Or as I like to call it: Things you didn’t know about renting flats in London.

We had an interesting call this morning: An American moving to London with gainful employment for a global brand and her partner who is a self-employed tattoo artist. They’d been turned down by a number of property agents because her partner is a freelance artist – proving your worth to a landlord can be difficult when you’re renting in the UK… You’ll need to provide more than just proof of income when you’re trying to negotiate a lease in the UK; it’s even more stringent for foreigners.

rentals in London

Of course, the landlord, property owner or agent has the right to ask you to prove that you have a stable income and are able to cover the cost of rent each month, but it becomes a challenge when you’re moving to a new country to start a new job with no credit history (in the UK), no guarantors and possibly even no bank account in the UK.

What References Do I Need to Rent a Flat in London?

Your proof of identity is a basic requirement. Have your passport and driving licence ready as standard documents. If you’re moving to London from overseas, make sure you have notarised copies made before you leave your country of origin. Make sure you have a utility bill and current bank statement to give to your prospective landlord as well.

Proof of employment is important: Make sure you have someone in your company who can give you a reference and provide proof of income on request. You can definitely expect your landlord or rental agent to verify this information.

This is where the water gets murky for foreign renters: If you’re moving to the UK with your partner or spouse, they may have to prove that they will be employed as well, which could be almost impossible if they are not going to be working or will only be looking for work after you arrive. It get’s even worse if your partner is a freelancer or self-employed.

You’ll need to provide proof of your previous tennancy or proof of home ownership. If you’re moving to London from abroad, make sure you have notarised copies of your rental agreement (translated into English if need be) to present to your new landlord as a reference.

Financial Checks

Bank references can take days or even weeks, especially when deaing with international delays and time zones. Be prepared before you arrive and get your bank to provide a letter of reference; better still, have six months of bank statements ready to present if required. You can expect some property owners and agents to run a credit check – these days they can even check your credit rating internationally if required, which is why it is so important to have all your paperwork available up front.


We sometimes get asked “Why do I need London Relocation?” The answer is really simple – because we take care of the lease negotiation for you. Remember agents work for landlords in the UK – there is no handy MLS here, and many times agents and landlords make the rental process unbearable for foreigners or people who are self employed or freelance artists. It can be discouraging to get turned down over and over again by agents and property owners, simply because you don’t fit the mold.

Well, neither do we, because we work for you – and we know how to navigate the rental market, how to deal with agents and landlords and how to get you into a London flat without having to lose sleep about the deal.


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