One of the most important steps in your journey when relocating to the UK will be finding long term accommodation for yourself and your family. In this article, we will be exploring how to rent a property in the UK and where you can search for a property.
Some of the key things you will have to consider before deciding which route you want to take will be how much money you are willing to spend on a property outright, how much you will be able to afford to spend on accommodation once you start working, how quickly you need to secure a property and how much flexibility you need should you wish to move homes in the future.
Renting a House
When you first arrive in the UK, it is likely you will need to rent a property as it is the quickest and most flexible way in securing accommodation without holding a UK credit history.
Pros of Renting:
Securing a rental is often much faster than buying, it can take days or weeks, rather than months.
There are less upfront costs and paperwork involved in renting than with buying.
If something goes wrong with the property, (e.g. the boiler breaks) it is usually the landlord’s responsibility to fix it unless stated otherwise in the contract.
A contract can be between 6 months and 7 years, giving you the freedom to easily move if you choose to.
You can usually renew your lease once your contract ends and sometimes negotiate the length with your landlord.
You won’t lose money if the value of the house decreases.
Cons of Renting:
You won’t have ownership of the property.
You may not be able to make changes to your home depending on the landlord and contract, this can include small changes such as painting the walls, or large changes such as renovating a room.
If the house increases in value, you can’t build equity.
Renting can cost more than buying in the long run.
Some rental properties do not allow you to have children or pets in the property depending on the landlord and contract.
The landlord can evict you after your contract ends, even if you choose to extend it. The eviction notice period is generally 2 months after your initial contract ends, though it can be as short as 2 weeks if you breach any terms in your contract.
The landlord can put the price of your rent up when it comes time to renew your contract.
Where can I search for properties?
There are a variety of resources to search for a property to let in the UK.
Probably the easiest way to search for accommodation is online, as you can quickly and easily search for properties in a specific area and tailor your search to match your specific requirements. You can usually enter the name of the town or city you wish to live in or use a postcode to search for properties nearby and then use filters to narrow down or broaden your search. You can also input a price range. If you’re renting, some sites will advertise the rental cost by month, and others will advertise by week, so it’s good to double check which you’re viewing. You can usually select the number of bedrooms, type of property, the date the property will be available from, and several other filters depending on the website. Some sites even allow you to compare the prices of properties with those in nearby areas.
If you come across a property you’re interested in, you can often request more details about the property. You’re usually able to easily contact the agency or landlord to make enquiries either via email or there will often be a contact number.
There are various websites you can use to find properties to buy or rent, here are a couple of our recommendations:
This is one of the most popular sites for searching for properties. Some of the key features of the Rightmove website are:
Ability to search for properties for sale or to rent.
They allow you to change the radius of your search, you can limit it to a specific area or broaden your search up to 40 miles from your original location.
You can set a minimum and maximum price range to filter out any properties that aren’t in your price range.
You’re able to change the number of bedrooms you’d like your property to have.
You can filter the property type should you prefer to look at houses, flat, bungalows and more.
You can filter out when properties were added to the site so that you can look at the most recent properties added.
They have a tick box to allow you to include properties that are currently under offer or in the process of being sold. This is so that you can enquire about a property should an offer fall through, you might still be able to put an offer in on the property.
You’re also able to view properties on a map to see what the transport links including tube stations, schools and amenities nearby are like.
Zoopla is another popular option for property searches in the UK, their features include:
Like Rightmove, you are able to filter properties by rental or sale.
You can input the property type you’re interested in, though they do have a few less options than Rightmove.
You can input the number of bedrooms you’d like your property to have.
You can alter the distance you’re looking at between ¼ of a mile and 40 miles.
You have the ability to toggle when the property was posted on the website.
Unlike Rightmove, you also have the ability to filter properties by most recent, by highest to lowest cost, as well as most reduced and most popular.
Again, you’re able to view properties that are under offer, and are also able to change the filters to view only new homes, retirement properties, shared ownership properties and auction properties.
There is also the option to view a map of the area, as well as schools and nearby rail stations.
Zoopla also includes a chart on each property outlining the estimated running costs of the property.
Another way to search for properties if you’re already staying in the UK, in temporary accommodation, is via local newspapers. This will narrow down your search as you will need to be looking at papers specific to the area you wish to relocate to, and you won’t be able to filter out any unsuitable options the way you can online. If you are already in the area you wish to buy or rent in however, this can be another way to search for a property.
Another option if you are already staying in the UK is to visit a letting agency. The benefit of visiting an agency is that agents will be able to give you advise you on your personal circumstances. As well as this, they can also give you greater insight into the specific are you wish to locate to.
Things to Consider
Some final things to consider whether you’re hoping to rent a property in the UK is that it is a legal requirement to for you to sign for a property in person, so you will need to travel to the UK beforehand in order to view potential properties and sign any paperwork. We previously wrote an article about securing temporary accommodation that you can read here.
You will also need to ensure you have a Tier 2 Visa to live in the UK and obtaining this early can help you during the renting process.
Though the prospect of finding a permanent place of residence can seem daunting, in the end, the best thing you can do to make the process easier is to ensure that you do your research beforehand and weigh up the benefits of each option before making a decision, that way, when you collect the keys to your property, you can rest assured that you made the most informed decision and enjoy your new home!
Relocation to the UK
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Moneyadviceservice.org.uk. (2019). First-time home buyer guide. [online] Available at: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/first-time-buyer-money-tips [Accessed 23 Oct. 2019].
GOV.UK. (2019). How to rent: the checklist for renting in England. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent/how-to-rent-the-checklist-for-renting-in-england [Accessed 23 Oct. 2019].
GOV.UK. (2019). Tenancy agreements: a guide for landlords (England and Wales). [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/tenancy-agreements-a-guide-for-landlords/ending-a-tenancy [Accessed 23 Oct. 2019].
reallymoving. (2019). Timeline for buying a house. [online] Available at: https://www.reallymoving.com/first-time-buyers/guides/timeline-for-buying-a-house [Accessed 23 Oct.