Frequently asked questions about accommodation in London and about this site
Things you should know before you move to London
Short Term - Long Term.
Most of the agencies on this site deal with "Assured Shorthold Tenancies" (AST). This means that they require a MINIMUM term of 6 months. Some will accept periods of three months upwards subject to certain constraints. Periods of 1 week to 3 months are referred to as Short Lets. There are some agencies that specialise in Short Lets and they can be found by following the links above. Generally the rents for Short Lets are much higher than for AST lets. Rents tend to be lower than - but much closer to - hotel charges.
Period of rental
Between 1 week and 1 month
If you are looking to rent between 1 week and 1 month you should click on the short term accommodation page.
Between 1 and 6 months
If you are looking to rent between 1 to 6 months should click on the short let accommodation page.
Longer than 6 months
If you are looking to rent for 6 months or more use the main map and area pages.
Tenant ( and Landlord ) FAQs
Do agents charge fees to tenants?
You should not pay any registration fees to an agent. Some agents will charge a nominal "success" fee. However there will usually be certain costs that the new tenant is expected to cover. These fees will include administration costs for drawing up a tenancy agreement, for taking up references and for agreeing an inventory of contents.
What is a "Holding Deposit"?
A holding deposit is a deposit against the administration costs that are incurred at the start of a tenancy. It is usually a nominal amount payable when you make a firm offer. If you subsequently decide to pull out then you will forgo the deposit. If the landlord pulls out it will be refunded to you. If the deal goes ahead then the deposit is offset against the Adminstration charges, the deposit and the advance rental.
How much money do I need to get started?
You will usually be asked for rent to be paid monthly in advance. You will also need to provide a deposit against damage to the property or contents. The deposit is usually 1 month to 6 weeks rent. This is usually held by the agent in a designated client account and will be returned ( less deductions ) at the end of your stay.
How do I get my deposit back?
Make sure that the flat is thoroughly cleaned and all items on the inventory are in reasonable condition. If you have moved furniture - put it back where you found it. There will be an inspection ( you should try and be present) to ensure that the items are all present and undamaged. Provided that this is the case your deposit will be returned shortly after you vacate the premises. You are not allowed to set the deposit off against the last months rent.
What else do I pay for?
Utilities mainly, gas, electricity, TV and council tax.
What am I responsible for?
Allowance will be made for "fair wear and tear", but the tenant is responsible for taking proper care of the premises and should undertake small tasks around the house. Any specific responsibilities should be set out clearly in the tenancy agreement. You should read this carefully before you sign, if in doubt - ask the agent. There is a duty for professional agents to ensure that anyone relying on them is offered correct advice.
What is a tenancy agreement?
It is a legally binding document outlining an agreement between you and the landlord in respect of the property. It sets out the amount payable as rent, the length of the tenancy, any break points agreed and your rights and responsibilities. It will probably be an "Assured" or an "Assured Shorthold" tenancy under the provisions of the 1988 Housing Act. For companies or for rental amounts in excess of £25000 pa the agreement will be drawn up under contract law.
What information should I supply?
References - the agent will require addresses, (or fax numbers or e-mail) of referees who will confirm your ability to meet the rent regularly. Usual referees are your employer, your bank, previous landlords, accountants or solicitors. In the absence of suitable references, a guarantor will usually be required.
How long do I have to stay?
Short term specialists can be found under their own page on this site. Their usual target market is holiday makers and business travellers.
Most agents require a minimum period of six months and usually a maximum of 1 year. However, if you wish to take a shorter contract it may be possible to negotiate an earlier break clause to be written into the tenancy agreement. Basically you will be liable for the full amount of the rent until the end of the agreed rental period unless a new tenant can be found.
Some agents provide a full management service. This means that they have undertaken to ensure that the property is protected and maintained to the original standard (fair wear and tear excepted). This usually includes running repairs and general maintenance. The landlord, the tenant and the agent should be clear at the outset whether or not management services have been agreed.