Renting a home in another country can be a little overwhelming but with a little guidance you can be sure to find a place you want to call home!
Finding appropriate housing in the UK can be a challenging aspect of relocating as there are many different aspects to finding a home, signing contracts and so on. Plus, rental prices will vary depending on the region or area (some parts of London are much more expensive than others) and the type of house you are looking to rent.
To help guide you through this exciting yet daunting process, Japan Letting Agency has created a useful guide with definitions and help to make the journey of finding a property much easier and more enjoyable.
There are various types of property available to rent in the UK and they each offer something different:
- Flats: i.e. apartments.
- Penthouse is a flat on the top floor of a tall building, typically one that is luxuriously fitted.
- Two-level flat: i.e. maisonette or duplex.
- Studio flats: typically combines a kitchen, bedroom, and living space in one open space.
- Converted flats: these are usually older houses which have been renovated and split into smaller flats.
- Detached houses: single houses which are not connected to another house or building.
- Semi-detached houses: coupled together with another dwelling via a wall on only one side.
- Terraced house: attached to other houses on both sides.
- End of terrace: at the end of a line of terraced houses. This has very similar properties and features to a semi-detached house.
- Cottage: seen in more rural areas; on farms and in the countryside.
- Bungalow: single-storey house, also detached from other houses.
- Mansion: typically consists of multiple large rooms, many floors, a large garden and typically with outbuildings etc.
Renting in the UK: what do you need to know?
Renting a house rather than purchasing one when you first relocate is preferable and far less hassle. Plus, landlords (owners of the flat/house) are responsible for most of the property’s upkeep; this makes your life much easier. This means they have a legal duty of care and must ensure that the rental property is maintained to a certain standard. The landlords are responsible for the following:
- the structure and exterior of the property (e.g.walls, windows, external doors and stairs);
- drains, gutters and external pipes;
- basins, sinks, baths and toilets;
- gas appliances;
- electric wiring heating; and
- hot water
Rental Process and Rules
Japan Letting Agent has a selection of rental properties in a variety of desirable locations across London. Once you have selected a property that suits your needs and requirements, had a viewing and made you ask any questions you may have, it will be time to sign a contract. Most contracts are for a year, at the end of which you can extend your stay. It is important that you read your contract carefully and in detail. Typically you will be asked to pay a deposit to ensure the property is secured which is usually the same amount as one month’s rent (although this is not always the case). You may also be asked for the following requirements and documents for renting so make sure you have all the documents to hand:
- Proof of ID
- Proof of legal work permit/visa
- Proof of earnings
- Letter of confirmation of employment from your employer
- Copy of employment contract
- References from previous landlords
Rental Contract and Deposit
It’s a good idea to ensure your contract has the following information:
- your (and your landlord’s) name and contact details;
- address of rental property;
- dates of beginning and ending of rental contract;
- rental fees with payment dates;
- dates and frequency of rental review;
- security deposit and conditions for getting it back;
- deposit protection scheme
- extra fees, if any are applicable
- who is responsible for which type of repairs; and
- subletting rules.
Make a list
You have signed on the dotted line and the ideal property is yours to enjoy. Before you move into your new home it’s a good idea to create an inventory of items in the house and their condition, taking photos can be a good idea if there are areas of wear or damage before you move in. This way you will make sure you get your deposit back when the tenancy is over.
Rights and responsibilities
As a tenant, you will have rights and responsibilities and it’s a good idea to read up on what’s what before you sign any tenancy agreement.
The UK’s government website offers really good advice on what’s expected of you as a tenant and what your landlord should be doing. When you rent a property as the tenant you have the right to live in a place that is safe and private and to be protected from eviction or rent that hasn’t been agreed. As the tenant of a property, you have the responsibility to take care of the property you’re living in, and pay the rent that you have agreed to pay.
Lastly, as a tenant, you will most likely be responsible for paying your utility bills. Some of them might be paid as part of the rental price but you will have to take care of the rest. Make sure to consider these payments in your monthly budget. The bills you will need to be aware of and budget for include:
- Council Tax
- TV Licence: this is a legal requirement if you watch, stream and record programmes on any device. Read more information here.
- Pay television services
- Miscellaneous and not applicable to all rentals:
- Service charges, ground rent (for leasehold properties), rentcharges (for freehold properties) (if applicable)—included in the rent
- Other charges, e.g. security alarms and cameras. It is best to check with the landlords and agents regarding possible charges.
For any queries regarding utilities and additional charges chat to your contact at Japan Letting Agent and they will be able to assist you.