Are you planning to rent a house in London? Well, renting in London is not as easy as finding a home in some other part of the country. It is more than just moving in and paying rent every month.
People who have been to London are aware of the living standards and opportunities it offers. The one thing that amazes everyone is the size of the behemoth. London has 32 boroughs and every borough is just like a small city. It becomes difficult if you have no prior knowledge about these areas. Some of the questions popping in your head must be:
What is the best place to live in London?
How do you find an apartment?
What are the hidden costs related to renting
What are the common mistakes renters make?
Whether you are renting from an agency or private owners, here are a few things that you need to consider when renting a house in London.
1. What are the rental costs?
The main expense of your stay in London is renting. Rents here are either calculated as weekly (PPW) or monthly (PCM). Monthly rental costs are different from the total of four weeks’ rent. Rather monthly rental costs are expressed by multiplying the weekly rent by the number of weeks in a year and then divided by the number of months in a year.
2. What is a deposit?
Deposit is usually between 4-6 weeks’ rent. According to the new Tenant Fees Act 2019, the maximum deposit should be the rent of 5 weeks if the yearly rent is less than £50,000 and 6 weeks if more than £50,000.
3. What are the most common fees that are included in the rent?
This is applicable for long-term tenancies under an Assured Shorthold Tenancy contract (AST) typically for tenancies that are more than 3-months in duration:
- Contract/ Administration Fee
- Reference Checking Fee
- Guarantor Check Fee
- Credit Check Fee
- Tenancy Renewal
- Check out fee
4. Website to find a place in London?
The best place to begin your search for a rented home is Kiwis in London Facebook page or Spareroom, Zoopla, and Rightmove. Also, you should sign for a few agencies in the area you are looking to rent.
5. How to create an inventory?
You need to ask your landlord or agent for the inventory for your apartment or room. Verify everything in a good condition and document amendment along with photos. In case the agent or landlord doesn’t provide you with an inventory then make your own but do remember to take photos and document the assets and condition. If possible then ask the landlord to sign the inventory.
6. Take everything in writing
The conversation you have with your agent or landlord should be stated in writing. This will help you to take reference from these statements on the later stage if you need to. This condition applies to the landlord or agency. Always include contract variation in writing if any change happens on the rent agreement.
7. Check all the amenities
Check whether all the amenities are working in good condition. For example, check whether the water pressure in the bathroom otherwise it may need one week to get fixed that will make your overall experience frustrating.
8. Check the conditions with break clauses
Double-check your renting contract to see the break clauses. You never know when some unforeseen circumstances can come up so it’s better to know the clauses in advance.
9. Calculate how much money is needed for advance payment
With all the changes taking place in the tenancy, you need to know what is paid in advance. This is a crucial document for every tenant. Some of the permitted charges based on the Tennant Fee Act 2019 are:
- First-month advance rent
- Tenancy Deposit 6 weeks based on the rental amount
- Holding deposit for more than a week’s rent
- Early termination when asked by the tenant a minimal charge not more than the financial loss of the landlord
- Utilities, TV license, council tax, and communication services
- Late payment default charges (limited to 3% above the Bank of England base rate). This is when rent is late for up to 14 days.
- Replacement of lost security device or key default charges
- Changing the tenancy document after the commencement. This is somewhere around £50 with VAT
These rules do not apply to a Non-housing Act Tendency. These rules are applicable when any of these criteria are met:
- If the annual rent is more than £100,000
- The property is rented by an entity and not by any individual
- The property is not the main or primary home
- If there is a resident landlord
10. Check where your deposit will be held
The price range of a deposit varies from hundreds to thousand pounds. This is based on the property, but what you need to understand is that where the deposit is being held.
Make sure your deposit is protected under assured short hold tenancy contract.
Another mode is the Zero Deposit Guarantee under which you have to no longer pay any deposit upfront. Rather this deposit will have one week of rent and yearly admin fee. The drawback of such a method is that you don’t get your money back.
11. Ask them how rent increases work
Your landlord or agent has to increase the rent every year that is subject to RPI, market or both. So it’s important to ask your landlord about the increase criteria.
12. Check for scams
Renting a room also means you can be a target for scams. These scams usually come from free listing sites. So be careful with such scams and take proper measures before finalizing your room.
Here are a few tips for you to help you spot a scam:
- Spelling mistakes and ill-structured property description
- If you see a similar phone number, contact name and email address in different advertisements
- You think the price is unusual for that area
- On contacting they ask for a deposit before taking you to view the property
- The photos that they have uploaded looks like copies from the internet
- If you see “No Viewing Allowed” condition
13. Be clear about the differentiation between being a leaseholder and not
Well, it isn’t that vast a difference when you are moving into a room instead of a house. If the lease has your name you will have similar rights. In case a tenant didn’t pay their portion than you can ask the landlord to intervene. And if your name is not on the lease then things are different slightly.
So now you are ready with the rental conditions, rates and security deposit about London. That’s a great beginning. Your next step should be to hire a reputed London Removals to make your moving experience memorable and hassle-free.