How to find a great place to rent in London

Finding a perfect place to rent can be difficult in cities like London, where demand for good quality rental homes in popular areas outstrips supply. While there’s much to be said for knowing exactly what you want and working hard to secure it, it’s just as important to be proactive and realistic in high-demand areas.

On the plus side, the rental housing market in London is staggering by way of both its sheer size and its diversity. Assetgrove – a property specialist that helps landlords fix up their properties – advises that all budgets and needs are catered to across the city’s boroughs and boundaries. It’s just a case of knowing where to look and what to look for.

To further aid your search for a quality rental property in London, here are five important factors to consider:

Budget

First and foremost, it’s important to be realistic and accurate with regard to your available budget. Try to remember that budgeting for a rental property doesn’t just mean covering the rent alone. From utility bills to transport costs and administration fees, the monthly rent is often just the start of things.

Unsurprisingly, the single biggest determining factor with regard to rent costs is the location of the place. If, for example, you are looking to secure a one-bedroom apartment around Knightsbridge, you’d be lucky to get any change out of £2,900 for the month. By contrast, similar apartments in Hatton Cross can be picked up for no more than about £350 per month. Same city, extremely different rental costs. And, of course, the costs of local amenities can vary extraordinarily too.

Location

The importance of selecting an appropriate, convenient and desirable location when looking for a place to rent cannot be overstated. It’s one thing to secure a great place at a great price, but if that property is a painful distance from your workplace, your family, your friends and the places you hang out, you may soon regret moving away from your comfort zone.

They say location is everything, but location must be considered with respect to what matters to you most and what you need.

Transport

Home buyers are willing to pay a 10% premium for a property that is close to a tube, railway or tram station, and the same applies to tenants.

The importance of convenient transport links cannot be overstated as properties that are difficult to travel to and from can quickly turn from a dream home to a nightmare commute. Once again, it is a case of thinking about the places you both have to travel to and choose to travel to, in order to evaluate transport links and associated costs.

Part of the extra cost of renting a home next to a tube station could be recouped, of course, by getting rid of a car

Space

If you recently came across the story of a student who was offered a mattress in a cupboard under the stairs at a monthly rental price of £500…well, you probably understand the importance of assessing space requirements.

The trouble is, in high-demand areas where properties are thin on the ground, prospective tenants tend to dive in head-first, simply to make sure they actually get a place without having realistically considered what’s on offer. It’s one thing to put up with a relatively confined rental property until something larger can be afforded – it’s something else entirely to (quite literally) find yourself living in a cupboard.

Security

Last but not least, try to remember that while landlords are legally obliged to keep their properties in a decent state of repair, they have no legal responsibility to control or monitor security. As such, to fall into the trap of simply assuming that security will have been considered on your behalf is unwise to say the least.

When choosing a rental property, consider the safety of the area in general along with the security of both the building and the specific flat/room you will be renting.