Renting a Flat in London as a Foreigner l Everything You Need to Know

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Renting a flat as an expat? Well we are going to give you everything you need to

know in this video and we're getting started right now.

Hi everyone, Ugo Arinzeh here with Onyx Property Consultants and Keller Williams I'm a

London-based property agent I help my clients buy, sell, rent, and manage

property throughout London. I particularly love working with expats

and foreign clients, since I'm an expat myself, having moved over about eight

years ago. In this video we're going to cover all the key things you need to

know when you're renting a flat in London, so make sure you stay to the end,

because we're going to give you some particular tips that you need to watch

out for. So the first thing to start when you're considering renting a flat or

moving over to London is your budget. Now the average price for a two-bedroom flat

in London is about £1,750 and in today's exchange

rate that's over $2,000 per month and it's been as high as

maybe $2500 or $2800 dollars a month so it's very significant. Many people

have lots of visions of where to live in London but the reality is, the closer you

get to prime central London, where most of the jobs and the shops are, you're

going to be spending even more, but as you get into London you're actually

going to realize you probably want to be a little bit further out in areas like

zone 2 or 3 but the most important thing is to make sure you consider your

commuting and your transport make sure to watch my recent video on the

transport options of London because you're going to want to figure that out

and factor that in to where you're living. As well other key criteria you

want to think about beyond budget is amenities - what type of a property do you

want? I recently put out a video talking about the different property types of

London and they could include having a flat with your own garden, you could want

a house, you could want a terraced property, you could want an older property if you want

something that's more charming. All of those things are

going to factor in but my big tip is to make sure you try to have a clear sense

of what you're looking for but do be realistic because in London I always say

when I'm working with my buyers or renters there's definitely going to be

trade-offs. I try to narrow down the list to about three or four key criteria that

you're going to have to have, so for example, I was recently working with a

client who's got pets - that's going to be really restrictive in terms of our

options in London, so if you've got that as part of your

must-have criteria you're definitely going to have to be more flexible on

different elements of the property search. So once you've considered your

budget and your area and the criteria that's going to drive you, now you can

start searching. Most people start their searches online and they'll use key

portals such as Rightmove and Zoopla you'll have to put in your criteria and

your budget and other restrictions you might have, and see what comes up. Once

you see properties that might suit your criteria you're going to contact the

local agent and arrange for viewings, my tip as an agent myself, is to make sure

that when you're dealing with that agent, that they have a clear sense of your criteria

because a lot of agents will actually book in your viewing for the property

calls about but then also show you other properties, and on one hand that's good but

a lot of times that can be very time wasteful for you because they're not

really listening to what you need and their job is to get rid of the stock

that they have so they're not really working on your behalf. It's really

important to be clear when you book your viewing what properties you're

actually going to be seeing and allocate enough time make sure that they're

not taking you to stuff just to check-in that they've done a viewing.

Once you've done a viewing and maybe you found the right property, the thing that

is unique to London is you can make an offer. In the States we're not really

used to making offers we'll pretty much accept that the asking price is the

asking price and you go with it, but here in London you are able to make

an offer and put in any key criteria that you're going to

have to have. A lot of properties have furnishings, so you want to make sure to say

if there's particular pieces that you want or don't want, you want to ask for

that upfront. I encourage, and when we work for our

renters, to put an offer in writing clearly stating what our issues are, if

there's any maintenance or repair issues you've identified you want to make sure

that you put that in writing as well and if you can get the landlord to get it

into the lease you want to make sure that you do that once your offer has

been accepted. Most agents will ask for a holding deposit, there's been a load of

changes since the 1st of June that you want to make sure that you're aware of

and again I'll have a link in the chat box below about the recent changes and

how they'll impact you as a tenant and one of the big changes is, while you have to

put a holding deposit, it is capped at one week's rent so agents can no longer

take two and three weeks rent which they had been able to do in the past. The key

role of the holding deposit is to secure that property for you, subject to tenant

referencing, so you now know if you passed tenants referencing that that

property is likely yours, it's not guaranteed until you've signed a tenancy

agreement and you've paid all your money, but it means that it's going to give you

the time to get through tenant referencing, so once you start tenant

referencing, you definitely want to make sure you respond as quickly as possible.

