Your 5-Step Guide to Renting in London

  1. Making an offer & agreeing terms

Firstly book in a selection of viewings in the area you wish to reside in. Once you have found a property you like, your letting agent will put forward your offer to the Landlord. It is important you provide as much information as possible in your proposed terms. Usually if the offer is agreed it will be subject to contract, satisfactory reference checks and cleared funds at the commencement of the tenancy.

Blossoming wisteria tree covering up a facade of a house in Notting Hill, London on a bright sunny day

Your agent will also ask you for an initial payment (also known as a holding deposit) equivalent to two weeks’ rent to reserve the property whilst they undertake the necessary reference checks and tenancy paperwork. As is common practice, acceptance of the reservation fee does not imply a tenancy and is non-refundable should you withdraw your offer at any time for any reason.

  1. Referencing

Your agent will obtain and verify references by an independent reference agency. You will be asked to complete an application form which will normally ask for your personal details, employment details and contact details of your current or previous Landlord. If you are studying in the UK, you will be required to provide confirmation from your educational establishment and details of a UK based guarantor. The guarantor will also need to complete a credit reference application. Should you be unable to provide a UK based guarantor, the Landlord may require the rent to be paid in advance for the total term of the tenancy.  From 1st February 2016 there is an obligation on landlords to ensure that any tenant has the “Right to Reside” in the UK.   If you live within the UK or EU then your passport is confirmation of your Right to Reside, but if you live outside the EU, proof of your valid visa or biometric card with also be requested.

London, United Kingdom - December 12, 2013: A Close Up Shot Of Two United Kingdom Biometric Passports On A Road Map Taken In A Studio

  1. Tenancy Administration

A tenancy agreement to let the property will be prepared which will form the legal obligations between the Landlord and the tenant. You should ensure you take the time to read through the agreement thoroughly. Each party will be asked to sign a copy of the agreement and have their signature witnessed. Once both agreements are signed they will be dated and the contract becomes legally binding.

  1. Initial payment

Calculator House, concept investment

You will be sent a Request for Payment outlining the break-down of costs required to be paid prior to the tenancy start date and collection of keys. The break-down will usually consist of:

  1. First rent payment, i.e. one month if monthly, three months if quarterly, six months if bi-annually.
  2. Deposit – usually equivalent to six weeks’ rent.

Unless otherwise stated, we will hold the deposit as ‘stakeholder’ in a separate client account protected under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme for the duration of the tenancy. At the end of tenancy the deposit will be returned, less any agreed deductions and following written consent from both parties.

5. Inventory and Check-in

On the day of the move-in, you will be asked to meet an inventory clerk at the property where they will assess its conditions and contents. The clerk will normally hand over the keys unless you have otherwise collected a set.  Once moved in, you will receive a copy of the inventory report and a welcome pack.

Word writing text Home Inspection. Business concept for Examination of the condition of a home related property.

As a tenant under the terms of the tenancy agreement you will be responsible for the following:

  1. Gas
  2. Electricity
  3. Water
  4. Telephone services
  5. Council tax – students should note that they would still need to register for Council tax, although in most cases students are exempt from this charge.
  6. Utilities – we recommend our tenants use Homeshift who will set up and manage the energy, internet, council tax and water bills via the Homeppl User Dashboard.  Working alongside Homeshift, you will be able to manage all of your utilities in one place, keeping track of costs & saving you money.


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