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London Short-Term Rentals: All You Need to Know for a Hassle-Free Stay

Whether you are coming to London to work for a short term or you might have secured a long-term job in the city, you need to find short-term accommodation for the first couple of months in London. To help you set foot in London and secure your short-term apartment rental, Tech Nomads prepared this handy article.

Short-Term Accommodation in London

What counts as a short-term let in London?

A short-term let is an agreement for a lease that lasts less than six months. The short-term apartment rent suits professionals who need a place to stay in London for more than a week but less than half a year. This option bridges the gap between a brief hotel stay and a long-term lease. When you choose a short-term lease, you'll enjoy all the typical tenant rights and obligations, including agreement compliance, deposit payments, and regular rent instalments.

For business travellers temporarily relocating to London, short-term rentals offer a more affordable and convenient solution compared to hotels. These apartments are usually furnished, providing a cosy, home-like atmosphere that hotels often can't match. The cosiness and convenience of the flat typically help the productivity of the tech and IT entrepreneurs spending many hours in front of the computer at home.

But before any foreigner can rent an flat, they must pass a Right to Rent check.

What is a Right to Rent check?

The Right to Rent check confirms you're allowed to live in the UK before you move into your rental accommodation.

Who Needs to Conduct These Checks?

Landlords and Agents: Your landlord or their letting agent will carry out the check to ensure you have the right to rent in England.

Steps in the Checking Process

  1. Document Verification: You'll need to show original documents that prove you can live in the UK. This could be a passport, visa, or biometric residence permit.
  2. Online Checks: If you have a share code (usually for those with biometric residence cards or permits), landlords can verify your right to rent online.
  3. Presence Requirements: Ensure you're physically present when your documents are checked, whether in person or via a video call.

Right to Rent checks are more than just bureaucracy; they're about ensuring compliance with UK immigration laws. As someone coming to London for work, understanding and preparing for these checks will help you settle in with one less thing to worry about.

Documents you'll need to secure short-term rental in London

Reference Verifications:

  • Employer Reference: A letter from your current employer is crucial. It should outline your role, the duration of your employment, and your salary. This document confirms your financial stability and assures the landlord of continuous income throughout your lease period.
  • Previous Housing Reference: A reference from a past landlord or agency adds credibility to your application. It should reflect on-time rent payments and responsible tenancy behavior, including the upkeep of the property and adherence to any tenancy agreements.

Identity and Legal Status Confirmation:

  • Personal ID and Work Authorization: Your passport or another government-issued ID, coupled with any applicable visa or work permit, will be necessary to establish your identity and legal status for working and residing in the UK.
  • Comprehensive Tenant Screening: All adults planning to occupy the residence must undergo this verification process. Prepare all relevant IDs and legal documents in advance to streamline the rental application.

Address Proof:

  • Previous Address Verification: Commonly, a prior tenancy agreement or utility bills serve as proof of address.
  • For International Workers: Bank statements or utility bills from your home country can be used to demonstrate your previous living arrangement. Note that some landlords may request an increased deposit or upfront rent if such documents are from abroad.

Income Verification:

  • Financial Stability Evidence: Payslips and bank statements are standard for demonstrating your ability to afford the rent. This reassurance is pivotal for landlords and agents to ensure that rent payments will be made promptly throughout your stay.

For tech and IT professionals relocating to London for short-term assignments, having these documents ready not only expedites the rental process but also positions you as a trustworthy and reliable tenant. Always verify directly with prospective landlords or agents for any specific document requirements or additional checks needed.

Choosing a London Neighborhood to Suit Your Budget

For tech and IT professionals relocating to London, navigating the city's housing market can be as complex as a new coding language. Whether you're beginning your career with a budget in mind or you're a seasoned specialist moving with family in search of a respectable borough, Tech Nomads prepared some suggestions to help you choose the neighborhood.

Budget-Friendly Boroughs:

  • Bexley: Offers some of the most affordable living options in London, with rents for one-bedroom apartments around £900 to £1,500 per month. It's known for its green spaces and community feel​​.
  • Havering: This borough provides a suburban lifestyle with affordable rental prices, ranging from approximately £950 to £1,500 for one-bedroom apartments​​.
  • Croydon: Known for its significant regeneration in recent years, Croydon has become more attractive, with average rents for a one-bedroom apartment at around £1,100 to £1,500​​​​.

Mid-Range Budget Options:

  • Hackney: Offers a vibrant and artistic community with practical rent prices, becoming posher by the day. The average rental price is about £672 per week​​.
  • Camden Town: Known for its markets, music scene, and eclectic lifestyle. The average rent is about £762 per week​​.
  • Southwark: Presents the best value for money in central London zones with a diverse mix of new developments and period homes. The average house price suggests it's a more affordable central London option​​.

