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We’re experts in matching people and property and have been doing so for over 160 years. Throughout this time we have experienced lots of different questions, requests and challenges. So, we’ve put together a useful FAQs guide to help you move to London stress-free!
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 guides may help. It is a good idea to ask yourself some initial questions to help narrow down the options.
Try to think about:
Do I need to bring my furniture?
The vast majority of smaller properties such as studios, one and two-bedroom apartments will be fully or part-furnished. Larger properties with 3+ bedrooms are often unfurnished.
A furnished flat is likely to include main items such as beds, table and chairs, kitchen appliances, sofas and possibly kitchenware. It’s at the Landlord’s discretion whether they provide ‘luxury’ items such as televisions, satellite/cable entertainment and sound systems. 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.
When viewing the property, ask your negotiator if it is furnished or unfurnished and factor any furniture requests into your offer.
How will I get to my office?
There are three main transport options in London: public transport (tube, bus, overland train), a 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 £100-150 per month (depending on the zones that it covers). Alternatively you may opt to ‘pay-as-you-go’ which can sometimes be the cheaper option. Visit the Transport for London website for more details.
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 an hour, but it’s best to download the ‘Citymapper’ app to check your route when you’re viewing.
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 and internet) but for long-term rentals, utility bills will most likely not be included in the monthly rent.
How do I set up my utility services?
Unless Marsh & Parsons is professionally managing your property this is something you will need to set up. Your Landlord will know the current or previous utility providers and you’ll need to contact them directly to open an account.
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 £20-£60 per month.
What is council tax?
Council tax is a tax imposed on you as a resident to cover the cost of collecting household rubbish, keeping the streets and parks in your area clean and supporting local services such as policing and fire.
The amount of council tax you 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?
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. Generally, the majority of people view around 10 properties before feeling confident with their choice.
Our negotiators will take you on bespoke viewing tours, showing you a variety of properties that match your criteria, in order to make the process as quick for you as possible.
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?
This depends on whether your Landlord has opted for Marsh & Parsons to manage your property throughout your tenancy or not.
If your Landlord has instructed our property management service, the details of your assigned property manager will be given to you when you move in. They will be your first point of contact regarding any maintenance or repairs throughout your tenancy.
If your Landlord has decided to self-manage the property, you will be given their contact details before you move in. Marsh & Parsons will be in charge of collecting your rent, but all other aspects of your tenancy will be managed by your Landlord.
Where are the best schools?
London boasts a plethora of excellent schools throughout the city, both private and state-run. The decision of which one is best for your family is highly personal, however, we’re on hand to recommend schools according to location and reputation.
You may also find that a specialist Education and School Search Consultant (we would recommend Laidlaw School Search in 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, whether this is on personal grounds or due to restrictions on their building lease. This does mean that bringing a pet will decrease the number of properties available to you.
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. Your negotiator will be able to provide you with details on your viewing, so just ask!
Who pays the Estate Agent’s fees?
In the UK the Estate Agent’s fees are paid by the Landlord.
What paperwork is required to rent a property?
First of all, you will need to pass referencing, which will assess:
You may also be required to provide a proof of address or further information at the Landlord’s request.
Secondly, the Agent will produce a Tenancy Agreement which will be signed by both you and the Landlord.
Finally, you must pass ‘Right to Rent’ checks to prove your eligibility to rent in the UK.
What payments will I need to make before moving in?
You will be issued with a statement of account detailing the various payments you will need to make, this will include:
Who looks after my deposit and what is it for?
Deposits are paid prior to moving into a property and are used to protect the Landlord should any damage occur during the tenancy. If the tenants vacate and the property is not returned in the same condition, the Landlord can use money from the deposit to make repairs, before returning the remainder.
All deposits are held by a government-backed Tenancy Deposit Protection Scheme (TDS). Upon receipt, the Landlord or Letting Agent must provide details of the TDS to you within 30 days.
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.
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