According to the latest official statistics over a quarter of all London residents rent privately. Rising property prices, increased career mobility and lifestyle choices all mean that for many purchasing a house is not an option and renting offers the ideal alternative.
The London rental market is performing well with plenty of properties of all sizes available for tenants. However, before signing any contract it’s important to ensure you’ve found the right location, the right property, and the right price for your needs.
Here’s a handy guide, detailing everything you need to know about renting a property in London.
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Deposit Protection provided by DEPOSIT PROTECTION SCHEME
- Long Term Letting Service (Initial Term of Six Months and over) – 12% inclusive of VAT of annual income.
- Complete Letting & Management Service – 18% inclusive of VAT of annual income.
- Short Term Letting & Management Service (Initial Term of less than Six Months) - 30% inclusive of VAT.
- TENANCY / RENEWAL AGREEMENTS £165 including VAT
- Inventory Check-Out Fee – These may vary depending on size of property: Minimum £220 for Studio. Maximum £400 for 4 bedrooms.
- Prepare For A Possible Wait. Demand for rented accommodation in London is high, particularly in more desirable areas. It’s a good idea to view as many properties as possible in case your first choice is snapped up quickly. However, generally speaking if you act fast you should be able to secure your desired property without too much trouble.
- Take Upfront Costs Into Account. Usually when you move into rented accommodation you will be expected to pay a rental deposit which is generally about a month and a half’s rent, but varies. You may also need to pay agency fees plus upfront costs to utilities companies. Although these additional costs are fairly minimal it’s a good idea to bear them in mind and make sure you’ve got enough funds to cover yourself.
- Be Search Savvy. Finding properties to rent in London can be tricky if you’re not sure what area to start searching in. Remember we are here to help you. Provide us with clear criteria about what you need from your rented property and we’ll find the perfect property for you.
As a tenant, you’ll have certain responsibilities. For example, you’re expected to take good care of the property and you must let your landlord have access if they need to carry out an inspection or repairs. However, your landlord must give you at least 24 hours’ notice and their visit must be at a reasonable time unless it’s an emergency situation.
You are also expected to pay the full amount of rent on time, regardless of whether you’re in a dispute with your landlord or not and you must also pay all other charges previously agreed in your contract, such as utility bills or council tax. You’re also not permitted to sub-let the property unless your landlord expressly allows you to.
Under the new Right To Rent laws, you’ll also need to provide your landlord with copies of certain documents, to prove you’re eligible to rent in the UK. You can find out more here.
Before agreeing to sign any contracts it is important to know your rights as a tenant.
You have the right to:
- Live in a property that’s in a good state of repair and that does not pose any threat to your health or safety.
- Know who your landlord is.
- Live in the property without being disturbed, unless your landlord gives you prior warning that they’ll be entering the property.
- Have your deposit returned to you once your tenancy comes to an end unless your landlord has viable reason to withhold it [for example, if you haven’t paid your rent or have damaged the property].
- Have your deposit appropriately protected.
- Contest unfair charges.
- View the EPC [Energy Performance Certificate].
- Contest unfair rental charges or eviction.
Your tenancy agreement must comply with the current law, if in doubt ask a solicitor to review it for you. Your landlord or your letting agent should provide you with a copy of the How To Rent Guide when you commence your tenancy. In the middle of the text there is a picture here which we can do away with!
Once you’ve identified where you want to rent, you’ll need to decide what sort of property you’d like to rent.
Some key questions you should ask yourself include:
- What Size Do I Need? How many bedrooms do you require? Remember, if you’re looking in a popular area you may have to compromise a little to get the property you want. Work out what your priorities are – for example, is larger living space important, or would you rather find a property with a good-sized garden?
- Furnished Or Unfurnished? Often, part-furnished properties aren’t any more expensive than unfurnished ones, however, if you have already got furniture you may actively prefer to rent an unfurnished house or apartment.
- Alone Or With Others? Will you be looking for a place to rent on your own [or with your family/partner?] Or, are you searching for shared accommodation? If you’re looking for a room in a shared building think carefully about what type of living arrangement you want; especially in terms of communal areas.
- What Facilities Do I Need? Do you already have appliances or will you need a home with appliances supplied? If the property doesn’t have a driveway, are there any places to park your car? Work out exactly what you need as this will help your estate agent to find the right home for you.
Before starting your search it’s a good idea to research where you’d like to live. If you’re concerned that certain areas might be out of your price-range you can use the official London Rents map to get an approximate idea of prices.
London is incredibly diverse, culturally, architecturally and financially. Even in the areas of SE1 and SE16, which are covered by our Rotherhithe, Shad Thames and London Bridge branches, the types of property and area ambience are staggeringly varied. These areas have a lot to offer and can fit almost every central London renters’ tastes.
When deciding on a location, take the following into consideration:
- Transport Links. How easy will it be to get to work or to Greater London for a day out? How expensive is it to travel each year? There is no point saving money by living further out only to spend more on travel costs.
- Local Amenities. Does the property have a variety of convenient amenities close by? If not, how easy is it to reach the nearest shops, restaurants, supermarkets or leisure facilities?
- Safety. What is the crime rate like in the area you’re considering? Most parts of London are safe but the map on the Metropolitan Police website is useful for conducting quick checks on crime rates.
- Other Factors. Keep in mind other factors that affect you personally. For example, if you have children you may need to be in close proximity to a local school. If you’re a keen swimmer, you will probably want to be within walking distance of a pool. Take into account your lifestyle before making a decision.