Renting a flat in London: the 5 most important tips
Photo credit: John-Morgan
Renting is now the living method of choice for the majority of Londoners. But it can be a treacherous battlefield to navigate (even without the added complication of finding an appropriate flatmate…!).
Here are the top 5 most important things to know as a renter – from our collective 50+ years of London renting experience, on both the agent and the tenant side.
- Choose your area wisely
It may be exciting to imagine yourself living in a glam-sounding pocket of London, but try to think practically as well – how far is it from tubes & buses? How long will it take you to get to work (or, perhaps more importantly, Selfridges)? You can use Rentonomy’s handy ‘Where To Live In London’ tool, which works just like a dating website and matches you up with prospective postcodes! Ooh la la.
- Make sure your Landlord protects your deposit
By law, Tenants’ deposits are protected by special schemes (three in England/Wales: Deposit Protection Service, My Deposits and Tenancy Deposit Scheme). Make sure your deposit is held within one of these, so that you can be assured you’ll get it all back at the end of the tenancy (provided you hold up your end of the agreement). And speaking of agreements…
- Insist on a proper Tenancy Agreement (AST) and full Inventory
Even private Landlords should still give you an AST (Assured Shorthold Tenancy) and inventory when you move in. You should also check that the inventory is complete and accurate, and take photos where you have any doubts. The Tenancy Agreement will make sure both you and the Landlord are on the same page (so to speak) about who takes care of what.
- Vet your Landlord, and know both yours and their rights & responsibilities
The Tenancy Agreement will help set out clearly both responsibilities of the Landlord and you, the Tenant – but if you need more information, a good starting point is the UK government website about private renting.
If you’re renting from a letting agency, always make sure they are a registered member of ARLA (the Association of Residential Letting Agents).
- Budget for upfront and on-going costs
There’s a bit of expense beyond just the weekly rental amount, when it comes to renting in London. Deposit, movers costs, utility bills, TV license, internet, agents fees, contents insurance (if the majority of the contents is owned by you), the list goes on. Make sure you plan your outgoings carefully alongside your rent amount, so you don’t face any unpleasant surprise bills!