If you’re starting to plan your relocation, you’ll have a lot of questions and a lot of research to do before you feel comfortable with the process and your expectations. Even if you’re a regular visitor to the UK, it’s very different when you have to deal with differences in how properties are rented in London, what a standard lease agreement in the UK looks like and what all the different words mean. We’ve put together a collection of some of the most common questions asked by folks moving in to London; looking for simple accurate answers to put their minds at ease.
I see lots of properties listed on some websites…Is there a multiple listing system (MLS) in the UK? Can I see all available properties with one agent?
There is no multiple listing system in the UK. In fact, we’re the only true MLS in London. In order to see all properties that are available on the market, you would need to contact each agent and set up a viewing day. Alternatively, if you decide to go with one realtor or estate agent, you’ll be able to see a range of properties, but ONLY from that agent. Estate agents are not allowed to show you properties from another agency.
Will I have to pay a deposit on a London rental property? Will I get it back at the end of the lease?
A deposit on a property is typically six weeks’ rent and should by law be held in a government deposit protection scheme. Part of our service is to negotiate the lease, deposit and terms on your behalf. Because we have no tie to any estate agent or landlord, we work for the client, so it’s in our best interests to negotiate a reduction in fees for you.
What is the minimum amount of money that I’ll need to pay and what references will I need to secure a flat?
Again, this is something that we do already, before your viewing day. We make sure that you’re fully referenced and have all the paperwork so that when you see a property that you love, you’re in the best position to secure it on that day. Of course, we’re with you through every meeting, negotiation and take care of a the paperwork up front. Usually, you’ll have to pay your six-week deposit and then one month’s rent. References will vary, but we will advise you specifically on which ones you will need.
Rent is calculated by calendar month but advertised weekly. It can be confusing when you first start out on your property search. To work it out, use the following formula: Weekly Rent x 52 / 12 = calendar month amount.
What is council tax?
Council Tax is the system of local taxation used in the UK to fund the services provided by the local government–this includes upkeep of parks, rubbish and waste removal, street cleaning, road maintenance, etc. Students are exempt from paying, and if you live alone, you can get a 25% discount.
How do I set up utilities in my new home?
Utilities can be set up once you have secured your property. We will provide you with a list of suppliers, and then it’s simply a case of setting up accounts, which can be done very easily online. Remember, we are here to help if you need us! All utilities will be “live” when you move in–aside from cable and internet, which you will need to either install or activate. Again, we can help you do this and have it all sorted without any hassle or stress for you or your famil
It is very normal to have furnished flats in the UK. By furnished, this usually means you will have beds, a couch, dining table, chairs, and some storage.
How do leases work? Can I get a month-to-month lease on a London flat?
Your minimum commitment on a long-term lease will be six months. You will normally have a one-year contract with a six-month break clause, but again when it comes time to negotiate we can help you out with your specific requirements.
How come I see amazing places advertised online, but they are never available?
If you’re going it alone when finding a flat in London, we have just one piece of advice: CAVEAT EMPTOR! It means ‘buyer beware’ and if it looks too good to be true online, then it usually is. Managing your expectations up front is an important part of a successful relocation. Some agents and property owners leave a stunning, low priced ‘example’ of the type of property you can get to entice you into using their services.
There is so much that you have to remember and consider when renting a property in London. Even Londoners say it can be a stressful process at the best of time. Take your time, consider all your options and keep an open mind about areas and types of property to really see the best of everything available.