Tips for renting in London

I’m no expert in the rental market, but since coming to the capital from Birmingham I’ve moved three times, lived in the North and the South and have gone from shared living with randoms to with friends. I’ve definitely learnt a few things about renting in London along the way. As I survived the latest move and I’m starting to feel settled in my new home, I thought I’d share my tips for anyone who’s planning to move to or around the city. I also thought that if you’re reading and have got a few tips to add then I might learn something too! There’s always a next time around when you’re renting!!

So here are my:

Tips for renting in London

The budget – you’re quite lucky if you don’t blow it here. Set something you can afford (you want to have a life outside your home in London!) and have a contingency amount. Every time I’ve moved I’ve ended up spending about £50 pm more than I planned to.

The location – choose somewhere that’s close to some of your friends, or if you’re new to the city somewhere social and not out in suburbia. Having a quick commute to work is good but in my opinion you have a better work/life balance if your friends and social life are closer.

The compromise – unless you have a sizeable salary you need to decide what your compromise is. Do you want a nice flat, close to the tube, safe area or stick to a tight budget? You’ll definitely get a few of these but I’ve not yet heard of an area that ticks all the boxes!

The search – this is the stressful part. Treat it like a mission and don’t give up until somewhere is found.  I tend to start looking between six weeks and a month before I need to move which is a bit scary but that seems to be the London market.  Places become available and get snapped up in a flash!

For house shares I liked Spare Room more than Gumtree. It’s obvious but if the landlord shows you round, always meet the housemates. It’s daunting living with complete strangers but I lived with four other people when I moved to London, made some great friends and met a lot of people.

For a full flat/house Zoopla was by far the best website. We signed up to estate agencies in the area and generally the independent ones were better and cheaper. Tip from my sister – always pester agencies for new places, they get them every day and it’s likely they ring the people they remember first.

The move – I’ve had help from friends and family before but this year I had built up enough stuff to fill most the flat and thought a man and a van would be fairer on my friends. It cost £65 with London Capital Carriers to take me and my belongings north to south, which I thought was OK. Book an early slot though, they were 1 hr 30 mins late for a 2pm request due to delays on other jobs.

Are you moving to London? Or have moved around and have some tips or experiences to share? (Funny stories very welcome! I’m sure we’d all like a laugh this Friday! 🙂 )