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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 and so on.

Finding your home in London

If you are looking to rent a flat or a house in London, search online on well known websites such as zoopla.co.uk, rightmove.co.uk,  gumtree.com.

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You can also contact letting or estate agencies directly by phone, email or in person. Find nearby  agencies using google or a telephone book such as Yell.com.

Approximate monthly Rental rates in London:

Studios = from about £900 + bills
1 bedroom apartment = from about £1100 + bills
2 bedroom apartments = from about £1300 + bills
3 bedroom apartment = from about £1500 + bills
4 bedroom apartment = from about £1700 + bills
5 bedroom apartment =  from about £1900 + bills

Bills are about £300 – £500 per month, although some rentals include some or all bills. For detailed bill charges, see further down.

Documents you need for renting 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 you are not British citizen, you will need a copy of your UK visa or a proof of your status in the UK
  • 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 around £70 to £400 per person, this varies by agency.

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You will also usually need to prove that your monthly income is 2.5 – 3 times of the monthly rent amount. For example if your rent was £500 per calendar month, you would need to earn about £1500 per month (before tax).

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

Guarantors

If you are unemployed or if you are a student or your monthly income is not 2.5 – 3 times more than the monthly rent, then you might need a Guarantor who would cover your rent and other costs if necessary. A guarantor would also need to prove their income before acceptance.

Tenancy agreement in London

Both you and the landlord will sign a tenancy agreement. The contract usually is for 6 months and can be renewed or continued after this period of time. When the contract expires the landlord or agency could raise the rent, also you could 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 who the owner of the property isFor £3 you can check information about the property at Land Registry website.

Read more about rental contracts and deposit in London here.

Moving in

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 them 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 £40, although not every apartment has a water meter,  in that case an estimated bill will be issued.
  • Electricity bill = from approximately £50
  • Gas Bill = from approximately £40 – £220 (It changes by season)
  • If you have a pay as you go gas or electricity meter, top up your gas card or electricity key to the local Post Office or Paypoint (consumer.paypoint.com)/ Payzone (www.payzone.co.uk/consumers) shops. Once the gas / electricity has run out, your card can have a negative balance of up to – £5, just reinsert 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 £18 a month or £157.50 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.

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.