Where to find and what documents you need for renting a flat or a house in London.
See how much you would need to pay in rent, deposit, agency fees, utility bills, council tax, internet, TV, etc.
Finding your home in London
If you are looking to rent a flat or a house in London you can look at sites such as zoopla.co.uk, rightmove.co.uk, gumtree.com.
You can also contact letting agency directly or an estate agent by phone, email or in person. You can find nearby letting agencies using google or a telephone book such as Yell.com
Approximate monthly Rental rates in London:
Studios = from about £800 + bills
1 bedroom apartment = from about £950 + bills
2 bedroom apartments = from about £1100 + bills
3 bedroom apartment = from about £1300 + bills
4 bedroom apartment = from about £1500 + bills
5 bedroom apartment = from about £1700 + bills
Bills are about £250 – £400 per month, although you can find rentals where the rent includes some or all bills. For detailed bill charges, see further down.
Documents you need to be able to rent in London
You will need:
- Proof of Identity (Photo ID such as a valid passport or a driving licence)
- Proof of income or savings e.g.: Bank statements and payslips from within the last 3 months
- If your stay in the UK is subject to visa, copy of your UK visa.
- A current employment contract and a document from your current employer that includes your salary, job title and your contract length (might be needed)
- A recent tax return, or accountant’s statement if you are self employed
- A reference from a previous landlord that confirms you are a suitable tenant (not always required)
How much money you need for the start
Deposit amount usually equals one month or 5-6 weeks rental + 1 month rent + administration fee approx. between £70 to £400 per person, this varies by agency. You will also usually need to prove that your monthly income is 2.5 – 3 times of the monthly rent amount.
How to calculate monthly rent from weekly amount: Multiply (x) the weekly rent by 52 (number of weeks in a year) and then divide this by 12 (number of months in a year). For example if your weekly rent is £200 then £200 x 52 = £10400 divided by 12 = £866.67
If you are unemployed or if you are a student then you will might need a Guarantor. You might also need a Guarantor if your monthly income is not 2.5 – 3 times more than the monthly rent. For example if your rent was £500 per calendar month, you would need to earn about £1500 per month (before tax).
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The tenancy agreement in London
Both you and the landlord will sign a tenancy agreement. The contract usually lasts 6 months and can be renewed or continued after this period of time. When the contract expires the landlord or agency can raise the rent, also you can be charged an administrative fee for each contract renewal. It is advisable to sign a longer term contract, so the rent rise and fees can be avoided.
If you want to rent directly from a landlord rather than an agency, make sure you know who the owner of the property is. For £3 you can check information about the property at Land Registry website.
Read more about rental contracts and deposit in London here.
When you move, don’t forget to change your address with your bank/credit card service, DVLA for your driving licence and car documents, telephone service providers, Doctors -GPs, tax offices (if self employed) etc.
Find out from the landlord/letting agency which utility company currently provides the gas, electric, water at the property. Contact the utility companies to set up an account (you can also do this before you move in). Take an immediate reading of the gas, electric and water (if there is one) meters. Water meters are usually outside the front of the property.
Monthly bills in London
Example for a 2 bedroom apartment, provided that there is gas cooker and central heating, the average monthly prices are:
- Water bill = from approximately £25, although not every apartment has a water meter, in that case an estimated bill will be issued.
- Electricity bill = from approximately £40.
- Gas Bill = from approximately £25 – £220 (It changes by season)
- If you have a pay as you go gas or electricity meter, you can take the gas card or electricity key to the local Post Office or Paypoint (consumer.paypoint.com)/ Payzone (www.payzone.co.uk/consumers) shop to top up. Once the gas / electricity has run out, your card can have a negative balance of up to – £5, just place the gas card / electricity key into the meter (for gas meter press and hold button A for 3 – 4 times to restart).
- Council Tax = approximately £150, this varies by council district. Every taxable year you will receive an annual invoice e.g. from April to April. It will be distributed every 10 months so if the last payment is in January you won’t have to pay in February or March. A single occupant resident can receive a 30% Council tax discount and students do not have to pay Council Tax.
- TV Licence = about £13 a month or £154.50 per year. It can be paid annually, monthly or every 3 months. You can pay using PayPal/ Pay zone or you can pay online on their website www.tvlicensing.co.uk.
- Broadband/ Cable/Satellite TV starts at approximately £30. Major broadband providers are: Virginmedia, Sky, BT, Talk-Talk.
For more service providers you can use popular price comparison websites:
Confused.com, Moneysupermarket, comparethemarket, GoCompare, uSwitch, broadbandchoices.
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Well-known Utility providers in London
- British Gas (www.britishgas.co.uk)
- Npower (www.npower.com)
- EON (www.eonenergy.com)
- EDF Energy (www.edfenergy.com)
- Bulb (www.bulb.co.uk)
- Thames Water (www.thameswater.co.uk)
- If you suspect a gas leak call National Gas Emergency Service at 0800 111 999. It is a 24 hour service.