Navigating the London rental market is not always an easy experience, as the demand for rental properties continues to outstrip supply. With the average house price in London now at over £530,000, renting is often the only housing option for young people who are just starting out on their careers.
For some people, the high cost of renting means delaying moving out of the family home until they are well into their twenties or beyond. According to the Evening Standard, a record one in four London families now have an adult child with an average age of 26 living with them.
For those who are struggling to navigate the choppy waters of London’s rental market in 2023, it can pay to do some research and preparation to help you get a foot in the door. Here are some useful tips to bear in mind.
Consider a flatshare
It may be that you have set your heart on living on your own in a fashionable district of London, but unless you have a very generous budget this probably isn’t a realistic option. However, you could consider alternatives such as a flatshare or house share with a group of friends, or look for adverts for flatmates on social media sites.
This will be a much more affordable option than trying to go it alone. Sometimes social networking can enable you to jump the queue and move into a property when a friend or acquaintance is moving out. If you can, look outside peak academic times of September and June, otherwise you will find yourself competing against students.
Look at quieter times of year
November and December are generally quieter times to be searching for a rental home. If you do find a rental property that has been empty for a month or more, the landlord may be willing to negotiate a discounted rent. You could also offer to sign a longer term lease or take on some decorating in exchange for lower rent.
Define your priorities
London has variable average rents depending on the neighbourhood, so you may need to compromise on where you want to live in order to find somewhere affordable. Work out what your ‘must-haves’ are, such as proximity to a train station, off-road parking, good local shops and restaurants, and so on.
There may be some areas you can compromise on, such as the number of bedrooms or the amount of outdoor space. Find out as much as you can about the neighbourhood before attending viewings, because this will save you unnecessary time and effort and also demonstrate your commitment to the landlord.
When you do find a property you like, act promptly because there may be several other viewings lined up. Make sure that you have all the necessary documentation to hand, such as proof of income, identification, and references to avoid delays to your application that could potentially mean you lose out to a more organised candidate.
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