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10 Tips For Renting In London

The lettings market in London moves very quickly, a property could become unavailable in a blink of an eye.

With this in mind, the lettings team at James Pendleton have created this short guide with our top renting tips. You’ll find all you need to be well-prepared in order to move things along efficiently.

Check if you can afford to rent the property

We require tenants to earn an annual salary of 2.5 times the annual rent. For example, if the annual rent is £10,000, then the collective income of all tenants has to be £25,000 a year.

The best method is to calculate it weekly because not all months have the same amount of days:

The income per week X 52 weeks a year / Annual Rent

Normally, you will need;

  • 3 or 6 weeks rent as a deposit (e.g If your rent is £1400 a month, you’ll need to pay £2,100 deposit)
  • £300-500 agency fee
  • £100 – £200 moving fee

Looking for a property

After figuring out your affordability, it’s time to look for the property you like. Do you prefer a house, studio, or a flat?

Do some research on different areas, remember to check transport links, shops, parks, restaurants and crime rates.

Narrow down to 3-4 areas you like and look at the properties within your budget.

Viewing properties

Try to view properties with all your housemates, because you might not be able to view it the second time.

Remember to bring your passports, we need to conduct a right-to-rent check to make sure you have a legitimate visa and legal rights to rent in the UK.

Take your time to view the property, don’t let anyone rush you. If there are people living there, ask them questions about the property, the landlord, neighbours and the area. Don’t feel like your intruding, it’s important you find the right place – so test the taps and try the shower pressure!

Before making an offer

If you like the house or the flat after the viewing, make sure to wander around the vicinity and see how you feel about the neighbourhood as well.

Some landlords offer furniture if needed, so make sure you tell the estate agent what furniture you need so that they can include your request in the offer.

Making an offer

An offer is essentially a statement that you would like to rent the property, it is not legally binding until the contract is signed.

There are four steps once the offer is accepted.

  • Pay agency fee

It should be between £300-£600. Make sure you have enough savings. You may be required to pay three to six weeks rent along with the agency fee.

  • Referencing

Please remember to prepare all the documentation before you make an offer, it’s possible that the landlord will pull out of the offer. The deal is not legally binding until both parties sign the tenancy agreement.

The landlord, tenants and the guarantor need to complete referencing, it’s normally done online.

Here is what you need:

  • Three years’ address history
  • Current address proof
  • Salary proof of the past three months (bank statements and payslips)
  • ID document with your photo on
  • Visa (if applicable)
  • If you are self-employed, you have to provide evidence of the last three years’ tax return.
  • National Insurance Number

You will need to upload a scanned version of all the proofs. If you don’t have a scanner, you can use apps like Camscanner

  • Pay deposit and first month’s rent

Once you paid the deposit and first month’s rent, the property is secure. Of course, zero deposit is available if the landlord agrees.

  • Tenancy Agreement

Once the money is paid and the referencing is passed. The last step is to sign the tenancy agreement. Once it’s signed by both parties, you are now legally a tenant of the property.

  • Move-In Day

You will receive the keys on or before the move in date. The landlord or estate agent will give you an inventory list, so ensure that you check thoroughly and note any damage to the property or furniture before you sign the list.

Make sure you take a gas and electric meter reading and note this on the contract or inventory with the landlord. Then ensure you contact the energy providers, Thames Water and your local authority to register your occupancy and setup your utility bills.

Who needs a guarantor?

Anyone could need a guarantor, even for tenants who have a stable job. A guarantor is backup protection for the rent payment, and he or she must be UK based. If you are living with more than one person, then you are each liable for each other’s rent payments. If none of the housemates is able to pay, then your guarantor has to pay.

Whether you need a guarantor or not is up to the estate agent and the landlord. For example, you don’t have an income, or you are a contractor, freelancer, commission based, or the collective salary is less than 2.5 times the rent.

After you move in

Sort out your utility bills immediately. Council tax, water bill, electricity bill, gas bill, TV license, etc. It’s best to write down how much and which date you are paying.

For International students

You must provide a copy of your visa. In most cases, international students do not have a guarantor, so we need them to pay a lump sum of the rent, ranging from 6 months to the full contract period.

Bad neighbours

If you want to make a complaint about your neighbours, contact your landlord. If it doesn’t work, contact the estate agent. If it’s still not solved, consider taking legal action.

Pay attention to the regulations in your borough

Laws differ from borough to borough. If you are living with four people or more, some boroughs might need you to get a license. So, go on your borough’s website and read through their property regulations.

Remember to check out bin collection times as well!