Long Term UK Accommodation
Once you’re a bit more settled, you can start looking for some long term UK accommodation. By this stage, you’ll hopefully have found work, familiarised yourself with a few areas and worked out how far you’re willing to commute.
If you need help deciding where to live, check out our web pages below
What are my long term UK accommodation options?
UK flat share/ UK house share
Many young professionals choose to share a house or flat when living in London and other UK cities. It’s a great way to meet people and share the costs of rent and bills. Tenants or landlords will advertise when they have spare rooms available. But the good ones tend to get snapped up fast, and housemates will often want to meet you first, making this option hard to get organised before you arrive. You need to be prepared to arrange a viewing as soon as you see something you like.
There are plenty of places advertising rooms. Here are a few of them:-
www.roombuddies.co.uk – nicely designed easy to use website listing rooms for rent
www.spareroom.co.uk – the UK’s most popular house share website with a great tool to help you decide where to live. They also have a very app.
https://uk.easyroommate.com – another popular site offering rooms across the UK
https://www.facebook.com/LondonKiwis/ – Kiwis in London Facebook community page for New Zealanders living in London. Every Monday, there is a weekly flat hunting post where people advertise their spare rooms or flats
http://www.arrivehomes.com/ – a property letting company specialising in offering shared rooms for teachers and other professionals in London. There are no fees and all bills are included.
Note – think carefully about who you want to live with. House shares can be fun but you might not get much privacy. Make sure you find likeminded people who share similar kinds of lifestyles. It’s no fun living in a party house if you prefer quiet nights in, but it can feel quite restrictive if you’re very sociable but your housemates aren’t. If you’re a Kiwi or Aussie looking to share with mates, it’s not uncommon for the number of people staying to exceed the number of bedrooms. If you like to have time to yourself perhaps this is not the best option. But if you love to be sociable, then go for it!
Renting a whole house or apartment
If you want privacy or have a partner or family, renting a flat or house is probably your preferred long term UK accommodation option. Rental contracts are usually for a fixed 12 month period and are called Assured Shorthold Tenancy agreements. Often these contracts have the option of including a break clause at 6 months after which time either the tenant or landlord can terminate the contract early with 2 months notice.
Conveniently for those moving from overseas, most UK rentals are offered fully furnished. This includes all white ware, beds, sofas, tables & chairs etc and often includes all kitchen equipment.
There are a huge number of agencies offering long term rentals. Many of these are located within the area you want to live so it’s best to walk around and sign up with a few in your desired neighbourhood. There are also a number of UK property portals which list most UK properties currently available.
The best ones are:-
You can also find long term rentals listed in classified sites such as these below.
https://www.gumtree.com/property-to-rent – UK classified site with ads from agencies and individuals
http://loot.com/property/flats-to-rent/ – this classified site also publishes a paper edition
We also love this site which lets you find places to live based on your search criteria including price, size and commute time to work.
Essential info on renting in the UK
It’s important to organise references before you leave and bring with you – most places will ask for them. Ideally these should be from previous landlords, but if you don’t have these, try to get a couple of character references.
Unlike some other countries such as Australia and New Zealand, the tenant doesn’t usually pay an agency commission for securing a rental property. However, there are a few other fixed costs involved. Once you have found a property, you will need to pay for a reference and credit check. They cost around £50 to £100 per person respectively. Once cleared, you will need to sign the rental contract. There is usually an admin charge for arranging this of around £350. There are plans by the government to ban these tenancy fees, but at present they are still in place.
Most places ask for a 6 week bond and 1 month’s rent upfront. By law, your bond is protected in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme. Your landlord or agent will organise this. This government backed organisation will act as an objective and independent arbitrator should the landlord request any deductions. This makes it easier for both tenants and landlords to get disputes resolved fairly and money to be returned in a timely manner.
Once in the property, you will be responsible for setting up and paying for all utilities including gas, water, electricity, council tax, broadband and a TV license (unless otherwise stated in your rental contract). Your landlord is responsible for keeping the property in good repair and by law is expected to have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms fitted in the property. They also need to arrange an annual gas safety check to ensure all gas appliances are working properly. They will then provide you with a copy of the Gas Safety Certificate.
Checklist for moving into a long-term UK rental
- Ensure an inventory check is conducted when you move in
- Be aware of any faults and advise the landlord before signing the contract
- Check that your deposit is going to be protected in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme
- Ensure you have your landlord’s (or property manager’s) contact details should you need to get in touch