How to find a flat in London

Written by marianne lafferty
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How to find a flat in London
Search for your ideal flat in London. (new apartment building image by green308 from Fotolia.com)

Finding a flat to rent in London can be a frustrating experience. The flat that looked promising on the Internet may not be so great when you visit it. Flat hunting in London is also time consuming because there is a vast selection of flats in many areas to choose from. Also, flats can go on and off the market in days. You have to act quickly or you may be disappointed.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Money for deposit and rent
  • Estate agents
  • Listings

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Figure out how much you can and want to spend on rent. A guide is to divide your monthly after-tax salary by three. London prices are high relative to the rest of the UK, so you may have to pay more than this. If the rent seems high relative to your salary, consider finding flatmates or moving to a cheaper area.

  2. 2

    Pick a neighbourhood. London is huge, so you have many diverse areas to choose from. Each has its own character. Start by deciding whether you want to live in North, South, East, West or Central London. In general, West, Central and parts of North London have the most expensive properties. East and South London offer cheaper options. Time Out London provides information on every major street. But often the best way to get to know an area is to explore it on foot. Ask your friends and colleagues to tell you about their favourite areas and travel there to explore them.

  3. 3

    Consider using an estate agent(s) to help you find you a flat. They will charge you a fee if you take the flat. But you benefit from their extensive knowledge of the market and the neighbourhood. There are estate agents all over London. The biggest estate agent in London is Foxtons, which has branches all over the city.

  4. 4

    Find a flat yourself and save the estate agent's fee. Do this with the help of various flat listings sources. Websites such as Gumtree.com, spareroom.co.uk and findaflat.com list hundreds of flats in London for rent. Local papers also list flats. And you may find listings on bulletin boards in local newsagents.

  5. 5

    Visit flats that interest you based on your research. If the current tenants are there when you visit, ask them questions. Ask them why they are moving, if they like living in the flat and what annoys them about it. If you are to share with flatmates, make sure you like them enough to live with them.

  6. 6

    Read your new contract before you sign on the dotted line. Make sure you know what you are responsible and liable for and what your landlord is responsible for.

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