Rent, landlords, finding somewhere to live
From Reddit London wiki
 Whereabouts in London should I live?!
Have a look at Areas of London to see if you find something you like.
There are some sites that may help you determine where in London you want to live.
The Rentonomy Map, although based on the average rent of a 2 bedroom flat, will give you an idea if an area is expensive or not.
And Mapumental can help you figure out where you could live based on how long you want to commute.
 Finding a place
- r/London Homes Wouldn't you rather rent from a redditor?
- Gumtree - UK's 'craigslist'. Much like craigslist, be wary of scams.
- OpenRent.co.uk - No agent fees, no dead listings, tenants & landlords protected. A secure, full featured, craigslist / gumtree.
- Globrix.com Has an absolutely beautiful search function - super customisable.
- Nestoria Like Globrix, but also useful for people looking to rent as well as buy property.
- Cravify Map based flat search.
- Apartli Focused on flatshares and only in Greater London - just launched in 2012.
To describe it simply, living in a flatshare means you rent a bedroom and share the rest of the house (kitchen, bathroom, living room) with other flatsharers.
- Generally cheaper than renting your own flat, your rent is also likely to include some of the charges (bills, council tax etc...) although this is not always true so make sure to ask early on.
- Good to meet new people but it can quickly turn into a nightmare if your flatmates are sloppy, weird, redditors...
- You won't have to deal with paperwork, bills, setting up internet and all that jazz. The flat will be "ready for use" the day you move in.
- Side note on internet in flatshare: Be weary, if you're a seasoned redditor then chances are you're going to know your stuff about what internet connection you desire. If you go into a shared house then you're at the mercy of the agency that provides the room or the owner of the property as to what connection you get so make sure you check the speed of the connection available before moving in and starting that 8GB download marathon!
 Renting a Flat
 Real Estate Agents
Some agents (e.g. Foxtons) are unnecessarily expensive and should be avoided if possible. Also, remember that "expensive" could play itself out in hidden charges that crop up later (changing a flat mate, no problem that'll be 100 pounds, professional cleaning when leaving: 250 pounds. "Did no one tell you?")
|A Redditor's Tale: Personal bad experience with Foxtons by vishnoo|
| Some of this was exacerbated by the fact that my dealings were not direct, but through my employer, so some things I couldn't even contest. On the other hand, I probably would have gotten screwed more on my own without the employer's legal and administrative backing.
You may want to check out http://www.allagents.co.uk/ for agent listing and ratings (but remember that dissatisfied customers have more incentive to post).
Typical Sales tricks:
"We have 3 other guys coming to see it this evening." - There are always 3 other guys coming to see anything any evening, ignore this statement entirely, it is a pressuring technique.
"Well, this is a bit above your budget, but if you are serious about it, we can try to make a lower offer." - BS, this is a way to get you to spend more money. When you put it like this , the lower offer will always fail, the retort should be: "THIS IS MY BUDGET, if the landlord is willing to meet it, I will be serious."
 Things to look for before moving in
Do they close properly? This isn't the biggest deal in June but you'll loathe a drafty apartment in January.
Are you very near a pub/above a bar?
Smokers outside for a drunken conversation, fight. Beer delivery men rolling empty/full kegs on concrete makes a massive racket at 5am when the streets are clear enough to load/unload kegs.
It really is not very good for your health.
Is there any? Peace of mind is worth it. Also, get flat insurance.
Check out crime reports in the area. How close are you to transport? Can you use it late at night? Walk around your potential new neighborhood at night to test the terror factor.
I had a beautiful flat in Southbank near Waterloo that had repeated mouse infestations. Not fun. I also viewed a flat just above a restaurant, the rental agent wasn't able to hide the huge can of rat poison before I arrived at the flat. No, I didn't take it.
Try and get an idea who they are. if you live below someone that gets frequent visits from random people out of their skull between 11pm and 4am it will get old quickly. Look at the state of the common areas (halls, stairways etc), since it can give you some clues to the general tone.
Who owns the place?
