In the current market, finding a suitable rental property in London can be quite a challenge. Demand is soaring as there are fewer homes to let on the market, meaning that landlords are able to raise rents. In fact, the average cost of renting in London has increased by 5.1% since last May, according to the Office for National Statistics.
In popular areas such as Hackney, rents may have increased by more than this amount. With letting agents reporting dozens of viewings for every rental property that comes on the market, it helps to carry out some preparation to put you in the best position to have your application accepted. Here are some top tips.
Look well in advance
If you have a certain date in which you want to move to London, for example for a new job or to study, start looking for somewhere to live a few months beforehand. Register with estate agents in the areas that you want to live in, because often they can advise you about properties before they even come on the market, and sign up for alerts on property portals.
Decide what your essential requirements are
In a competitive market, you may have to compromise on some of those ‘nice to have’ features that you could live without, at least in the short term. For example, can you manage without a second bedroom or a garden? This will widen out your scope if you are willing to be flexible.
You may find that you need to consider a wider range of neighbourhoods in which to live if supply is very limited in the area of your first or second choice. Work out your non-negotiables, such as proximity to your workplace, transport links, schools, or shops, and think about areas where you can compromise, such as leisure and entertainment facilities.
Set a budget
Look at the average rents in the neighbourhood you want to live in and for the type and size of property you want to rent. Remember to factor in council tax, utility bills, and the cost of your commute to work. The landlord or letting agent will want to see evidence of your income to prove that you can afford to live in the property, so be realistic when setting your budget.
View a range of properties if possible to give yourself an idea of what’s out there. Remember not just to take into consideration the property, but the surroundings. Do you want to live in a buzzy vibrant neighbourhood with a lot going on, or somewhere with plenty of parks and good schools where you can bring up children?
Once you have found a property that you like, put in an offer promptly and make sure that you have all your paperwork in order.