Renting a Property in London

Easy and helpful manual of how to rent a flat or a house in London


Renting a property in London is exiting. Having your place in London is a special thing. Because the property market is extremely busy, it also can be difficult to find a perfect option in your search. The major part of the property market is quite safe and reliable. Most of Estate Agents, and Landlords follow the regulation, and do all steps very professional. Relocation.London helps its client from start to finish. And this article is about how to rent a property in London. And how we help you in a complex journey.


Before renting a property in London, you have to be familiar with terminology.

  • Flat, apartment, plot, unit — all mean the same;
  • Estate Agency — a company who is responsible for all renting related processes;
  • Estate Agent — is a worker of estate agency;
  • Relocation Agent — a person or a company who stand between tenant and Estate Agency or Landlord;
  • Landlord, freeholder, vendor, owner — a person or a company who own the property;
  • Tenant, or applicant — a person or a company who is going to live in the property;
  • References — a legal process, normally performed by third-party companies, to check if the potential tenant had a bad history, like unpaid rent eg;
  • Tenancy Agreement — a contract between a tenant and a landlord;
  • Listing — an advert in internet;
  • Holding Deposit — normally one week payment to hold the property, and remove listing from the market;
  • Deposit — normally 5 or 6 weeks payment, and it is being used in case if a tenant will damage something in the property. Will be returned otherwise after check out, normally during a month;
  • Check in — a procedure of the tenant is getting keys from the property, and inventory report;
  • Check out — a procedure of the tenant is giving up its possession of the property and signing the inventory;
  • Inventory — is a multipage document includes: meter readings, photos of the property, and description of the condition of all items in the property, included decoration, doors, windows, flooring and ceiling;
  • Zoopla & Rightmove — two giant websites aggregators for renting and selling property;
  • Openrent — website where you will be connected directly to landlords.

Right to Rent

This is a legal requirement for:

  • Landlords;
  • Agents representing landlords;
  • Tenants who subletting a property, even without landlord’s permission.

To check if an applicant does have a right to rent upon renting a property in London. This is to prove the validity of the applicant right to actually live in the UK. If you are not sure the applicant need to be checked for “Right to Rent” you can use this simple tool, clicking the button below.

If the check must be done, then you can use the Government website to do so.

What to do if you don’t have a right to rent? In this case you can stay in the UK as a tourist only. You can still rent a temporary accommodation, which can’t be used as your main home on or

Our Help

If you have a right to rent, then we are happy to help you with renting a property in London. We offer our service from start to finish, and also are happy to help with specific, chosen by you aspects. The list of the aspects is below.

  • Initial consultation;
  • Choosing a right location;
  • School search;
  • Flat or house search;
  • Calls and emails to estate agencies;
  • Representing you to estate agencies and landlords;
  • Arranging a video of the property;
  • Arranging viewings;
  • Viewings on behalf of you;
  • Property inspection;
  • Surrounding area inspection;
  • Holding deposit arrangement;
  • Tenancy agreement (contract) check;
  • Register owner check;
  • Explaining to you the tenancy agreements;
  • Negotiating prices and tenancy agreements;
  • Signing tenancy agreements;
  • References checks;
  • Payment processing;
  • Inventory check;
  • Check in arrangement;
  • Cleaning arrangement;
  • Furniture buying, delivering and assembling;
  • Broadband (internet) connection arrangement;
  • Thames water account opening;
  • Electricity account opening;
  • Gas (if applicable) account opening;
  • Council tax bill setting up;
  • TV licence arrangement;
  • Phone installation;
  • GP (doctor) registration;
  • Police registration;
  • Concierge registration;
  • Buying a car;
  • Private car arranging;
  • Car park access arranging;
  • Gym, swimming pool & SPA arranging;
  • Property managing online board installation.

Need our help?


This is a key aspect. Be extra careful, as it is so often in London that next to your flat a construction work, or a rail track, and that kind of stuff can be extremely noisy even in the nighttime. The noise in London is a huge problem, even if the property has a triple glassing.

Be careful with main roads as they are also noisy. If your property next to a pub, be ready to hear the noise nearly every day.

Shops, underground, parks are the most important things in our opinion.

This is the main step in renting a property in London. The main way to search these two websites:

These two aggregators are very advanced and this is the safest way to search a property. Most of the properties listed on these websites are for one year and longer rent.

You need to be an extra careful on website Openrent, because you will be connected directly with landlords. And it is an option to search rent less than one year.

Bear in mind, some listings on any websites are already gone, especially in the quite new developments. The whole search may be last for months, as your expectation may be high, or demand can be high in August and September, as students add some pressure on it.

Negotiating with an estate agent

This is very common, when you call or email to the estate agency, and they say that the flat you require on is no longer available, but they ask you to leave your details. Then they will try to sell to you something you are not really looking for. If you’re asking us to call them, then we leave our details, and you are free from spam. When we call on behalf of you, estate agents aware that they’re dealing with a professional relocation agent, and this is an additional protection for you as a client.

