A Guide To Renting Property In London

According to the latest official statistics, 30% of London residents rent privately. Rising property prices and deposits, increased career mobility and lifestyle choices all mean that for many, buying a home in London is not an option, and renting offers the ideal alternative.

Properties To Rent

The London property rental market is performing well, with plenty of housing options available for tenants. However, before signing any contract, it’s important to ensure you’ve found the right location and property at the right price for your needs.

Here’s a handy guide detailing everything you need to know about renting a property in London.

When selecting a letting agency, you should choose one who prioritises your security and peace of mind. Ensure the agency is affiliated with The Property Ombudsman, offering independent redress, and is committed to safeguarding your deposit through one of the government backed schemes, such as the Deposit Protection Scheme.

  1. Prepare For A Possible Wait. In this competitive rental market, demand for rented accommodation is high, particularly in more desirable boroughs of London. 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.
  2. Take Upfront Costs Into Account. When you move into rented accommodation, you are usually expected to pay a rental deposit, which is generally equivalent to a month’srent, however, this can vary. You may also need to payconnection costs to utility companies, although these additional costs are relatively minimal, it’s a good idea to bear them in mind and ensure you have enough funds to cover yourself.
  3. Be Search Savvy. Finding properties to rent in London can be tricky if you’re unsure 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 specific responsibilities and obligations. For example, you’re expected to take good care of the property and fix any minor maintenance issues, such as replacing lightbulbs. You must also let your landlord or their agent access the property 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.

You are also expected to pay the total 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 sublet the property unless your landlord 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 essential to know your rights as a tenant.

Renters have the right to:

  • Live in a property that’s in a good state of repair, is safe and habitable, and that does not pose any threat to your health or safety.
  • Qualifying repairs being carried out in a reasonable timeframe
  • 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 ends 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 protected via an accredited scheme such as the DPS.
  • Contest unfair charges.
  • View the EPC [Energy Performance Certificate].
  • Contest unfair rental charges or eviction.

Your landlord or letting agent should provide you with a copy of the How To Rent Guide when you commence your tenancy.

Once you’ve identified the areas of London you’d like to live in, 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 for a popular area in Central London, you may have to compromise a little to get the property you want. Work out your priorities – for example, is a larger living space important, or would you rather find a property with a good-sized garden?
  • Furnished Or Unfurnished? Part-furnished properties are often less expensive than unfurnished ones; however, if you already have furniture, you may prefer to rent an unfurnished house or apartment.
  • Alone Or With Others? Will you be looking for a place to rent alone or with your family/partner? Or are you searching for shared accommodation? If you’re looking for a room in a shared building or a studio apartment, 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 white goods 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 find the right home for you.

Before starting your search, it’s a good idea to research the neighbourhoods you’d like to live in. 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 property rental 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 suit most lifestyle preferences

When deciding on a location, consider the following:

  1. Transport Links. How long will it take to commute to work or Greater London for a day out? How expensive is travel each year? There is no point in saving money by living further out only to spend more on travel costs.
  2. 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?
  3. 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 helpful for conducting quick checks on crime rates.
  4. Other Factors. Consider other factors that affect you personally. For example, if you have children, you may need to be close to a local school. If you’re a keen swimmer, you will probably want to be within walking distance of a pool.

Take your lifestyle, budget, and commute into account before making a decision.