London’s a big city. It’s filled with close to 4 million homes, many of which are available to rent. Whether north, south, east or west, London has diverse and vibrant areas to live that are full of local character. Yet despite this vast amount of choice, many renters simply don’t know how to find a place to rent.

And if you’re moving to London from overseas, then finding a property to rent in the UK or London is likely to be very different from back home.

So we’ve set out 7 of the most sure-fire ways to find a home to rent.

Search the property portals

By far the most popular route for prospective renters is a property portal. Four of the biggest names in this area include:

There are thousands upon thousands of places to rent on these portals. That can sound overwhelming, but with filters based on location, price, property type and number of bedrooms, you can weed out what’s not right for you — leaving you free to browse through what’s left matching your requirements.

Whilst websites like this will always deliver you a choice of places to rent, due to the high volume of enquiries that agents get, you can’t always hope for a response. And sometimes the customer service side of things is lacking.

But if you want to know how to find a place to rent then these portals are a great place to start.

Download the #1 property app

If you’re looking for a better experience from your rental search, however, then Movebubble is definitely for you. According to the Evening Standard it’s the number 1 property app — which means you’re in good hands. They’re solely focused on renters and take a ‘renter-first’ approach in everything they do.

Just like Rightmove and Zoopla, expect to view thousands of properties across the capital. But instead of basic filters, expect additional filters such as whether the apartment is pet friendly, whether bills are included and whether you need to pay a security deposit.

They’ve also recently launched Movebubble One; their collection of premium homes to rent from build-to-rent landlords (like us!) that put quality and service to the forefront of what they do.

Speak to a letting agent

If you’re not so digitally savvy, then consider hitting the high street to find a place to rent. On every high street in London you’ll find letting agents. Whether big brands like Foxtons, or smaller local agents that are specialists in their particular region.

These letting agents will have been appointed by thousands of landlords around the city, so they will always have a vast choice to show you.

Do be aware that the negotiators get paid for every home they let, so you may find some take a more salesy approach with you. Letting agents are also infamous for charging a variety of fees for the services they provide, so make sure you’re clear on what they are before you rent through them.

Approach professional landlords

London is now home to a growing portfolio of property developers now operating as professional landlords, like us. Approaching these landlords direct can be a great way to find a place to rent.

Not only are their buildings newly built, but they’re also generally finished to a high specification and come with lots of additional services added in for free.

Lots of these new buildings in London feature shared spaces, such as roof terraces, gyms, lounges and games rooms – free for residents to use whenever they please.

Many professional landlords don’t charge a penny in fees either, and some don’t even take security deposits. This leaves you with hundreds or even thousands of pounds back in your pocket, and a better-quality home on top of that.

Go for a walk

If you have a good idea where you want to end up renting, one of the best ways to find a place to rent is to have a look around on foot.

There’s no better way to get a feel for the local area. After all, if you end up renting there you want to be sure you made the right choice.

Find a few streets that you might like to live on and keep a lookout for properties that have letting agent signs up outside. You can give them a call or walk into their local branch to discuss that specific property. Also keep a look out for new-build developments and get in touch with the developer directly.

Ask your friends

No recommendation is more reliable than one from someone you know and trust. So turn to your friends to help you find a place to rent.

They may have seen somewhere great down the road from where they live, or they may recommend a previous landlord. Their knowledge of the area might help you rent in the best location and even get a more competitive price.

Or, if they live with a build-to-rent landlord, they could refer you. Our refer a friend scheme rewards both the referrer and the referee with £500 each to spend as you please. Perfect for purchasing some designer homeware to style your new apartment.

Google it

As with all queries, if in doubt, Google it! You may be able to find a place to rent by scrolling through the results on Google or Bing.

Make sure to look past the property portal listings from Rightmove and Zoopla that will likely be at the top. Instead, look to the ones lower down. These could be the smaller operators, or the landlords themselves.

Also keep an eye on the advert space at the top of the page (marked with the green ‘Ad’ icon). Again, you could have an opportunity to go direct to the landlord this way, rather than risking paying high fees through a letting agent.

How to find a place to rent

Whichever route you end up taking, make sure you spend a bit of time shopping around for the best quality home.

As a final thought, make sure you take a look at HomeViews. They collect verified reviews from residents of residential blocks around London, which means it’s a handy tool to help you find a place to rent at a decent quality.


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Mark Flint


Mark is a regular contributor to the Essential Living blog and shares all the latest news and sourcing the very best content for our customers.