So, even if you’re renting a property in London with our help, we are still asking you to look listings on websites above. This is like a central database and a major tool when you are renting a property in London.

To save your time, in case if you are contacting the estate agents directly, we are recommending to you ask the questions below, before arranging a viewing:

  • Is the property still available?
  • Is the property available especially for you? You need to specify:
    • Are you local or international?
    • Are you student or professional?
    • If you are a student or international applicant, that you are paying upfront for one year;
    • How many occupants would be living in the property?
    • Are there any children?
    • What is your income?
    • Do you have any pets?
    • What is the proposed length of the contract?
    • Do you need a car park?

All these questions must be asked before you spent your time to view the property. It is often, the estate agent would not ask you all this stuff, as they just want to attract more viewers. Don’t waste your time on it! Make sure before arranging any viewing that this property is potentially suite your needs and the most importantly the landlord needs!


The last question, before you’re arranging a personal attending viewing, is to request a property video. It is nowadays more than 80% properties have it. When you’re watching video, try to concentrate your attention on the list below.

  • What is the general condition of the property?
  • If this is on a ground floor, are there any sign of damp or mould in the corners?
  • Is the gas heating in the property? If not, and the flat is not modern, it can be cold in the winter;
  • What kind of windows? Wooden or plastic?
  • This is not good if the shower is electric;
  • What can be seen from the windows?
  • Flooring: Carpet is warm. Tiles without underfloor heating can be cold.

We offer to our clients to do a video of the property. We can arrange a viewing in purpose to do a video for you. Not only that, but we may do a video call.

Below one of the example.


Renting a property in London without viewing in the most of the cases is possible, but if you are in London it is highly recommended to attend to a personal viewing. Once you are in the property you can feel its ambience and warmth, and even smell its interior. As you know, on photos and videos, representation always different.

At the viewing you also will meet an estate agent or a landlord, and the personal touch is so important indeed. You can ask questions and make your judgment of their honesty, and how much you can trust them too.

We recommend you to have a look on surrounding areas after viewing and even check it in the late evening to complete picture of the location.

We can accompany your viewing, and help to make your decision. We also can attend the viewing on your behalf, and make a video call to you if asked.


If you are happy with the property, you need to make an offer to its landlord. Depending on the landlord’s representation the offer can be done by filling the offer form sent to you by the agent or the landlord. Or you may be asked to just send your offer in a freestyle email, or even WhatsApp message. Very rarely the verbal offer can be accepted. This is up to you to make your offer as much attractive to the landlord as possible. If the property is very popular, we recommend offer above the asking price.

What normally can be in the offer is below.

  • Full name of the applicant;
  • Date of birth;
  • Gender;
  • Email;
  • Phone;
  • Current address;
  • Visa status;
  • Are you student? If yes, who is going to pay your rent?
  • Where the money is from?
  • The property address;
  • Offered renting price;
  • Duration of the contract – normally, minimum one year;
  • Break clause – this is if you have a right to terminate contract without penalty. Normally, it can be 6 months;
  • How will you make payments? 100% upfront, or monthly? If you are going to pay monthly, you will be asked for the bank statements and other documents to check your affordability;
  • How many tenants going to live in the property?
  • Any pets?
  • Smokers?
  • Any tenants on any benefits?

There can be extra questions in the offer form. We can help you to make your offer, and we recommend adding a bit more information about the main tenant. It is also can be helpful to attach references from previous landlords if you have them.

Once your offer is sent to an estate agency there is a legal requirement to send it to the landlord straight away, or as soon as possible.

Then, what will happen is that the landlord will make their decision once all offers are on the table. In most of the cases you will get just a final decision, and nothing you can do about that. But in some occasion you may have a counteroffer for your final consideration.


Sometimes estate agencies may use a special software to make all processes quicker and smother. One of the main is called GoodLord.

If an agency uses one, then the major part must be done on the platform’s software. Unfortunately, sometimes it can bring complications instead of smoothness. For example, if you want to make a payment of a holding deposit by bank transfer, some software providers may not support that, and you have to pay by card only.

Holding fee

Once your offer has been accepted, you may be asked to pay a holding fee, which is, normally, a one-week rent. This is a non-refundable payment.

The reason for this payment is to secure the property and to remove its listing from internet. Or add to the listing “under offer” label.


References check is a process of finding information about an applicant. It needed as the landlord would like to make sure the tenant will pay pent on time. So, if you are paying in advance, then you don’t need to be checked if you can pay, but your passport and “Right to Rent” status must be checked anyway.

The references can include the previous landlord letters, or your employer recommendations.

Normally, references check takes from a few hours, and up to a few days.

Tenancy Agreement

The main document for a renting a property can be called as per below.

  • Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
  • Fully Managed Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement
  • Tenancy Agreement
  • Contract

If the renting duration is less than 3 years, there is no legal requirements in England to have a tenancy agreement in writing. It means that you can verbally agree terms & conditions, but it is always better to have a tenancy agreement written and singed.

The first step is to receive a draft tenancy agreement from the landlord or from the estate agent. Once you have the draft, the first thing for you to do, is to check the legal name of the property’s landlord. It only cost £3.00 on the Government website, using the button below.

If the name on the tenancy agreement doesn’t match the landlord’s name on the Government website, it means your tenancy agreement will be incorrect. We strongly recommend seeking an explanation from the agency or a “landlord” why this happened.

The average tenancy agreement can be as long as 22 pages. The most tenancy agreements are quite standard. But you must check all list below.

  • The names of all people involved;
  • The rental price and how it’s paid;
  • Information on how and when the rent will be reviewed;
  • The deposit amount and how it will be protected;
  • Details of when the deposit can be fully or partly withheld (for example to repair damage you’ve caused);
  • The property address;
  • The start and end date of the tenancy;
  • Any tenant or landlord obligations;
  • An outline of bills you’re responsible for.

It can also include information on:

  • Whether the tenancy can be ended early and how this can be done;
  • Who’s responsible for minor repairs (other than those that the landlord is legally responsible for);
  • Whether the property can be let to someone else (sublet) or have lodgers.

It can be good to ask a solicitor to check the tenancy agreement, and their fee may be from £350.00, and up to £2500.00 depends on the agreement.

From our experience it is very difficult to pursue landlords or agents to make changing to the agreement.

We strongly recommend signing the tenancy agreement before making deposit & renting payments. You ask your copy of the tenancy agreement signed by the landlord. Then you can make payments. If you are dealing directly with a landlord, and you have been asked to make a payment before signing the agreement, please terminate the deal, as this can be very risky. If you are renting a property from an established agency you may be more relaxed, as they are reputation dependant.


Deposit is the payment towards some of the property’s damaging. Deposit in the UK is to be hold under dedicated regulated scheme.

When you’re renting a property, the landlord must put the deposit in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (TDP) if the rent home on an assured shorthold tenancy that started after 6 April 2007. In England the deposit can be registered with:

Normally, a deposit is 5 or 6 weeks payment, and it is to be paid together with the first property’s rent payment. Deposit would be normally returned in a few weeks after check out inventory had been signed.

Rent Payment

If you don’t have history in London, or you are a student without a guarantor, you will be asked to pay your rent upfront. It most likely for one year, or by two payments: first once is for the first 6 months and is to be paid before moving in, and on the month number 4 you will pay the second payment of the final 6 months of renting.

The payment must be done before you will get keys, and as per tenancy agreement. You may be asked if the payment done by the third party, who this is and how this body is connected to you. In the most of the cases you will be asked to provide a payment confirmation. Please, ask for the payment reference as this is hugely important. Please, ask for the invoice from the estate agency or a landlord, and keep all messages and payments confirmations.

If the rent is more than the specific threshold, you may be obliged to pay extra taxes.


When your payment is received by the estate agency or landlord, this is the first thing you need to organise when you are renting a property in London. Broadband is the internet connection in your property. It can be up to 3 weeks a waiting time for the engineer to come to connect your property. We recommend to as the estate agent or the landlord who is the best broadband provider in the property, and used to be in there. As it is always the best to use already installed line.

Please, beware the most broadband providers in London have 18 and longer contracts. It means even if you are renting a property for only one year, after that you are obliged to pay for the rest of your contract with the operator.

The best operator in London is BT. Then, Hyperoptic. We do recommend these two providers. If you need urgent Wi-Fi in the property, the best option is to go to Argos and by EE mobile Wi-Fi router.

Moving in

The most exiting part of the renting a property in London is a day you are moving in. The estate agent or the landlord will pass the keys to you, and they must check your identity just before doing that. It can be just a picture of you and your passport in one picture. Once you have keys you are with a possession of the property.

Inventory or Check in

This is very labouring involved part of renting a property in London. Upon your check in you will be given the inventory. This can be 100 pages long documents with description of all items inside the property and the general condition of the property. You need to check all correct and sign this, normally in 7 days, but some estate agent can ask to do it in 3 days.


If bills are not included in your renting a property in London, you will need to organise it. This is the list of necessary.

  • Thames Water – the water
  • Electricity – ask the estate agent
  • Heat – ask the estate agent
  • Gas (if applied) – asked the estate agent
  • TV Licence – must be
  • Council Tax

Relocation.London can organise all of the above.

Ivan Zharikov and Olga Kazakova represent a relocation company inside one of their client's rented house in London.

Application form

Property Rent

Main tenant

This is the main person, who will be responsible for the flat

Applicant home address

This must be an actual address where the applicant does currently live. The address must be the same as on the latest bank statement, or any of the utility bills.

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