectively frozen, the business of renting continues to tick along.

You could say things are the same in the world of lettings, but different. Different in the sense that social distancing has rendered in-person property viewings redundant. But if you still need to move (maybe your tenancy is coming to an end), how do you find a new home?

The answer lies in video walkthroughs, which have suddenly become buzzwords in the property industry. In a sense, you’re still viewing the property using the virtual option; you just won’t be there in person. The same. But different.

If you’re wondering about the mechanics of video walkthroughs and seeing a property before renting it, read on and find out everything you need to know about renting a home without viewing it in person.

The short answer

In a word, “no”, you don’t have to view a property to rent it. There are no legal requirements that say you have to see a property first. Of course, the overwhelming majority of renters want to view a property as it provides them with a better idea about whether they want to move into the home. But you can still view a home without being there in person...

Moving with the times

For some people, moving is essential in the current climate as tenancies come to an end, meaning that it’s time for pastures new. The only problem is you can’t just flick open the Movebubble app and send an enquiry about a new property… well, you can. You just can’t go and see it in person.

But is an inability to attend physical viewings actually that bad? Many renters move from abroad to cities like London and Manchester, securing a home without seeing it — and that was before coronavirus changed the landscape.

You can still move, and you can still view the property with the help of a little something called video walkthroughs. That means you can see that pied-a-terre in Fulham or quirky warehouse apartment in Castlefield without being there.

How does renting a property without viewing it work?

Video walkthroughs provide insight into homes without being there in person. They remove the need for physical viewings which, in the current climate, solves many problems.

But how do they work, you ask?

It’s pretty simple, really. Your handy letting agent creates unfiltered, up-to-date content of the property. Even better, walkthroughs tend to be available on property listing pages, so you can literally see what it’s like to live in a home with just a few clicks.

You’ll get an immersive look into the home (and those lovely amenities if it’s in a new development) and can make an informed decision about whether you’d like to live there. There’s no manipulation either: video walkthroughs provide a genuine look into your potential home.

Are there other ways to view a property?

Person using virtual headset

The obvious way is to view it in person. But since you're aware of that methods, let's look at other virtual options. There are different types of video walkthroughs available, most of which are referred to as virtual viewings.

3D technology has made it possible to create viewings where you can click on each room in the home and zoom in and out on aspects that intrigue you.

However, the tech does have its drawbacks. The software is expensive to implement and requires someone to come into a home and set up several cameras. The process is long, too: it can then take up to half a day’s worth of recording to finish the videos.

3D viewings are often polished and don’t always provide an accurate reflection of the property. Sometimes you also need to prove that your interest in the property is genuine before the agent releases the video.

Are video walkthroughs here to stay?

Person sitting on sofa doing a video walkthrough

Video walkthroughs might be more needed now than ever, but they’ll be around long after the lockdown and social distancing. Modern-day renters have a lot on their plate, and physically attending viewings takes up a lot of time.

Renters recently told us that physical viewings were the most painful and time-consuming part of renting a new home. Video walkthroughs have the ability to solve many problems around physical viewings, especially if you’re moving from a different city or country.

In-depth video walkthroughs — ones that feature helpful insights, such as whether the apartment is quiet, from the narrator —can even make physical viewings a thing of the past. The result will be a process that sees renters moving into homes faster.

How else can technology help me rent a property without viewing it?

Video walkthroughs are super helpful and are one of the most important aspects of the renting process. But there are other ways in which technology can complement walkthroughs. Live chats, renter-focused homes, and more defined property searches can all play a role in improving the renting. Technology is helping pave the way for a better renting experience, and that looks set to continue well into the future.

Fed Up of Endless Viewings
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