My First Property

Tips On Renting In London

Renting in London can be very expensive. One of the best ways to get a feel for what you should expect to pay for the type of property you want to rent is to walk around the estate agents (yes in person!). If you tell them what you are looking for then they can come up with suitable options for you and also give you some indicative figures so you will calculate what sort of budget you will need to live in the type of property you want.

Of course, you can also do plenty of research online with one of the big property sites such as Zoopla, or if you are looking rather than renting a property to get a room in someone else's accommodation, then there are websites where you can quickly find spare rooms.

One of the top tips is to use your connections: do you know other people in London? If so ask around friends if they have a spare room (if you're happy with that) and you may be able to find something much more cost effective, and with less risk, than going through other avenues. Additionally if you want a place to rent, also ask around: friends might know of someone who is about to move out - if they are then you could approach them and go to the landlord directly offering to take on the lease after their tenancy expires: a good way of getting a property, often at a reasonable price since you know what is currently being paid for it, without all the uncertainty of several other people wanting the same room. Friends posting or asking for you on facebook for instance can be a great way of making useful connections that can lead to you getting a rental property you want, or a room you want, in London. So don't forget about your personal network and its power in helping you find a good property for you.

If you decide to go down the route of renting from a landlord, then clearly you will need to go through all the usual questions such as seeing what the minimal rental term is, asking questions about what works are planned in the area and more besides: you won't want to end up being next to a building site and unable to terminate your lease, for instance.

If you go through an estate agent then you'll need to check out what their fees are for administration and any other fees that could be charge above and beyond your monthly rental fee to get a clear understanding of what the total outgoings will be on rent and any related costs.

You'll need to very carefully work out your finances when renting in London as people typically spend a higher proportion of their salary on rent in London than they do elsewhere: so do take time to very carefully work through all the numbers in advance. You could even try living by the budget you set for a month or two before moving to see if you really can stick to it to see how realistic it is - many people systematically underestimate what they spend on things like food and going out, so actually itemising and accounting for your spending so you use real numbers when budgeting is the best way to ensure that you get those figures right and therefore can make an accurate assessment of what rent you can afford. Don't be tempted to go above what you can afford even for a nice property as having a nice place to live when you have no money left to buy food isn't actually much use!

Last update: 14 May 2015

More first-time house buying articles:

  1. Using Property Search Websites
  2. How to get a landlord to deal with problems
  3. Key Questions to ask at a property viewing
  4. Costs of Buying a House
  5. The Key Purpose of a Second Viewing

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