Renting in London: A Guide

published on 22/03/2022  

Tenant demand in London has grown dramatically since 2021, with more people than ever seeking the benefits of capital city life.

Now is the time to move to London and secure front-row access to its ever adapting array of social events, quintessential high-streets and array of life-changing jobs that draw people from across the globe.

With over 50 years experience in the market, Kings Lettings want to explain how.

Where to Rent in London


London is a huge city, covering an area of 1,572 km². This may seem daunting, but it provides plenty of diverse environments for you to choose from.

Choosing where to rent relies on several factors: including accommodation type, available transport links, whether you prefer an urban or countryside feel, and your budget.

More affordable places to rent such as urban Camden and Brixton tend towards culture-defining beer and musical heritage with plenty of social engagement. Open green spaces and national parks can be found in areas like Wimbledon and Greenwich that also have solid transport links to Central London.

In West London, try looking at Fulham for a suburban feel, or Putney for a bustling high street and access to the river Thames. Kensington and Marylebone have a built up quality that boasts London’s staple building columns.

Once you have decided on the environment you’d feel most comfortable in, you’ll be able to narrow down your ideal location to key areas.

Area Research


Before settling on one area, you should conduct thorough research. You may wish to look into local schools, restaurants, cultural dynamic, crime rates, and likelihood of flooding.

These will all build a better picture of whether or not a London borough is suited to your lifestyle.

Know Your Requirements


The London property market is highly competitive, so knowing what you want, and being prepared to negotiate terms with landlords will give you a higher chance of finding what you’re looking for.

Do you want a studio, one bed, or two bed property? Are you looking for an apartment or house? Do you require a pet-friendly rental home or student/shared accommodation? These are all important considerations when narrowing down your property search.

Remember: don’t set your heart on one property, be prepared for a fast-paced market where rental homes are snatched up quickly, and find a trustworthy lettings agent.

Rent Prices


It shouldn’t come as a shock that rent in Central London is far more expensive than its equivalent in the outskirts. In fact, as of January 2022, the average monthly rent in London was listed as £1760 compared to the national average of £1060.

Rent in London will vary greatly depending on the area. For example, it is reasonably easy to find a 1 bed flat in Wimbledon costing £1300, whereas the same-sized 1 bed flat in Mayfair can cost £7000.

If you are on a low income and are looking for more affordable options, consider these top tips:

  1. Consider flat shares as this will reduce your living costs drastically. This could be with already established friends, or a new group of people.
  2. Visit properties before you rule them out of your search. A property may look small or cheap on a website, but this doesn’t mean it will be in person.

Cost of Living in London


The cost of living in London is considerably higher than other areas elsewhere in the UK. This is not solely limited to rent, but also includes the cost of food, council tax and utility bills that should all be considered when property hunting.

Council tax


Make sure to carry out research on council tax before you move in and cover all bases so there won’t be a shock. Calculating council tax could be the difference between affording a property, and not.

You can check your council tax band using this helpful tool from Gov UK.

Utility Costs


Always calculate utility costs such as water, gas, and electricity before moving into a property. How much you spend monthly will depend on the supplier you are with, and whether you are on a fixed rate or pay-as-you-go contract.

Holding Fees


A holding fee is a fee charged by a lettings agent to secure a property before contracts have been signed, and can be a maximum of up to one week’s rent. Formal references and checks will be completed during the interim.

Unlike a tenancy deposit, a holding deposit is not legally required to be held under a deposit protection scheme. This is why it is important to protect yourself from scams, and never pay this fee if you feel pressured to do so.

Transport in London


London is a bustling city, and as such, has an abundance of transport links to help its citizens go about their day to day lives.

  • London Tube: With access to both the underground, and overground train services, you can get almost anywhere in London. The Tube’s easy tap as you go system makes it efficient and time-saving. Check how much your rail fare will cost in London on Transport For London’s Tube and rail fares guide.
  • Bus: By far one of the most iconic images of London is its bright red buses that were redesigned by Heatherwick Studio in 2011. Find out if your property has access to a London bus route using Transport for London’s journey planner
  • Black Taxi: London’s taxi drivers are known for having map-like knowledge of London streets without the need for sat-navs. Although more expensive than the Tube or a bus, taxis sit on almost every street corner in London so are easy to access, and great in emergencies. Use Transport for London’s taxis and minicab page for information on fares, accessibility, and safe travel. 
  • Cycling: Cycle routes are prominent in London, and a cost-free method of travelling around Central London. There are bike racks all over the city for convenience. 
  • Driving: London is a low emission zone, so if you plan to drive around Central London, you should be aware of the congestion charge. The charge is £15 daily, but you can find more information on vehicle regulations at Transport for London’s congestion charge page.

Arranging viewings


When arranging viewings in London boroughs, make sure to do so safely. Take someone with you if you can, and always alert a friend or relative of your location.

If you are viewing a flatshare, or student accommodation, it is worthwhile to meet all flatmates within the property to make sure you are aware of all the people you will be living with. This should give you a much better idea of whether you will fit smoothly into their living environment, and build trustworthy relationships with your future flatmates.

Watch Out for Scams


Unfortunately, as with any property hunt, you may run into scams such as the middleman scam, subletting scams, and fake property scams.

Here are a few things to watch out for:

  • Free listings on websites such as Gumtree.
  • Properties that have multiple ads/appear on multiple lettings websites. Properties will only ever be on the market using one lettings agency.
  • Lettings agencies with minimal online presence.
  • Unusually low property prices.
  • Pushy landlords, and landlords who ask for money immediately. Legitimate lettings agencies will never ask you to pay a viewing deposit, or push for money before a contract is signed.

Find a Trustworthy Lettings Agent


Build a relationship with a trustworthy lettings agent, as they can give you recommendations on property listings, and will be clued up on the local area so can advise you on crime rates, local transport links, and similar rental properties in the area.

Should you wish to book a viewing with Kings Lettings, or gain further information regarding any one of our properties to let, please feel free to get in touch.

Visit our Tenant Guide to view FAQs about the services we provide for tenants.

KINGS LETTINGS, 103 HIGH STREET, MAIDENHEAD, BERKSHIRE, SL6 1JX
Lettings and property management offices in London, Reading, Maidenhead, Staines & Windsor.
T: +44 (0)16 2863 2188 | E: MAIDENHEAD@KINGS-LETTINGS.CO.UK Tags: Letting Agents, Lettings, Renting A Home, Renting A House, London,