Relocating to London
A stress-free relocation to London
Since the summer of 2006, our Corporate & Relocation Services team has helped hundreds of people relocate to London. Our team of Account Managers are here to manage your property search from start to finish ensuring that our most experienced and senior negotiators look after your viewings and that you always have someone to call should you need any advice or have any questions. If you are moving to London and are unfamiliar with the area, we can advise you on suitable locations that offer, not only pleasant surroundings, but fit in with your budget and allow for an easy journey to work.
Relocating to London can be a daunting prospect, particularly if you are moving from abroad and are unfamiliar with London and the UK. The Account Managers in our Corporate & Relocation Services department work with people relocating to London from abroad every week and as a result they are experienced in the common concerns that can accompany a relocation. Your Account Manager will be in contact with you before you leave your home country to discuss the various aspects of your move to London as well as offering advice on suitable locations in London for you to consider, discussing properties, and arranging property viewings with one of our senior negotiators for when you arrive.
The process of renting a property in London may also differ from your home city, we can help you organise the necessary paperwork before you leave for London so you can arrive in the Capital safe in the knowledge you are prepared and ready to find your new home. Your Account Manager is on hand to organise and manage your search along with providing support every step of the way throughout the process and during your tenancy.
Your questions answered
Over the years we have experienced lots of different questions, requests and challenges so we thought it would be useful for people moving to London to include some FAQ's which we hope are useful to you:
Where should I live?
If you are not familiar with London and have not been recommended certain areas by friends or family then our area guide may help. It is a good idea to ask yourself some initial questions to help narrow down the options for example:
1) How long are you happy to spend commuting to work?
2) Do you want to be close to a certain school?
3) Do you need to be close to a specific tube stop, if so, how close?
4) Would you prefer a larger property that is less centrally located or a smaller property in a central location?
5) Would you like a quieter/residential area or somewhere close to lots of bars and restaurants?
Do I need to bring my furniture?
The vast majority of smaller properties including studios, one and two bedroom properties will be offered on a furnished basis. Larger properties with 3+ bedrooms will most likely be offered unfurnished. A furnished flat is likely to include main items such as beds, table and chairs, kitchen appliances, sofas and possibly kitchenware. It is not common for Landlords to provide ‘luxury’ items such as televisions, satellite/cable entertainment, sound systems or bed linen/towels. Unfurnished properties will contain the main kitchen appliances such as a cooker and a washing machine and possibly a dishwasher but this may be all.
How will I get to my office?
There are three main options: public transport (tube, bus, overland train), taxi, or to drive yourself. Taxis are not a particularly cost effective option and driving will incur parking costs and the daily congestion charge. If you live too far from the office to walk, it will be best to travel by public transport. By purchasing a monthly Oyster Card you will be able to travel on the tube, buses and overland trains as often as you like and it will cost around £100-120 per month (depending on the zones that it covers).
How long will it take to get to work?
This of course depends on where you live, how far you are from public transport and how well connected your area is. The longest commute time you can expect is around 45 minutes but the majority of locations that we cover should result in a quicker journey to work.
Are utility bills included?
If you are renting a ‘short let’ property (less than 6 months) then yes, most utilities will be included (except the phone line) but for long term rentals, utility bills will not be included in the monthly rent.
How do I set up my utility services?
Unless Marsh & Parsons are professionally managing the property for you this is something you will need to set up. Your Landlord will know the current or previous utility providers however Marsh & Parsons will supply a list of providers when we hand you the keys on the day of your move in.
How much should I budget for utilities?
This will vary depending on the size of the property, your usage, the season and the energy efficiency of the property. The essential utilities (gas, water, electric) will cost around £5-10 per person, per utility, per month. Non essential utilities (broadband, satellite/cable) can usually be bought as a package for somewhere in the region of £30-60 per month.
What is council tax?
