Rent - Neighbourhood - Soil - Aspect - Slope - Size of Rooms -Various Details - Need of Agreement - Sale of Fixtures -Regulations respecting Fixtures - Neglect - Infection -Notice - Fire Insurance - How to act in case of Fire.

Every text-book on Domestic Economy enters so thoroughly into this question that it is only necessary here to mention the various considerations in a most cursory manner.

Rent

One-eighth of the income is usually considered to be the proportion to spend on this item, it being most unwise to cripple the resources of a household by taking a house beyond the means at disposal. No house, however apparently charming and desirable, is cheap if it is not in good sanitary condition and in a healthy situation.

Neighbourhood

This is often influenced by the rent. If possible, a house should be conveniently near to the railway station, or trams, or to the occupant's place of business. The proximity of an overcrowded churchyard, or unwholesome trade premises, marshy land or stagnant water, should be avoided, also narrow dark streets facing north, houses closely hemmed in by trees or in a low, damp situation.

Aspect

A south or south-west aspect is the most desirable, as rooms facing north are cold and cheerless, while those facing east are usually draughty and most unsuitable for persons liable to neuralgia.

Soil

It is most necessary that the house should be built on dry soil, and for this reason a fair elevation above the surrounding land is advisable. Gravel or sand forms a very healthy site, because moisture can readily drain away through these porous materials. Rock, sandstone, and chalk come next in merit for the same reason. Dense clays are most unhealthy, especially for those liable to consumption or to rheumatism.

"Made soil," which is principally ash-bin refuse, is, needless to say, most undesirable, as impure gases and disease germs must inevitably rise from it.

THE SLOPE on which a house is built is of the utmost importance, as even gravel if low-lying may contain a large quantity of water. Damp soil necessarily renders a house colder, so that it is less economical (more fuel being required) as well as unhealthy, phthisis, ague, croup, and dysentery being among the complaints.

The vegetation affords a little guide as to the character of the soil-grass is greenest on a damp soil; rhododendrons are larger and blossom more freely on a peaty, sandy soil; laurels, bays, and laurustinus will not flourish in impure air; while stunted oak trees indicate a depressing atmosphere. Some plants cleanse and drain the soil, notably eucalyptus trees and sunflowers.

Size Of The Rooms

Persons who habitually live in very small rooms never enjoy vigorous health. They are usually listless, apathetic, and suffer from headache and loss of appetite. For every individual at least 1200 cubic feet are necessary. In order to ascertain the cubic space of any room, simply multiply together the three dimensions of length, breadth, and height.

THE SANITARY ARRANGEMENTS must especially be well looked after : their condition is best judged by an independent sanitary expert. A plan of the house drainage should be obtained from the landlord.

Before taking a house, the following details should be remembered :-

1. All particulars of the water supply should be obtained, and cisterns should be examined.

2. If there are any ventilators, such as Tobin's tubes, or Sheringham's valves, etc., on the premises, they should be put in working order ; window-sashes, cords, and fastenings should be looked after, all windows being made to open at the bottom as well as the top.

3. The kitchen, oven, and boiler flues should be inspected. Mantelpieces should be examined for signs of smoky chimneys, shown in discolouration of marble or woodwork. A cowl, or some contrivance for regulating the draught, will usually remedy this defect, unless the house is adjacent to some much higher building, which may cause a down-draught.

4. The roof and spouting should be thoroughly overhauled.

5. Gas-pipes should be tested, locks and bolts tried, satisfactory connection between the bells ascertained, signs of housepests should be looked for, also signs of damp or any peculiar mouldy smell.