An Expat’s Guide On How To Rent London Property

I’ve noticed that the number of expats living in my building have increased incredibly in the past few months. I’m excited about their arrival, so I decided to introduce myself during our building’s regular tenant meetings. In one of my conversations, however, one of my new neighbours told me how hard it was to find a good property to rent in London.

After the meeting, I wondered if other expats are experiencing the same difficulties; that’s why I decided to write a short guide for renting London property for expats:

Renting property in London

The first thing you have to know about the London property market is that it’s a Landlord’s market right now. This means that due to the high demand for rental space, it’s hard to negotiate for lower rental rates.

Despite high rental rates, many expats still settle comfortably in London and many neighbourhoods in the city have become like second home to many expats.

Expats who arrive on their own choose to live in areas like Notting Hill, Chelsea, and Knightsbridge. On the other hand, the neighbourhoods of Richmond, Barnes, Wandsworth or Hampstead are popular to those who are relocating with their family because of its green spaces and good schools.

How do you find rental property in London?

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Estate agents can give you a head start in securing a place if you are migrating to London on short notice.

If you’re migrating to London on short notice, it’s advisable to hire the services of a relocations company or estate agent. These agents work on your behalf to find the best property for your needs and they even handle all the negotiations.

However, if you want to be hands on in finding the right property, be prepared to act quickly when a good location opens up. The truth is that good London properties do not stay on the market for long, and it only takes a day or two days before it passes on to a new tenant.

So if you come across a property that you like, you’ll need to pay the seller or landlord a holding deposit worth about a week’s rent after your offer is accepted. This guarantees you a week to sort out and accomplish the requirements for tenancy agreement without worrying that the landlord or seller may accept a higher offer.

For how long does a contract of lease last?

A short term lease agreement in London lasts for 6 months, while long term lease agreement or “long let” lasts for more than 6 months.

Short term leases are 40 per cent more expensive that long term leases, but aside from the price the terms of both contract are almost the same. In both cases, tenants are allowed to negotiate a six-month break clause which allows him to give a 30- or 60-day notice should he decide to vacate early.
Are furnishings included in the lease?

Furnishings depend entirely on your landlord.

Currently, the trend is to lease or sell fully furnished properties to expats- meaning you can move in to the property and expect it to have basic furnishings like chairs, tables, beds, as well as small items like kitchen cutlery. Conversely, there are still those who lease unfurnished property. This agreement includes only window treatments, carpets, built-in wardrobes, and appliances.

In a landlord’s market, competition for good locations can be stiff. But just follow the tips in here and securing a property that fits your needs won’t be an impossibility.

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