Rental properties in London – A market view

Rental properties in London – A market view

It’s no secret that rental properties in London might get quite expensive. 

As with other major cities in the region, especially the larger cosmopolitan ones, the more central locations are more sought after by tenants looking for flats for rent, making the apartments more costly, and the market of rental properties in London is one of the best example for that, as the prices vary substantially between the different postcode areas and neighborhoods.

Being a fast market, in which good flats are being rented very quickly, the landlords benefit from being able to not negotiate prices much, meaning that rental properties in London are priced quite high, which in turn created a trendy housing niche of flat sharing. Sharing a flat in London allows tenants to not compromise much on their preferred area for living, as well as reduce the monthly living costs, make new friends and expand their network of contacts.

Where to find a property to rent in London? 

Usually, at least for people new to the city, the default choice for starting the search for a flat or a room for rent is hiring the services of a local real estate agency or professional relocation company. However, the agencies make their living from the landlords, by taking a percentage from the rent, in most cases their interest are more aligned with those of the owner rather than with those of the tenant, meaning the rent goes up. Besides assistance with locating rental properties in London suitable for the requirements of the tenants, the agencies may provide additional services (for a fee), such as drawing an inventory list of the property, renewing rental agreements, tenancy reference check and more.  Some “less reliable” agencies might ask for fees which are not reasonable, such as a moving in fee, or fee for sending unnecessary letters to the tenants, so its highly recommended to read the contract and all the fine prints very carefully before singing anything. In any case, the more reliable agencies will publish all their fees on their site, so that’s a good indication.

Another popular option for finding rental properties in London is using online portals, where most of the listings are published by individual private landlords or flatmates which have a spare room or a flat to let out. Here, on the other hand, it might happen that some of the publishers are dishonest, that will ask you to send a deposit to book a property which is no longer available, so it’s important to be very careful in these cases and make sure you receive sufficient personal identification from the other party before sending any moneys.  Some popular real estate portals for flats and rooms in London and across the UK are:

 

What’s the average rent price

The renting prices in London vary substantially between the areas, based on the zone, the street, the proximity to the tube, and the amenities around. While a room for rent in zone 1 costs around £1000 per month, a similar sized room in zone 4 can cost half of that and even less. You need to also consider the council tax, which is also different in each area, and needs to be added on top of the rent. The average monthly rent for a room in the inner parts of London is around £750, while in the outer parts it’s a bit less than £450. The bad news are that over the last years, the average rental price kept on rising, and it seems to keep this trend of soaring. The most significant increase of 2016 was noticed in North London, in the areas of Highgate, Hampstead, Muswell Hill and Finsbury Park, in which prices rose by 6% over a short time span of 1 year.

What’s the cheapest areas for renting a room in London? 

While the most expensive areas of South Kensington and Knightsbridge are seeing rooms rented at over £1000 per month, East Ham, located in the borough of Newham, has the cheapest offers, with rooms rented at an average of £500 per month. If you’re on a bit higher budget, ranging around £700, then South East London, home to some very popular areas such as Lewisham, Southwark and Greenwich, may be suitable for you, as average monthly rent prices there are currently still lower than £700.

Which other costs should be taken into account? 

If your’e just moving to the city, you need to take into account that accommodation costs till you find a more steady housing solution. On top of that, you’ll have the deposit/bond to be paid along with the first month’s rent, which can be up to 6 weeks rent. Transportation is not cheap, so consider purchasing an Oyster card that will help you get around the city. Remember that at least for the first few days, till you get settled down, you can also live outside of London, which has much lower accommodation costs as well as lower daily living expenses, which can help you save some cash for the rest of the road.

As for the utilities, those will include the council tax, TV license, gas, electricity, water, internet, and phone. In some cases, agencies who specialize in shared accommodation already factor most/all of these utilities in the rent price, so make sure to inquire which services exactly are covered in the rent.

Is there a different in the price if renting for short of for long term? 

Short term rental periods of less than 6 months might cost up to 40% more than a long term lease, and in addition – many landlords/agencies will not let the room for a shorter period than 3-4 months. If you are not sure about the length of your rental agreement, try to negotiate for a break clause in the contract, which gives you the right to terminate the contract within 30-60 days without loosing the deposit. However – remember that a break clause works in both ways and might be used by the landlord as well.