Finding accommodation in London: pitfalls to avoid

Finding accommodation in the English capital can be a painful experience. It is not uncommon to come across scams and scams of all kinds, here are some tips to avoid the drama

apartment in london

Beware of “tempting” ads

“Double room, clean, two minutes walk from Hyde Park, £500 per month, all bills included”. If you see these kinds of ads, run away! Rent that is too cheap for a rather chic neighbourhood should be immediately alerted.

A visit is essential!

It is therefore imperative to visit the room, studio or apartment you wish to rent. It is essential to be there. If it is not possible to visit by yourself, ask a friend or acquaintance to go in his place. This is the best way to see the condition of the home first-hand. Be careful not to pay any money before visiting, as some owners or agencies may ask for deposits to book the room. If it is an agency that has been recommended because it has already been tested, why not. But it is possible that the person who recommends it to us may be commissioned by the agency or the owner to promote it on the Internet.

Check the essentials

Once on site, attention should be focused on important elements. The pressure of water in the toilets for example, the absence of mould on the walls (buildings in London are often old, editor’s note), insulation, noise, transport and shops nearby… Ideally, if there are any, the flatmates should be present during the visit to be able to ask them questions.

Paying rent in cash, yes, but….

It is true that in London, it is common practice to pay rent in cash. However, the tenant must request written proof of payment – do not hesitate to ask the agency or the landlord for an invoice – if the rent is paid in cash. It is also best to have a rental contract.

Social networks for a call for help

Facebook posts dozens of groups related to real estate in London, it is more than frequent to see posts of people seeking advice on housing in the English capital. Support, exchanges of experience, scam alerts… The social network is a real tool for those who have questions. Asking questions, asking for a visit, can be ways to avoid scams.

Once the contract is in hand

It should be read before signing it. It is a matter of paying attention to all clauses. Deposit and where it will be kept (normally blocked on a government account), first rents to pay, duration of the lease, invoices included or not (including housing tax, council tax in English)… Do not neglect any detail!