Date Published 01 February 2019
With a population now over 8 million, London is one of the most popular capital cities in the world, with world-famous attractions and a mix of cultures that gives it a truly cosmopolitan vibe. With so many people wanting to live in London, it can be easy to get caught up in the romance of the city when looking for a property, so we have put together 10 tips to help you in your quest for the perfect pad.
1) Clarity is key!
Knowing exactly what you're looking for is key to your success when searching for a property in London. With 32 London boroughs, as well as the City of London, there is plenty of choice in terms of location – but that can also be a hinderance if you're not sure what you're looking for. Make a list and prioritise your needs; is it proximity to a specific place, public transport or local facilities that is the most important to you?
2) Sherlock Holmes your property search!
Investigating the process by asking the people you know is always a good way to glean information that you may not otherwise be privy to. Ask your friends, family and colleagues about where they live, areas they like or where they would like to move to and it may well help you to find an area that you didn't know about.
3) Sharing is caring!
If you are thinking of renting in London, then the costs may be daunting and therefore sharing the charges may be the right move for you. Having a housemate can have many benefits in terms of companionship, security and shared responsibility, however the more tangible benefits are the financial burden being reduced. You may also be able to afford a larger property or a better area, and have the benefit of a new friendship thrown in to the deal.
4) Budget is king!
Remember, a month isn't four weeks long – often the time between pay packets can be five weeks long – and that is one of the many things to keep in mind when considering how much you can afford. Making a budget and knowing how much is sensible, without stretching yourself too much, will be a key concern when you rent your property. Bear in mind, council tax can vary from borough to borough, with Westminster at only £678.14 whilst Kingston-on-Thames is over one thousand pounds more at £1,678.65. Not to forget the basics, such as Wi-Fi, TV licence and the basics of gas, electricity and water – make sure these are all a part of your budget when searching for the perfect property.
5) It's a sprint, not a marathon!
This one might seem counterintuitive; however the rental market in London moves incredibly quickly, and therefore if you have found a property which you have genuine interest in then moving with hast is the only option. Regularly check the advertisements for new properties, and ensure you engage in all of the communications from your estate agent so that you don't miss out on a potential gem.
6) Preparation is key!
As we've just mentioned, the London rental market is a fast-moving sector, and therefore being prepared to move quickly will allow you to make the right move at the right time. Be prepared by ensuring you have your deposit and initial rent saved up and ready to be handed over to secure the property, as well as having references organised.
7) Rights and responsibilities
Before signing a rental contract, familiarise yourself with your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant. These are set out on the government's website. And don't forget to ask about a break clause in case you find the property is not right for you. Read your contract carefully, if it gets to that, and remember that it is there to protect your rights, as much as the landlord and estate agents.
8) Keep ‘em sweet!
Once you have made that step and rented a property, the importance of maintaining a good relationship with your landlord and estate agent cannot be overestimated. Respect the property so that the landlord has faith in you, and you will foster a nice, easy relationship for years to come.
9) Flash the cash!
Once you're in the property that you have rented, a recommendation from us would be to take extensive pictures of the property – all of the walls, floors and kitchen/bathroom so that you have a point of reference when you move out. These may come in handy when you have the discussion around getting your security deposit back – being able to show the state of the property initially will prove you have treated it well. Similarly, taking photographs of meter readings will be useful when you are paying for your utilities as these will show the point at which your bills should start.
10) Leave the door open!
When you have decided that the rental property which you're in isn't fit for purpose anymore, don't burn any bridges by leaving it in an untidy state or parting on bad ways with your estate agent. Remember, we all need somewhere to live and you will more-than-likely be working with these people again in the near future to either rent another property, or to buy a property, and therefore having an established relationship with them will reap rewards for your future self.