But the good news is it doesn’t have to be.
London’s rental portal, Rentonomy.com, has listed its top 10 renting tips to ensure you don’t get caught out:
1. Do your research on prices. Newcomers to London are usually surprised by how high rents are so it’s often difficult to know what’s normal and what’s a rip off. Before putting in an offer, ensure you do lots of research so you know approximately what the property is worth.
2. Prepare to compromise. When it comes to price you should always stay in your budget so be prepared to give up on that en suite or roof top terrace. As for size, sometimes getting a bigger place and renting out the extra room can actually work out cheaper on an individual basis.
3. Flat shares can be a great option. Sharing a home with other people can be an extremely cost-effective way of living in London. Not only that, but it can be a great way to start a new life, making new friends who open up new experiences.
4. Don’t be afraid of buses. Living near a tube station isn’t a necessity. People often forget that London’s buses are the un-sung heroes of the transport network. If you familiarise yourself with bus routes and figure out which ones are best to get you into work or college then you’ll be well placed to find affordable and well-connected places to rent.
5. Insist on a Tenancy Agreement (AST). Tenancy Agreements set out the responsibilities of you and your landlord and it’s therefore very important you have one of these. If a landlord doesn’t offer this or is reluctant to do so, you should smell a rat. Other legal documents you should also insist on including an inventory list and gas and electricity safety certificates.
6. Don’t be afraid of living on a council estate. For some, the architecture of social housing estates can be off-putting but whatever the stigma of council estates, they are for the large part entirely equivalent to private stock. In fact, they are often more spacious, cheaper and can be located in some of the best parts of London.
7. Get your deposit registered. Your landlord should protect your deposit with one of four official schemes within 30 days of receiving it. If not, you could be due compensation of one to three times the value of the deposit.
8. Remember you don’t have to use a letting agent. Agents often require tenants to pay hundreds of pounds for a tenancy agreement document and other ‘admin fees’. Thankfully it is possible to find a home directly from the landlord, avoiding these fees completely.
9. Think carefully about number of bathrooms. A very obvious point, but an important one nonetheless. If you are living with more than one person and have similar schedules you should think twice about renting a place with only one
bathroom. Few things disrupt domestic harmony more than a queue for the loo!
10. A bad house can be good for you. Sub-standard living can be a blessing in disguise in a city like London. If your place is a bit small it can force you to get out into the city and have the time of your life. Let’s face it, most young people aren’t drawn to London for the quality of the housing!
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