This is a tax imposed on you as a resident to cover the cost of collecting household rubbish, keeping the streets in your area clean etc. The amount you will have to pay depends on where in London you live (different boroughs charge different amounts), the size of the property and how many people reside there. The charges do not differ greatly but there are a couple of notable exceptions such as Westminster City Council and Wandsworth Council both of which have particularly low council tax charges. The majority of the boroughs have similar charges of around £100 per month per household.
How long will it take to find a property?
Obviously every search is unique and some people find the right property on their first viewing whereas others need to see a range of places before making a decision but in general the majority of people view less than 10 properties before feeling confident with their choice.
How long before I can move in?
This will depend on when the property is available and the current tenants (if any) have moved out. If the property is vacant and all of the paperwork and moving-in funds are in order then in theory you could move into your new home within 48 hours.
Who looks after any maintenance issues for my property?
Your point of contact regarding any maintenance or repairs throughout your tenancy will either be the Landlord (or representative) or your Property Manager at Marsh & Parsons. You will be given contact details before you move in.
Where are the best schools?
There are many good schools both private and state run in London and the decision of which one is best for your family is of course highly personal, however we are happy to recommend schools according to location and reputation. You may find that a specialist Education and School Search Consultant (we would recommend Laidlaw School Searchin Barnes) would be best placed to offer you more detailed advice.
Can I bring my pets with me?
Absolutely! However, it is worth noting that some Landlords will not accept pets on personal grounds or they may be restricted due to an overriding ‘head lease’ of the building that houses the property. It does mean therefore that bringing a pet will decrease the number of properties available to you. In some circumstances, a Landlord may require an increased deposit (for example, 8 weeks rent in place of 6 weeks) to protect against any potential damage caused by your pet.
Where is the nearest hospital?
This will of course depend on your location but in most cases there is at least one hospital located within each London borough.
Who pays the Estate Agent’s fees?
In the UK the Estate Agent’s fees are paid by the Landlord. However, there will be an administration fee charged by the Agent to a tenant to cover the cost of drawing up your Tenancy Agreement and compiling the necessary paperwork for your tenancy and this cost will vary between Agents.
What paperwork is required to rent a property?
The Estate Agent will produce a Tenancy Agreement for your tenancy which will be signed by both you and the Landlord. You will also have to submit 3 main references:
1) An employment reference (on company headed paper) which should include your position, length of service and your salary information.
2) A previous Landlord reference to show that you have been a suitable tenant in the past and paid rent on time.
3) A character reference written by a friend or colleague to vouch for your suitability as a respectful tenant. It is worth noting that these references are subject to the Landlord’s approval and can sometimes take a few days to obtain therefore if you can have your references pre-arranged and ready you will be in a better position to secure your property.
What payments will I need to make before moving in?
You will be issued with a statement of account detailing the various charges you will need to pay, this will include:
1) The administration fee (taken at the point your offer has been verbally accepted).
2) Rent for the first month.
3) The deposit which is equal to 6 weeks rent.
4) The cost of an independent check-in clerk checking the condition of the property and the inventory at the start of the tenancy (the Landlord is responsible for the check out costs).
5) There may also be reference agency charges if the Landlord wishes to conduct a credit check.
Who looks after my deposit and what is it for?
The majority of deposits are held by the Estate Agent as stakeholder. However, for rents below a certain threshold (£100,000 per year) the holder of the deposit must be a member of an insured scheme in accordance with government regulations. For annual rents exceeding this amount there is no obligation on the part of the party holding the deposit to be a member of an insured scheme. The deposit is taken to guard against any damage or dilapidations at the property which occur during your tenancy and any deductions taken from the deposit to cover repairs or replacements are agreed upon by both the Tenant and the Landlord. The majority of deposits are returned to the Tenant within 2-3 weeks from the end of the tenancy.
When should I start my property search?
The best time to get your search started is around 6 weeks before you wish to move. The majority of properties on the market are either vacant and in theory ready to move into straight away or will become vacant in 2-4 weeks. This timeframe will give you exposure to the highest amount of properties and if you are able to be flexible with your move-in date (either by being able to move earlier or later) you will be in a good position to secure your first choice property.