London is like no other city in the UK. Sure, to begin with it’s bigger and more expensive, but it also has a diversity, vibrancy and a live and let live attitude that you’ll struggle to match. Once you get to London, all that means you should have a great time, but the most difficult part is finding an affordable apartment to rent in the first place.
There’s so much to think about when renting an apartment in London. For starters, you’ve got 32 boroughs to choose from, each the size of a small city in its own right. Then there’s the challenge of finding an apartment within easy reach of your work, with plenty of attractions and amenities nearby, and offers you more than just a room in which to live. And, with the average cost of renting an apartment in London currently clocking in at an eye-watering £1,832 per month, there’s also your budget to think of. So where do you start? Take a look at our guide.
Research Where You Want to Live
Probably the hardest part of the whole process is actually choosing where to live in London. The city can differ greatly from one borough to another, from quiet and leafy to loud and lively, so you must take the time to think about what you want from a home, then pair your requirements with the areas that might meet them. These guides are a good starting point if you want to read about the different boroughs and neighbourhoods in London.
The best areas to live in are likely to be very different from those that you might visit as a non-resident, so be sure to keep that in mind when doing your research. In terms of rental prices, the highest rents are typically found the closer to central London that you get. If you’re not sure how central an area is, take a look at the tube map. If the nearest tube station is in Zone 1, then you’re very close to central London, while Zone 6 is the furthest away.
Another important factor to consider is that in London, the public transport is generally so good that most people rely on buses, the tube and the city’s overground rail network to get around. That can make your proximity to good transport links, such as bus stops and tube stations, a very important consideration. However, although very few people drive, if you do own a car, you’ll need to rent a house or apartment with a parking space.
Wembley Park is an example of a location that ticks these very important boxes. Wembley Park tube station is in Zone 4 on the tube map, making the area more affordable, but thanks to its excellent transport links, with Metropolitan and Jubilee Lines and National Rail, it’s just 12 minutes away from Central London. It also has easy access to lots of green spaces, excellent local amenities including over 100 designer shops and restaurants, plenty of great pubs and bars, and importantly, you’ll be a part of a vibrant local community.
Don’t Stop at One Viewing
If you’re not really sure how to rent an apartment in London, the temptation can be to settle on the first nice place that you see, particularly when it’s accompanied by the usual letting agent spiel about how quickly it’ll be snapped up. But take a breath. It’s important that you’re not hurried into making a decision before you’re ready. You should always try to spend some time in the area so you can get a feel for it before you sign on the dotted line.
There are also plenty of questions that you should ask, and if you’re not satisfied with any of the answers, be prepared to walk away. For example, you will need to know:
- Who manages the property, what happens if something goes wrong and how quickly will any issues be resolved?
- How much is the rent, how should it be paid and what does it include? i.e. are bills included or extra and what additional services are included in the rent (gyms, concierge, etc.)
- Is the property furnished or unfurnished? If it’s furnished, what furniture does it include?
- Do you need to pay a deposit and how much is it? It’s also important to check that the deposit will be kept in a government-approved tenancy deposit scheme (ask for details).
- Are there any security features such as burglar alarms, security gates, CCTV cameras and lockable bike sheds? If the property is shared, then are there locks on the bedroom doors?
- Do you have access to any private or shared outdoor space and who is responsible for maintaining it?
- Check that the radiators work and make sure that the water pressure is sufficient as this can be a sticking point in London apartments.
- You should also check for any signs of moisture and condensation or damage that indicates that the property has not been properly maintained.
- If the current tenant is in the property or you see a neighbour on the way out, ask them about the other neighbours and the surrounding area.
Can You Decorate Your Rented Home?
Decorating a rented apartment can be a simple but very effective way to make it feel more like your own. However, there’s a problem. Not all landlords, in fact relatively few of them, will want you to make permanent changes to your rented home, even small alterations like mounting a television on the wall to give you more space or painting your bedroom a different colour.
The changes you can or can’t make will differ from one landlord to the next, so this is another important question to ask when viewing the property. Some may be willing, particularly if you’re agreeing to a longer lease, but they will usually ask you to return the property to its original state before your tenancy ends.
One of the most exciting things about the Quintain Living apartments in Wembley Park is that, whether it’s furnished or unfurnished, you can put your own stamp on the place to make it unmistakably yours. You can paint the walls, hang pictures and choose your own furniture, and there’s even a maintenance team on-site to help you make those changes. As long as you hand the apartment back as it was when you first got handed the keys, you’re free to make just about any changes you like.
Does Your Landlord Allow Pets?
Landlords in the UK used to have the right to prevent pets from their properties, but the good news for you and your beloved furball/goldfish is that thanks to a recent change, the odds are now stacked more in your favour.
The government’s standard tenancy agreement was updated in 2021 to allow tenants to keep pets by default. There’s also the newly proposed pet protection bill, which, if passed, will help responsible pet owners find suitable rental properties for themselves and their four-legged companions more easily.
If you want to rent an apartment with a pet in London, always ask your landlord first and get their agreement in writing. That should cover you if they change their mind at a later date. It’s also worth telling any letting agents straight away that you have a pet, so you don’t waste your time viewing apartments where Denise the Dachshund won’t be welcome.
There are no such worries at the Quintain Living apartments in Wembley Park, as we have pet-friendly apartments in all of our buildings. But it doesn’t stop there. Just as we provide top-quality facilities for our two-legged residents, we aim to do the same for your pets, with some of the best dog grooming services in West London only a short tube journey away.
Find a Landlord You Can Trust
Renting an apartment in London can be a tricky business because you never know who you’re dealing with. It’s fair to say that the majority of landlords try to do the right thing for their tenants, but there are some who are out to make as much money as they can while providing a minimum level of service.
Making sure your landlord provides you with a proper Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) agreement is a vital step. This key document sets out the length of the tenancy, how much rent you must pay and when, as well as the details of the deposit and the obligations of both parties. You should also check that your deposit will be protected in a government-authorised scheme and make sure your landlord provides an inventory that both parties agree on and sign.
At the Quintain Living apartments in Wembley Park, we offer secure and flexible tenancies with contracts from six months to three years and more. There’s also an in-building team that looks after the gardens and facilities and a tireless resident team that is ready to tackle any issues you may face
With the average cost of renting in London so high, paying a deposit equal to five weeks of rent can be a sticking point for many tenants. However, there’s no deposit to pay and no hidden fees for renting our Wembley Park apartments, so you can find a wonderful home in London for less.
Find out more about the benefits of renting a West London apartment with Quintain Living and explore our Wembley park apartments online.