The internet is filled to the brim with horror stories about how painstakingly hard it is to find a decent place to live in London. You’ve probably heard that most of the flats here are either too old, too small, or too expensive to be considered a viable option.
Luckily, most of those stories are a smoking pile of rubbish. We’ve been helping people with finding a home in the Smoke for 17 years now, and we can only be proud of our 100% success rate.
It really only takes a day if you know where to look.
That said, renting in London is far from being a walk in the park. Some of the horror stories you’ve seen on the forums might have some truth to them.
Luckily, if there is a challenge, there is also a way to either overcome or avoid it whether with professional help from a veteran relocation service provider or with plain old attention to detail.
1. Double-check on your security deposit
A security deposit is usually a month’s worth of rent you pay upfront. Technically it is still your money, and you should be able to get it back when you decide to switch flats or permanently leave the property you are renting for any other reason.
There are three schemes in the UK that serve as enforcers of the law ensuring you’ll be getting your money back no questions asked:
Sure, taking care of stuff like that is on your landlord, but you too should make sure that your deposit is protected by one of these services. As long as you keep to your end of the bargain, of course.
2. Don’t skip on your Tenancy Agreement
Nobody likes paperwork, especially when passing on it is much cheaper. Then again, being evicted, charged for household items that were never there, or even being arrested for breaking and entering into what you’ve considered your home for a couple of years, is probably not worth the gamble.
We live in a bureaucratic world where a gentleman’s agreement is as cheap as air in the eyes of the law. That’s why we never allow our clients to even consider a deal without previously checking the necessary paperwork.
In simpler words, never-ever rent without signing an Assured Shorthold Tenancy and inventory.
3. Know when you are in the right
A Tenancy Agreement is an amazing starting point for setting the relationship between you and your landlord in stone. Alas, even the best of them don’t cover every scenario that may take place in the future. Luckily, you probably have more freedoms and rights (as well as obligations) than you originally thought. Feel free to check the full list of them on gov.uk.
Just to be sure, the list explicitly states that you are protected from unfair eviction, unreasonable rent, excessively high charges, and intrusion into your privacy, among other things, by the law.
In return, you are obligated to take good care of the property, pay the agreed rent on time, compensate any damages that you may have caused, etc.
4. Haggle, if need be
The prices in London are not set in stone. If you’ve found a property to your liking but it needs some repairs or decorative TLC – haggle without a second thought.
In 10 cases out of 10, you’ll get a better deal, if not from the get-go, then in the long run.
5. Double-check your paperwork
London is a rich, colorful, engaging, vibrant… and pretty much any other pretty word in the book you can replace “crowded” with. It is filled with people all of whom need a place to live so, even despite there is no shortage of properties (once you know where to look), the competition is still high.
The best way to beat a competitor in a battle of tenants is your trump card – better paperwork. Make sure that you have everything you might need at the tips of your fingers.
You will need:
- References from previous landlords
- Superb credit ratings
- Your security deposit
- If you are moving in with a pet, you’ll also need its CV, references from the vet, etc.
6. Get the pros on your side
We highly suggest that you get help or at least a consultation from seasoned professionals who have the skills and the experience to swim in London’s property market like fish in the sea. Yes, their services will cost money, but what is that in comparison to your security, saved nerve cells, and, of course, a home you’ll be proud to call your own fortress?