Renting in the capital is a nightmare. Firstly, it’s horrendously overpriced which means most people in their twenties have a lot of restrictions on what they can actually afford. Secondly, estate agents have a terrible reputation and from my experience I would say that reputation is more than well deserved. Those two things combined can make the whole situation way more stressful than it really should be.
As I’ve rented in London for around 7 years now, I’ve definitely learned some tips and tricks to ease the pain, slightly. I’m moving again in a few weeks so I thought I’m probably able to give some fairly decent advice for anyone thinking of moving house in the capital. Also I’d say I’m quite good at this house stuff, maybe because I’m a pro internet stalker… ha.
Here are some things I’ve learned for anybody thinking of renting in London:
1. The internet is your best friend
Don’t bother going into physical estate agents. It will be a waste of time. If you know some agencies in the area you wish to live in, send them an email and ask to be put on a waiting list for any new properties that fit your criteria. Sometimes they will email you properties before they go up on their website or in their office.
The sites I would recommend for flat hunting are: Zoopla, Gumtree, Nestoria, Rightmove, Moveflat. Be prepared to spend half your life on them, if you see properties as soon as they go live, you’ve got a better chance. You can now set up alerts on Rightmove too, which is probably the most depressing thing ever.
2. Location – the more you know, the more chance you’ve got
Know the postcodes, streets or areas you would like to live in. The more you know about an area, the easier it is to search for. You will get more relevant properties if you do this rather than just searching the borough eg. Hackney, Islington etc. Searching E9 5EN for example, you’d have properties near that street, it just narrows down your search which is time saving.
Also research the area and check if there are any specific housing estates that rent too. A lot of the time they do not advertise, it’s a matter of finding out if they exist and then contacting them. That’s how we found our new place.