Having said that, be prepared to probably not pass tenant referencing as an expat

or foreigner moving to London. Why? Because one of the key criteria

they're going to want to see is that you have a UK bank account. Now, you'd love to

go get a UK bank account but one of the restrictions or one of the things you're

going to need to get a UK bank account is a permanent address, so it's a bit

circular as you can see that you need an address, don't have an address, need a

bank account to get it address, don't have...anyway it's all messed up so the

point is if you're not able to pass because you don't

have a UK bank account. Be prepared that most landlords or lettings agents will

require you to pay a certain number of months up front, that's typically

anywhere from six months to maybe you can get away with three but be prepared

that you're going to likely have to pay up to six months rent in advance, subject

to you getting a bank account. Again, when I've let out properties we've had that

restriction and the tenant has said "look if I get my bank account in months two

and three of living here when the next six months is due can we return to a

month by month payment?" and most landlords will be okay with that, if that

was the one issue that was an issue at the time of tenant referencing. So once

you've passed tenant referencing and now you're signing your lease, you need to

make sure that you've reviewed that lease because it's between you and the

landlord. The other key feature that we find in London in the UK that I wasn't

used to seeing in America is what's called a "Break Clause" that gives

typically, again, it's a negotiated concept, but if you ask for a Break

Clause it's going to be likely that the landlord also has a break clause. So

say you have a 12 month lease that has a six month Break Clause with a two

month notice it means that starting from month 4, either party, if that's what's

been agreed, can give a two month notice, say that at the end of the two months

they are terminating the lease and the landlord can take the possession back

with no other costs, no legal requirements, or anything like that.

So again if that's something you want to consider, let's say you've been

repositioned in London on a 12 month assignment that has the possibility of

you moving somewhere else halfway through that assignment, you might want

that Break Clause but if you're given that break cause it means the landlord

can have one as well. The only reason why that might be an issue is say you

haven't been a performing tenant the landlord can then look to just merely

give you notice and you have to be out, so once again, once you finish that

tenant referencing, signed the contract, and paid your money, you're going

to be prepared to have an inventory check-in. I've had a rare situation

recently where we didn't have an inventory, I don't know why a landlord

wouldn't do that because they're leaving themselves exposed, but be prepared that

there's going to be an inventory check-in report and check out report. This is

a documented report, it should be done by a third party which is going

to list out all the conditions of the property as it was presented to you

they're going to look at the walls, they're going to look at cracks, they're

going to look at any stains, are going to look at, if it's a furnished property, the

condition of the furnishings, such that that will be compared at the end of your

tenancy to the condition you've returned it in and if there are any damages that

go beyond normal wear and tear, the landlord can seek compensation. That

reminds me you're typically going to have to pay a security deposit which is

now capped at five weeks rent for tenancy values under £50,000 per annum

and capped at six weeks rent for tenancy values over £50,000 per annum so you want

to make sure you're clear on how much security deposit you're going to have to

put in place. With that security deposit that should be held in a government

sponsored or government approved tenant deposit scheme so the landlord shouldn't

be holding it personally in their personal account, that is not allowed, it

should be held off-site or in a third party and which has a process to review

any claims, if at the end of the tenancy the landlord is now seeking renumurations

for damages that they've claimed you as the tenant has made and there's a

formal process to do that. So now that you've finished the inventory check in

and you've moved into the flat and you've got all the keys and you're happy

and ready to go, remember you're going to have to put utilities in your name and

again one thing you need to really be prepared for & this is my BONUS TIP - is

to be prepared for additional costs of renting a property,

which includes not just utilities but also you're going to have to pay TV license

as well as council tax, again that's a concept that most foreigners might not

be used to, but council tax is really for the services associated with living in

that community such as trash collection and those types of things, so again that's

an expense that a landlord can pass onto tenants so you need to be

prepared to factor that into your budget. So with that, I've given you

all the key steps and things you need to consider when you're renting a property

in London to make sure it goes as smoothly as possible for you. Tell me if

you've like this video, if this is your first time on my channel please make

sure to subscribe and hit the notification bell because I put out

weekly videos talking about living in London and all the things that make this

city so incredible.

So that's Ugo Arinzeh with Onyx Property Consultants

and Keller Williams. Bye for now