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Renting your first home in London: top tips

Moving to the big city can often seem like a big task. To initially find a rental property you’re interested in, first you should decide on an area that works well for your new routine and go from there – you don’t want to be swayed by a beautiful apartment and then discover it’s a two-hour commute to your new job!

 

Find the right agent
Once you find the right estate agent, everything else will fall into place. However, in such a crowded market place it can be hard to choose an estate agent you can trust. Here are some things to look out for:

- Check out the independent reviews on a globally recognised site like TrustPilot, who have over 26 million reviews of over 152,000 businesses. If all the reviews you see for the agency are 5 star and brilliant be wary: a real agent with genuine reviews will have the odd bad one.
- Go to the agent’s office and meet them in person: they will be helping you with a very important decision, so you want to ensure you have a good relationship with them.
- The agency should be upfront about associated costs involved (admin fees etc.) when renting.
- They should show you properties that suit your needs, not just show you everything they have available and hope you pick one.
- Ask if they will hold your deposit in an accredited tenancy deposit protection scheme (follow this link to learn more about available schemes), which ensures you will get it back if you meet the terms of your tenancy agreement, don’t damage the property, and pay the rent and bills.
- Make sure the agency is a member of respected professional organizations, like The Association of Residential Lettings Agent (ARLA), London Rental Standard and a suitable redress scheme (Property Ombudsman). Any disputes that may arise in the future will be dealt with according to formal regulations.
- Are the staff NFOPP (National Federation of Property Professionals) qualified? This means every member of staff knows the property law in and out and can advise you accordingly.

Find the right location for you

It might be cheaper to rent in an area further out from the city or your job, but don’t forget to calculate for the monthly costs and time for your commute. Check area guides and safety reports.

Find your next London destination here.

View as many properties as you can and never sign up for anything without seeing it in the flesh
Some properties will be a pleasant surprise compared to the online images, and some quite the opposite. Make sure you see a range of properties so you can compare the good and bad, whilst also discovering what things are the most important to you, versus what you are willing to compromise on.

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When you view a property, try and take someone with you for a second opinion - write down a checklist of things to look at before you go
Is the property clean and presentable? Is it secure? Look for damp patches on the walls or ceiling that could signal some issues, test the taps and showers to make sure they work, and take note of how the property feels – if there is blazing sunshine outside but it’s chilly in the property, this might suggest you’re going to have to pay a lot to keep it comfortably warm. You might want to ask what your neighbours are like. Don’t be afraid to ask how much the bills for the property generally are, and check if the internet is already installed – if it isn’t you might have to pay for it yourself, and the initial fitting can be pricey.

Consider the upfront costs of moving
You must pay your deposit before you move, so make sure you have enough saved to cover it. Your deposit will normally be about 6 weeks rent, and you will get it back at the end of your tenancy, ensuring you have stuck to your contractual agreements. You will also have some agency fees to pay upfront which you should budget for in advance. Furthermore, if you’re moving a lot of stuff you may want to consider the costs for removal hire.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your tenancy agreement
It’s vitally important to make sure you understand all the legalities of your tenancy before you sign up as agreements can differ massively. Some rental agreements state that the letting agent is your main point of contact, but others will stipulate that it’s the landlord who you will deal with. It’s important to know these nuances as when something goes wrong you need to know who to speak to. If you are unsure even about the smallest detail, ask your agent to explain it and don’t sign anything before you’re sure you’re ok with it.
 

If you live in a property with landlord-owned goods (washing machines, dishwashers, other appliances etc.), make sure you tell the right person as soon as anything goes wrong or breaks
If your agent is managing your property, any breaks should be stress-free for you, as your property manager will take care of all the fixing in a timely manner. But remember to make a note of the day you raised an issue and any follow ups made.
 

Get excited!
You're moving to the capital of the UK, the thriving heartbeat of city LiFE. Get ready for an amazing adventure!

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With these tips in mind, we hope you can move to London hassle-free and get the property you want in the big city! Once all that is sorted, you can get out there and explore our amazing city that you now can call home.