Whether you’re moving to London to start a new job or to study, you are going to need somewhere to live. Unfortunately you’ll probably already be aware that finding accommodation in the capital can be something of a challenge thanks to high rents and high demand. Don’t let the horror stories put you off – getting a place to stay in London can be a lot of work, but it’s possible if you follow the right steps. Here, Dakota Murphey an independent writer working with Chartered Surveyors Gowers Surveyors, shares the dos and don’ts for finding ideal accommodation in London.
DO set a budget
First things first – London might be expensive, but you need to know your limits and understand how much you can be willing to spend on accommodation. Remember that if you can’t find somewhere that you can afford to live it makes your move to London unsustainable. Once you understand your budget it makes the searching process much simpler as you have specific parameters that you are working towards. Working without a budget will inevitably lead to you overspending and even committing yourself to accommodation that you cannot really afford.
DON’T try to do it alone
If you are finding it difficult to afford the move to London, that doesn’t mean that it’s not possible to do. Many people find London rents prohibitive for affording a property of their own which can lead to them looking for shared accommodation or potential flat mates. Websites like Spare Room and others can help introduce you to new people in a similar situation to you. And if you’re new to London this can be a great way to meet new people.
DO consider moving further away
The natural tendency when taking a job in London is to search for accommodation that’s within easy walking distance. However, rent prices vary drastically in different parts of London and you can actually end up saving a lot of money by simply broadening the area you’re willing to move to. Public transport in London is very good so you can move a distance away from your place of work without having to worry.
DON’T fall for housing scams
Sadly not every flat or house that you can find listed will be genuine. Scam listings are a real problem especially for those who are moving to London for a long way away. This can lead to you putting down a deposit over the internet for a non-existent room or flat, then when you arrive in London you find that the flat isn’t actually available and the ‘landlord’ is nowhere to be found. Remember the old adage that if something seems too good to be true then it probably is.
DO keep records
Make a note and take photos of any damage or wear in the property so that there is no danger that you can be blamed when you come to leave. At the same time you should make a detailed inventory so that you know exactly what was there. This is the best way for you to protect your deposit.
DON’T forget to check the accommodation over
Before you move in you should check over the accommodation to ensure that everything is in good working order. Also sense check things like the electricity and gas, as sometimes incompetence will have led to them being supplier by two different companies.
DO be a good tenant
There are many horror stories about landlords and management companies that make life hell for their tenants, but remember that it works both ways. The vast majority of landlords are honest, reliable and just looking to provide a service. So do your best to be a good tenant. Pay your rent on time and inform neighbours if you’re going to have a party. Don’t give your landlord a reason to think of you as a problem.
DON’T underestimate your rights
You need to know your rights in order to stay safe and avoid being ripped off. For example, if something goes wrong in your flat and you didn’t cause it to happen, it is not your job to fix it – you should inform your landlord and it is then their responsibility.
DO consider short term options
If you can’t find accommodation that is suitable for you when you want to move to London, don’t lose hope. It can be a great idea to use short-term accommodation as an interim solution until you can find a permanent place to live.