Does the owner live in Turkey? Does he ever return to London? Who do you talk to day to day? If there is a burst pipe in the middle of the night, who do you call? Who pays? Do you need permission to get it fixed? These issues won't usually be important, until they are the most important.
Make sure the tenancy deposit is insured. Make sure you take dozens of photos of your new flat before you move in your belongings and send all of your photos to your landlord. This way he will know not to invent charges you aren't responsible for, and you will be better able to claim damage as normal wear and tear.
Lastly, really read your lease agreement. If it says no posters on the walls and you overdo it with bluetac and Lord of the Rings posters, you will be charged for repainting.
 The process of moving in somewhere
Once you've actually found a place to live, actually getting inside the door can be an art in itself. Read on for tips.
 How much does it all cost?
Figures vary. Estate agents will normally charge you some sort of "admin fee" or "signing fee". This is usually a couple of hundred pounds although again, it varies. This can be required simply to register your interest in a place and doesn't always guarantee you'll get it.
After that you'll pay a deposit - typically between 1-2 month's rent (5/6 weeks is generally standard). Finally, you'll pay the first month's rent in advance too. Yep, living in London is expensive.
Make sure you get in writing the entire costs - signing fee,checking in, checking out, 2 X inventory, paper signing,professional cleaning, referencing. (these tend to get tacked on later, one by one)
 How long will it take?
Once again, it varies, but most places will want to run background checks on you before giving you a place - former landlord references, letters from your workplace to prove you can afford it, etc. Not everywhere does this, but allow at least a week or two minimum for this process. Bear in mind bank transfers take time too (3 days if you don't splurge an extra 10-20 pounds for expediting it) and you won't be allowed inside till you've paid up everything you need to pay.
 What else should I look out for when i move in
Cleanliness Some rental agreements specify that you have to carry out professional cleaning when leaving, although sometimes, they 'only' require that you leave it in the condition it was in when you arrived. If it is not in a clean state when you move in, document it so you don't have to pay for cleaning when you leave.
Inventory/inspections Do not just accept an inventory, go over every item. They will do the same to you when you leave. Take a digital camera and photograph any damage so you can show it was not you that caused it later. If they send you a summary of the inventory that misses damage then reply mentioning it so it is noted. (This reddior lived in a place where the inventory clerk missed a previosuly broken window and only avoided paying for it later due to a photo and paper trail!).
 What extra stuff will I need?
 Council Tax
Don't forget that Council Tax is your responsibility.
Protip: Sort out Council Tax early on, tempting as it may be to leave it for a bit. It's a fixed amount each year, payable by the end of the tax year (April 1st) so if you don't start paying it till a few months after you move in, your payments will increase to make up for the ones you missed, which is never fun. Sort it out!
Do it on the day you move in, just phone them up. They'll ask you a few questions but once you're done it's done.
Protip #2: If you're getting a flat by yourself tell them when you phone up as you will get a 25% discount!
Get this sorted early on too, when you move in check your electricity meter and take readings. Then just phone the utility company you desire (perhaps do a bit of research to see about the best deals you can get) and tell them your readings.
Do the same for water, some properties have water meters and some are 'unlimited' in usage. Check how the water is regulated in your property and phone up the water company (usually Thames Water for most of London, or Veolia Water) to set up payment etc. Many estate agents will contact the water company about your tenancy so there's no point in hiding.
 TV License
The BBC shows Formula One (although they only get half of the coverage now :( but even if you do want Sky, you'll have to get a tv license), Top Gear, Richard Attenborough Documentaries, Championship Football, Doctor Who, Horizon - please support them in doing this. The last time I checked the direct debit for this works out at about £13 a month. 43p a day for excellent BBC coverage? Get it done.
Get your post redirected. Doesn't cost much: http://www2.royalmail.com/delivery/inbound-mail/redirections
 Moving Your Stuff
Reddit thread with advice on various moving companies: http://www.reddit.com/r/london/comments/udosd/moving_companies_in_london_those_who_package_up/
 Final Word
Still confused? I blogged about the process of househunting and signing up last year.