As finding an accommodation becomes the first stage of your big quest “Moving and settling in the UK”, today I will blog about things you need to consider when renting an estate in the UK. Unless you are not provided with accommodation from your university/company, the following can be useful for you.
My advice on an area suitable for students and young professionals can be found here. Once you decided on the hood, which most likely to be nearby your school or work, your next step is to look for a room/flat/house there. It is rather tiring to look through tons of flats advertised online without an exact idea of what you want. So the first thing is to make a list of your requirements for the flat.
My list of characteristics of an ideal studio looked like:
- Good transport connection, at least one tube station and one bus stop
- Safe residential area, the building has a well-protected entrance
- Furnished, part-furnished
- A grocery shop nearby
- Bills/utilities included
- Warm, desirably with manually controlled heating
- Fully equipped kitchen
- Internet provided, desirably wi-fi available
- Some sport/fitness club nearby to continue my yoga classes
The list certainly will differ for every individual, but the more precise requirements you have the easier it will be to filter through the market. Use mine as draft version of yours.
Budget is also an important criterion, so bear in mind to indicate it in your online search / give the details to the agency you work with.
As soon as you seem to have found a nice flat, arrange a viewing. Once you are at the spot and like the flat ask the landlord/estate agent the following 13 questions:
- How are you supposed to pay for the flat (per half year, per month, per quartile) if you are not a UK/EU citizen.
- Which documents should you provide when signing the contract? You will be most likely asked for couple of references/bank account details.
- How soon can you move in?
- What is the minimum period of notice in case you decided not to prolong contract?
- How long does your contract last and if you can break it at some point and move out?
- How much do you pay for deposit and how much do you pay to the agency? If landlord can pay the agency’s fee?
- Are bills and utilities included in the rent price?
- If you are a professional ask whether the landlord pays the council tax for you? If not, what will the amount be?
- Where is the nearest council estate area?
- Is there a concierge service in the building? How safe is the building/area?
- If the heating can be controlled manually? (It is important since flats in the UK are always very cold!)
- What does the neighbourhood have to offer? Shops, groceries, transportation, leisure, entertainment – don’t be shy to ask, you want this place to become your home for at least a year.
- Why did the previous tenant move out? – good to know FYI.
Use your right to ask as many questions as you find necessary. It is easy to be cheated if you are a newcomer and not very familiar with laws/conditions. So be sure to clarify everything that bothers you and triple-read the contract before signing it.
Contact us if you have any questions/suggestions related to this topic. We are here to help.