Are you contemplating moving to London, England? So you’ve got the job, landed a university placement, relocating entirely or you just want to enjoy summer in London, whatever the reason may be, and now is the right time to look for a place to live.
Renting a flat or property in London might seem like an easy process, but it’s challenging when you put into thought the size of the city!
When you think about it, your mind will have questions like:
- How do I find an apartment, and where do I look?
- What are the best places to stay in London?
- What are the procedures for finding a place?
- How do I begin?
- What documents do I need?
- What are the policies and regulations regarding renting in London?
- What am I supposed to do?
The fact is, moving is an exhausting thing. You have to make yourself knowledgeable about where you’re going. If you’re a foreign resident, then many references and documents have to be in your possession—for example, a work permit or student visa, an EU passport, and all that.
The number one thing to start with when you consider renting a flat or moving over to London should be your budget. How much are you willing to spend on rent?
The fact is the closer you get to central London, where most jobs and shops are, you’re going to spend more than when you move further away to areas like zone 2 or 3.
The most important thing is that you make sure you consider commuting and transportation costs. The main modes of transport in London are tube, bus, and train connections with a 30-minute commute to central London.
So, what is the price of renting a flat in London?
Depending on your location of choice, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment is £1,600 a month. In parts like Kensington or Notting Hill, a one-bedroom flat could cost you about £2,500 per month or more.
The average price for a two-bedroom flat is about £2,750 per month; a three-bedroom apartment is between £2,500-£6,000. Lastly, a four-bedroom apartment can cost anywhere from £3,900 to as high as £12,000.
Once you’ve looked into your budget, the area you want to live in, and the criteria that are going to influence you, now you can get into searching for the perfect flat for you.
Where do I start?
After choosing a property that might suit your criteria, you’re going to contact a local agent, look at available listings and arrange for viewings. There are many property estate agencies listed, and finding one should be easy. You can look online for addresses or ask around. If you’re a student or on work duties, you can find many other students or workmates to connect you to their agents.
Cost of Living
As of early 2021, the average living cost for a single person living in the UK is estimated to be around £2,000. For a family of 4, it’s around £4,500 per month. These living costs vary depending on tastes, choices, and circumstances.
When looking into renting, you have to expect costs like:
- Transport and commuting costs
- Health insurance
You have made the decision, and now it’s time to put that thought into action. But you have to know that there are many other additional costs that come with renting in London:
- Administration fee: this fee covers drawing up the contract and some other administrative tasks.
- Reference checking fee: this covers costs for obtaining and verifying your employment and previous landlord references.
- Guarantor check fee: this fee covers costs for checking and verifying your guarantor status.
- Credit check fee: This covers for the agent to run a credit check on you and other tenants you move in with after the agreement.
- Tenancy renewal: this fee applies when you renew your contract of stay.
- Check out fee: this fee covers the process of the agency checking for damages when you leave the property.
Questions to ask yourself before moving
Renting in London has become increasingly popular. London has become a dream destination for many, despite it being the most expensive city to rent in Europe.
It’s only wise to sit back and revisit the reasons why you want to move there. Crosschecking will help you have a clear standing when you ultimately shift.
- Your budget.
- Size of property you require.
- Essential factors when it comes to living areas.
- Are you open to sharing a flat?
- Will you carry your furniture?
Do more research about the culture and way of living before you arrive. It is much easier to go by what is portrayed on the news; however, the reality is a lot different.
Apartment Viewing Checklist
- Have an “eagle-eye” while viewing a property. Look at the general condition of the property. Please point out any damages to the agent or owner so they get fixed before moving in.
- Find out if the place is currently occupied or not before moving in.
- Double-check all areas. Look at every corner of the property.
- Ask about some basic amenities of the property. Like if the taps are running well, who will fix anything in case of damage.
- View the surroundings of the place. It’s easy to overlook this aspect, but it is equally important.
- Ask about the security environment of the area.
Legal requirements and documents to possess
Rental property in London is competitive, and landlords have tons of candidates lined up for the same property. Having all your documents in check is vital to prove that you can pay the rent.
I recommend that you put all the necessary documents together even before you get to property hunting.
According to the law, only a person 18 years and over is eligible to rent property, that’s if you’re a legal UK resident. Other documentation in the form of a valid passport, drivers licence, and tax bill is required.
Note: if you’re coming from abroad, you will need a copy of your UK visa and associated documents.
Proof of Employment
It is much easier to rent in London if you have full-employment status. However, this doesn’t exclude entrepreneurs or sole proprietors. Your salary and earnings should be at least 2 or 3 times more than your rental costs.
If you’re employed, you provide:
- Current payslips of the previous months
- Current employment contract
- A tax return for the recent years
In the case of self-employment
- Bank statements/invoice as evidence for recent earnings
- Company/business details
- A guarantor or you pay up to 6-months rent upfront.
The agency will do a credit check on you to ensure you have a good credit status. If you don’t, be open and disclose it.
Important Questions to Ask the Landlord
Moving can be pretty exciting for you. But before you put pen to paper and sign that contract, you have to ask the landlord so many things. Exhaust all your options and inquire about everything and anything.
Here’s is a guide on where to begin:
What’s included in the rent?
Get specific and ask questions. Ask about who is responsible for specific costs. Get to know what you will be responsible for and what you want.
Are there any deposits or non-refundable fees?
Usually, there are deposits made to book a property. Ask the landlord how many months you are required to deposit or any other fees that you might incur that are non-refundable.
How much notice do I give before vacating?
Before you sign a contract, make sure you get into detail about any clauses to avoid getting into trouble in case you breach them.
What’s the penalty for breaking my lease?
Get informed about the legal implications that come with breaching your contract. In this case, you won’t be caught on the ugly side of the law because of negligence.
Is there emergence maintenance?
Ask if there will be emergence help to fix any damages that may occur. It’s also good to know who will cover the costs in case that happens.
Are pets allowed?
Every property owner has their own rules and regulations they enforce. Find out if pets are allowed on the rental, that’s if you have any.
What’s the guest policy?
Every once in a while, you will want to have friends or guests around. Make sure it’s on good terms with the landlord’s policies to avoid any clashes. Find out how far the extremities of your socialising endeavours will go for you.
There are various ways of paying rent. Some landlords prefer you pay cash upfront, others through the bank or various online payment options. Make sure to pick the method that will suit both you and the landlord.
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