Guide: how to rent a flat in London
This article breaks down the rental process step by step so you can rent your next flat as seamlessly as possible.
Counting more than 9.5 million in population in 2022, London is undeniably a unique global metropolis. Not only does it attract thousands of people from all over the world, but recently internal migration in England reached new heights. No wonder why accommodation of all kinds (properties, rooms etc) is so popular. In fact, the high demand for properties that spiralled since August 2022, has driven the rental prices on an upwards trajectory, with little to no signs of slowing down. Potential tenants are struggling to find affordable properties to rent.
Furthermore, renting is now a quite challenging and stressful process, with results often not in favour of unprepared tenants. Tenants have to adapt to current market trends to ensure they secure a property that fits their criteria. But what exactly does that mean? In this article, we will break down the process step by step so you can rent your next flat as seamlessly as possible.
First of all, you must set your budget realistically and based on your income. As a rule of thumb, your income should be 2.5 times higher than the rental price. If this isn’t the case, it’s very likely that you will fail during the referencing phase. Additionally, in some cases, you may be asked to pay the equivalent rent of six or even 12 months upfront. It’s best practice to have realistic expectations so you can favour your cash flow and your chances to rent a flat.
Location, location, location
Select areas for your new home, factoring in both your budget and where your work is based. Commuting is key, so ensure there are at least one means of transport fairly close to your new home with a direct connection close to your work. Areas with little connectivity tend to be less pricey, but that means you will spend more time and potentially more money on your commute.
Research is everything
Search for properties that match your criteria on websites such as Rightmove and Zoopla. Do not limit yourself to just one or two potential properties. The more options you have, the better your chances will be to secure your next home, especially as properties are getting snatched up fast.
Pick up the phone to arrange viewings
After you’ve gathered an array of options, call the letting agencies to arrange a viewing. Emailing them is typically a catch-22; picking up the phone is your best chance to book a viewing. Don’t be surprised if you need to ring them three or four times, as letting agents are very busy and quite often out of the office. Make sure to dedicate enough time to contact real estate agents and arrange as many viewings as possible.
Be punctual, thorough and at the ready
Make sure you arrive on time for your appointment as impressions matter. When you set foot on the property, be very thorough during the viewing. Cross the t’s and dot the i’s to avoid any surprises later on. Even if the property isn’t vacant during the viewing, it’s unlikely that it will change when it’s empty. After you’ve weighed your options, quick decision-making is critical. Do not overthink as someone else could be quicker and place an offer before you.
Making the offer and undergoing referencing
When it’s time to make your offer, you will typically be required to pay a one-week holding deposit or a reservation fee in order to secure the property. It’s important to note that these fees are non-refundable should you withdraw your offer, so be 100% certain that you want to proceed with renting the property.
Upon acceptance of your offer by the landlord, you will have to pass the referencing process (background credit check, employment status, and other checks). In most cases, a referencing agency will run a credit check on you, as well as get in touch with your previous landlord and current employer to confirm that your income covers the rent and cost of living.
Once the referencing is successful, you should shortly receive the contract to review and sign. You will also need to make a deposit payment that includes the equivalent of 5 weeks of rental plus the first month.
Renting in London is surely a complex process, but it doesn’t have to be that daunting! We hope that this blog demystified the key steps to finding your next let. Xenofon Property Find provides a bespoke service helping renters across London to find the right property that ticks all the right boxes and rent it. Be sure to follow our blog for more tips for renters and buyers or get in touch to learn more about our services.