Renting is a in popular way of getting a home in central London. It is ideal especially for short term stays or if your future plans are fluid.
The standard form of tenure is the Assured Shorthold Tenancy, which lasts normally for a minimum six months before it needs to be renewed.
The main factor when choosing a location to rent is travel, with proximity to a tube station being top of most people's priority list. Next comes local amenities such as shops, sporting facilities, gyms, restaurants.
Now consider what accommodation you require. How many bedrooms? Do they need to be single or double? Are any of the bedrooms lacking ensuites? How important is outside space such as a garden or terrace?
If you are looking for a flat, some period buildings are attractive but lack lifts.
When you have identified the place you want, make an offer. If it is accepted, you will be sent a copy of the Tenancy Agreement and any other necessary forms and we advise tenants to read these carefully.
Make sure the agreement is clear about which bills are included in the rent. Energy bills (heating and hot water) may be included but if not the Energy Performance Certificate will give an idea of their likely size. Council Tax is usually payable by the tenant - though somewhat surprisingly the City of Westminster has one of the cheapest tax rates in London.
The landlord will want to take references at this point - you will need your bank account details, plus contact details for your previous landlord and your employers.
You will now get an invoice for the various charges due, including the first month's rent, a deposit (usually equivalent to six week's rent) and the letting agency's fee for drawing up the contract and taking references. There will also be a charge for taking the initial inventory (the landlord will pay for the departure inventory).
You should also be ready to inform the utility companies of the new tenancy.