Luxury Options and High-End Boroughs:

  • Mayfair: One of the most expensive areas, offering Georgian townhouses and luxury apartments. Average rents can exceed £1,856 per week​​.
  • Kensington and Chelsea: Synonymous with luxury, this borough offers exclusive properties with rents often exceeding £2,500 per month for one-bedroom apartments.
  • Notting Hill: Famous for its colorful houses and high-end shopping. Average rents are around £945 per week​​.

Common fees when renting a short-term apartment in London

In 2019, the UK government introduced the Tenant Fees Act to lessen financial burdens on tenants by limiting the fees landlords can impose. Here is a list of the costs associated with renting in London beyond the monthly rent:

Security Deposit

In London, landlords require a security deposit as a safety measure. The law caps this deposit at five weeks' rent for properties with an annual rental cost below £50,000. For properties exceeding this value, the cap increases to six weeks' rent.

Safety of the Deposit

Your landlord has to secure your deposit in a special agency to keep it safe and must let you know where it's kept. There are three places they can use:

  • Deposit Protection Service
  • Tenancy Deposit Scheme
  • Mydeposits
As for getting your deposit back:
  • You'll get it back when you move out, as long as you haven't damaged anything.
  • If your landlord wants to keep some (or all) of it because they think you've caused damage, they need to tell you why.
  • It's smart to take pictures of the place when you move in so you have evidence of how everything looks. That way, if there's a disagreement later, you've got your photos to show what the condition was at the start.

Utility Bills

Tenants are responsible for utility expenses, including electricity, gas, and water, alongside other services like Wi-Fi and television. It's crucial to verify with your landlord which utilities, if any, are included in your rent, and to inquire about the average additional monthly costs you may incur.

Council Tax

An essential expense for tenants is the council tax, a local authority charge dependent on the property's valuation and the borough. Council tax in London is determined by the Valuation Office Agency and is based on the capital value of properties on 1 April 1991. Properties are categorized into one of eight bands (A-H), with Band A for properties valued up to £40,000 and Band H for those more than £320,000. Here is a detailed overview of the bands:

Council Tax bands in England (based on 1 April 1991 values)

A - up to £40,000

B - £40,001 to £52,000

C - £52,001 to £68,000

D - £68,001 to £88,000

E - £88,001 to £120,000

F - £120,001 to £160,000

G - £160,001 to £320,000

H - more than £320,000

Accommodation options longer than six months but shorter than one year

If you're planning to stay in London for work for a period longer than six months but less than a year, you have several options to consider for accommodation, which bridge the gap between short-term and long-term rentals.

Firstly, any rental agreement that spans more than six months but less than a year is often categorized as a medium-term rental. Unlike short-term rentals, medium-term rentals provide a more stable housing solution without committing to a long-term lease. These rentals can offer flexibility, especially for professionals on temporary assignments or those in transitional phases​.

When is the best time to start seeking for a London rental

The locals in London would say that finding a place in the city is a challenge at any time of the year. However, experts in the industry suggest that the winter months, specifically from November through January and extending to March, offer the most favorable conditions for apartment hunting. The rental market tends to slow during these colder months, with fewer individuals looking to move, leading to a decrease in competition. This slowdown is attributed partly to students settling into their term accommodations and a general reluctance to move during the colder, darker days. Consequently, this period may see a decrease in rental prices and a broader selection of available properties, potentially making it the optimal time for tenants to find a new home in London.

Moving into your London place: what to check

Day Before Move-In

  • Walkthrough with Agent: Be there when they inspect the place. Point out any issues to avoid future charges.
  • Look Out for Pests & Mold: Especially important in lower floors. Spot a rodent hole or mold? Tell the landlord immediately.

Heating Matters

  • Gas vs. Electric: Gas is cheaper than electric. Stuck with electricity? Your bills might be higher.
  • Boiler Age: Old boiler? Ask for a new one or a replacement promise in your contract.

Rent Budgeting

  • Rule of Thumb: Don't spend over 35% of your income on rent and utilities. It keeps you within a safe spending range.

TV License

  • Annual Fee: £159. Needed if you're watching live TV or streaming on platforms like BBC iPlayer.

Lease Agreement

  • Must-haves: Make sure it lists rent details, landlord info, and gas safety certificates.

Break Clause

  • Exiting Early: Know how and when you can end the lease early, including any notice you need to give.

How Tech Nomads Can Help

Seeking assistance in your post-relocation efforts in the UK?

Tech Nomads is ready to assist you in finding short-term accommodation, as well as in other adaptation nuances.

To explore your options UK relocation and ask post-relocation questions, you may:

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