Property Advice

The last few weeks I was thinking to write an article for people coming in London for first time and looking to rent a room or a property in London. Today I got my mind clear and little time to approach it. I know a lot have been said from many people who got through the whole procedure more than one time and they completed successfully. However, everything I will be sharing with you it is an output of experience of my job. I have viewed hundreds rooms and properties in many different areas in London and have negotiated with many agencies and landlords.     

The first conclusion comes out is that there is a great demand which reflects the high prices. More specifically, I have located many overpriced rooms and properties from £50 to £250. This being perpetuated because most of the people arriving in London for first time or have been living for many years do not know the bigger picture of the market.

 Advice: For unemployed people coming for first time in London and looking for a room without having a job there is a solution:

  • Define your budget. It will drive you to the areas you can approach.
  • Avoid landlords looking for professionals.
  • Search for cheap rooms, let them know about your occupation, age, nationality and reason you are coming.
  • The more specific you are the more credible you look like.
  • Try attending as many viewings as you can.
  • Try not rushing on making decision. However, when you find something that ticks most of the boxes you should put a holding deposit.
  • You will need to pay the first month upfront, one month deposit (usually) and to show your passport.
  • Search for 3 months contract. It is suitable for both sides. 
  • Never pay a holding deposit without having viewed the room. Probably you will end up regretful. 
  • Never rent a room without contract.   
  • Professionals have more choices.
  • All that glitters is not gold. Avoid advertisements with attractive pictures and exceptionally low price.

For properties to rent the procedure is more demanding:

A) For people coming for first time and want to rent a property without having a job:

  • You have to pay 6 rents upfront and 6 weeks deposit. These conditions apply even if you find it straight from a landlord. 
  • If you use a guarantor (UK resident, homeowner, with income 3 times the rent) doesn’t mean it works 100%. You have to make it clear how you will pay the rent.  

B)  For professionals the news is different:

  • You must have income (gross) 3 times higher of the rent (rarely 2.5) e.g. if the rent is £1300, a couple has to earn overall £3900. 
  • If you meet the income required then you asked to pay the first month upfront and 6 weeks deposit. Exceptions validate the norm.

Property/room finder

www.xenofon.co.uk

 

 

Useful Tips

If you have any issues with your landlord or with your estate agency do not hesitate to contact shelter.org for free advice and support.

Information about the number of people living in a property lawfully compared with the rooms. 

Check here if the estate agent office you are dealing with is a member of the Association of Residential Letting Agents.

If you’re not happy with how your letting agent or property agent has dealt with your complaint, you can refer it to the ombudsman.

Check this very useful guidance on unfair terms in tenancy agreements. If you think that any of the terms in a tenancy agreement are unfair you can go through the guidance and contact the OFT.

Check here for a list of options on how to complain about your letting agent.

Guide to Deposits, Disputes and Damages

If you are worried that poor conditions in rented housing could affect your health or safety, the council's environmental health inspectors could help. Find out more here.

 

How to avoid stress when looking for a home

1) When you start hunting for a room make a plan to organize effectively your time and your steps. Act fast, be specified on your needs and have full of confidence.

2) Don’t book your room without having viewed it.

3) Avoid Skype virtual room viewing. You can’t realise the damp and the property conditions properly.

4) Don’t rent a room without signing a contract.

5) When you pay by cash ask for receipt witnessed by someone.

6) Avoid cheap options. Most of the times end up expensive.

7) Adjust your specifications to your budget so that to have many options for viewing.

8) Don’t force yourself to rent a room by standoff.

9) Avoid advertisements with distorted photos.

10) Avoid advertisements with lacking information.

Good luck to your room hunting.