If you're new to renting, it's crucial to know what questions to ask to ensure you are protected throughout the process. Remember, renting a property is legally binding, so it is important to arm yourself with all the facts before signing on the dotted line. We put together 6 essential questions a tenant needs answered before going ahead with a lease. **What can you afford? ** You need to consider how much rent [you can afford to pay](https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/how-much-rent-can-you-afford) on top of your monthly expenses and debit orders. Generally, people spend about 20 to 35% of their take-home pay on rent. **Have you done your research?** It is important to do your homework. Decide what area or areas you would like to live in and spend time researching and understanding what properties fitting your needs generally rent for. It is also important to be flexible. If your desired area is too expensive, make sure you look at surrounding areas that offer more value for money. The larger the area where you are prepared to look, the better the chance of finding the right home for you. **Do you have your documents ready? ** Landlords and agents will want to confirm your identity, credit history and employment status. **What's the state of your new home?** It is critical to make sure you record every snag the property has regardless of how small to avoid disagreements and misunderstandings down the line. When you first move in, your landlord or agent should provide you with a detailed inventory of the property. This should cover each room and all of the furniture and fittings, stating what condition they are in. **What are the additional costs?** Find out if utilities are included in the rent or if you will be required to pay extra per month for electricity and water. It is also important to find out if your property comes with parking bays and if not, whether this is available at an extra cost. These expenses could impact your overall budget and may render the property unaffordable. **What's in the contract?** Remember, your contract is a legally binding document, so take the time to read your contract. It is also beneficial to have it read over by someone who understands legal jargon.