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5 tips to keep in mind before you rent a house in London

Whether you’re moving to London for the first time or you’re just moving from one city to another because of work, you’re going to need to rent a new place which you can call home. Estate agents make renting sound pretty easy – you find the place, you fix the price with the landlord, you sign the deal and you move in. Unfortunately, it isn’t all that easy. Finding the right place to rent, accounting for all the additional expenses and keeping aside a fixed amount of money every month to pay the rent! To make the renting process a little easier, here are 5 tips that you need to know before you decide to rent a house in London.

1 First, do your research online, then go through estate agents

If you’re living in Bristol and you need to shift to Battersea, you can’t hire Battersea letting agents to show you potential properties without being in the vicinity. Instead, you should do your research online. There are various websites online which will show you all the properties that meet your requirements which are available for rent in a certain area. You can get a fair idea of the locality and the surrounding neighbourhood, plus you get a glimpse of what to expect from the pictures online. Only after you have shortlisted a few properties, you should head to that area and hire an estate agent who can help visit these properties and then seal the deal.

2 Make sure you have everything in writing

Of course, you will have your rental agreement contract in writing, but that isn’t all. Is your landlord asking you to pay one weeks rent as an advance? Make sure you take it from your landlord in writing that he or she has received the payment. Will the landlord be paying for the initial cleaning on the house? Make sure to get that in writing so that your landlord does not cut that from your security deposit. Basically, any conversation that you have with your landlord or your estate agent regarding any important decisions should be stated in writing so that no one can go back on their word.

3 Do a self-inventory

Usually, the landlord will have a list of inventory which he or she will double-check before renting the house to you. Regardless, you should re-check that list by ensuring that everything on that list is actually in the house. If the landlord does not have an inventory, you can make an inventory yourself and get that signed from your landlord. That way, you will not be responsible if something that the landlord claimed was in the house suddenly goes missing. The only things you will be responsible for is what will be on the inventory list. If the rental property has a slightly stained couch or a table with one broken leg, then make sure to document these findings in writing or take photographs so that the landlord cannot blame you for any damage.

4 Where is your deposit going?

As per the UK regulations, it is compulsory that your rental deposit is put into any 3 of the government-approved tenancy deposit protection schemes. Is your landlord going to be placing the deposit in one of these protection schemes? The reason for putting the deposit in these government-approved protection schemes is that if your landlord wrongfully cuts your deposit or does not return the full amount without valid reason, you can always file a complaint by raising a deposit dispute issue, for free. Better safe than sorry.

5 Who is going to supply the basics?

Basic amenities like a dishwasher, a microwave, a kettle, a refrigerator, a toaster and in some cases even a washing machine are usually given with the house. Just because you see these items lying around the house doesn’t mean that you can assume they come with the house. Ask your landlord if these basic amenities are included in the rent. Also, test every appliance before you finalize the rental price or sign the agreement. If anything is damaged or not working properly, you can always ask the landlord to replace it or you can offer to buy it yourself if the rental price is reduced.

Claire James

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