One of the most stressful things of moving to London is to find a house. I can tell you from my own experience that is easiest to find a job than to find a room to rent. The market is really competitive and agencies and landlords or even emigrants that arrived before you to the country, like to take advantage of the fact that you might not be well informed about how things work around here.
Once again, you need to move. The stress here is not only to find a room but to find one at a reasonable price. London has become one of the most expensive cities in Europe for renting and obviously when you start, or you have a good budget and you can even afford to rent your own place, or you end up sharing a house, where most of the times, don’t even have a common area. Renting a room was my case. It took me more than a month to find a place to live (luckily I have friends with comfy couches) and it did not end up the best way. In 8 months I have changed house 3 times, where the first one I ended up losing my deposit and worse things could have happen, which fortunately didn’t, with the support of friends. But let’s not lose time with these details.
Here are some tips for renting a room/house, when you come to London:
- Most of the places ask for a 6 weeks deposit, but you can still find places where is only one month rent in advance. So, even though the market is competitive, don’t jump to the first nice house you see, try to visit as much as you can and always try to negotiate the price. Landlords or agencies tend to ask more than what the house is worth off and you can always check if the water runs well, the cleanness of the house, etc.
- Always ask for the contract before making any payment. Payment should always be by bank transfer, so you can have also another proof that you did the payment. Never make a payment in cash, in advance. When you do the bank transfer, write on the details, what is the transfer for (e.g. rent November + deposit);
- Very often when you rent a room, the contract is under the name of another tenant that rents the whole flat and you end up only having a tenancy agreement. That’s okay, as long as you have a copy of the contract before, to make sure you know the details, in case something goes wrong. If this is the case, also check if the apartment is rented per room or the entire flat, so you don’t end up in need of searching for a new place to live, in case the main tenant decides to leave or paying for extra things like mattress covers, since when you get there, you were using a used one. I always have my own, just in case, but that doesn’t save me for paying in case I need to leave.
- If you pay rent to another tenant, you still need to have access to the contract and landlords contact. It is forbidden to hide this information from you.
- You can read much more information about this in the citizen bureau website. https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/