Are you planning to move to the fabulous city of London and wondering how to find an apartment that suits your needs and budget? With a myriad of options and a competitive rental market, finding an apartment in London can seem overwhelming. But don't worry, we're here to help you navigate through this process! In this guide, we'll provide you with essential tips and tricks on how to find an apartment in London that ticks all your boxes.
Use the links below to skip to the sections that you are most interested in:
- Section 1: Deciding where to look:
- Section 2: Finding an apartment:
- Section 3: Applying for your apartment
Research London's Neighbourhoods
The first step in finding an apartment in London is to get familiar with its neighbourhoods. London is a vast city with diverse areas, each with its own charm, personality, and price range. It's essential to consider factors such as safety, transportation, and amenities when selecting a neighbourhood that aligns with your lifestyle and budget.
Some popular areas for young professionals and families include Canary Wharf, Shoreditch, Clapham, and Brixton. For those looking for a quieter and more suburban experience, consider neighbourhoods like Hampstead, Richmond, or Greenwich.
You can read about some of the best places to live in London in our handy guide.
Determine Your Budget
When searching for an apartment in London, it's crucial to have a clear idea of your budget. Keep in mind that living expenses in London can be quite high, and you'll need to account for not only rent but also utilities, council tax, and transportation.
As a general rule, it's wise to allocate no more than 30-35% of your monthly income towards rent. Typically you will undergo financial referencing during your application to rent an apartment, where a referencing company will check that your salary is roughly 30 times your monthly rent. This is to make sure that you can afford rental payments.
Understand the Rental Market
To successfully find an apartment in London, you must understand the nuances of the rental market. London's rental market can be competitive, with properties often being rented within days of being listed. It's crucial to be proactive and flexible when searching for an apartment. Attend as many viewings as possible, and be prepared to make quick decisions when you find a place that meets your criteria.
It is not uncommon for an apartment to be let before you have the chance to view it in person, which can be frustrating. It is becoming increasingly common to view apartments remotely using a 3D virtual tour, which can save you the hassle of turning up to an open viewing with dozens of other applicants.
Use Property Websites
In today's digital world, there are plenty of online resources to assist you in your apartment search. Using a property website gives you the most choice, and helps you discover what you can afford in different neighbourhoods around the city. We've listed some of the most popular property website for finding apartments in London below:
For finding entire apartments and houses:
For finding a room to rent in a shared apartment:
Use a Professional Landlord
Scattered around London there are apartment buildings managed by professional landlords. Unlike many of the flats on websites like Rightmove, these apartment buildings are designed specifically for renters and often include shared amenity spaces such as roof terraces, on-site gyms and a 24/7 on-site team. This way of living is called Build to Rent, and is different from the private rental market because you have a direct line of communication to your landlord instead of using a middle-man such as an estate agent. Build to Rent developments also tend to be pet friendly!
Visiting the websites of Build to Rent companies in London and contacting them directly can be a great way to find apartments without worrying about the intense competition on property websites or using estate agents. If you're looking for an apartment, explore our locations to find something that suits you.
Use an Estate Agent
If you're struggling to find an apartment in London or simply don't have the time to conduct an extensive search, consider enlisting the help of an estate agent. They have in-depth knowledge of the rental market and access to properties that may not be publicly listed. While they do charge a fee, the expertise and convenience they provide can be invaluable. Reaching out to an estate agency can result in you finding out about newly available apartments before they get listed on Rightmove or other sites, meaning you can sometimes get a head start on other applicants.
In London, there are hundreds of Estate Agencies. Some are local to certain neighbourhoods and some have different office branches around the entire city. The best way to find them is either searching using Google for estate agents in your desired neighbourhood, or simply by heading to the local high street in your neighbourhood of choice where you are bound to find at least a few physical offices.
Prepare Necessary Documents
Once you've found an apartment you love, be prepared to act quickly. Ensure you have all necessary documents ready, such as proof of income, identification, and references. This will enable a smoother application process and increase your chances of securing your desired apartment. Some of the documents you might need include:
- Proof of your right to rent in the UK (e.g. Passport)
- Proof of stable income, or demonstration that you are able to pay