London is a city brimming with opportunity, and bustling with residents. More professionals relocate to the capital every year, and often the biggest obstacle to their relocation is finding affordable, convenient, and suitable accommodation.
With a current population of over 9 million, it’s understandable that the London rental market is fiercely competitive, often requiring immediate decisive action when a prospective tenant finds a suitable apartment. Further, with rental pricing increases on a steady incline, more tenants are opting for studio apartments as a way to save on monthly rental costs, without sacrificing their London living experience.
We are dedicated to helping you find the best studio apartments for your stay in the capital. Whether it’s your first time renting in London, or you’re a seasoned traveller looking for budget-friendly ways to secure your spot in the city, our blog will outline five simple steps you can take to find your perfect studio flat.
What is a furnished studio apartment?
A studio apartment is a self-contained flat, with one room that serves multiple functions. A studio apartment is also often referred to as a bachelor flat or bedsit.
London planning guidance stipulates that the minimum size for a studio apartment is 38 square feet. Pricing for London studio apartments is often reflective of the condition of the apartment, it’s location and size, as well as the inclusions the monthly rental offers.
Many studio apartment providers supply essential furnishings included in the monthly rental price. This typically includes a bed, sofa, television, and some white appliances. It’s a good idea to confirm with your prospective landlord or letting agent which furnishings are included in your apartment, to help you determine your affordability and give you an indication of how well-priced the offer truly is.
The Pros & Cons of Renting a Furnished Apartment
If you are looking for a convenient rental option for your working visit to London, you might want to consider a furnished apartment.
The pricing range for furnished studio apartments will differ based on a few variables including location, how much furniture is included, whether or not utilities are included in the monthly rental, and of course, the condition of the furnishings and the apartment itself.
There are undoubtedly some pros and cons of renting a furnished apartment, which we will go on to discuss below:
Advantages of a furnished apartment rental
Lower moving-in cost: Budgeting for essential furniture can quickly become a considerable cost when you’re moving into an apartment. By choosing a furnished apartment, you’ll save immediately in the short term.
Ease of relocation: By having your apartment furnished when you move in, you won’t need to worry about the cost and time it will take to arrange a moving company to transport your own furniture.
Ease of decorating: No need to worry about finding the right size bed to fit into your bedroom, and no need to worry about colour coordinating your sofa fabric to your apartments colour palette.
Flexibility: Furnished apartments are often marketed as short-term rentals or short lets, making them the ideal option for renters who are relocating for work purposes, as well as students, or even those looking for affordable accommodation for when they are renovating their home.
Furnished apartments offer the ultimate convenience and practical solution to potential tenants who need the flexibility of “lock up and go” accommodation.
Disadvantages of a furnished apartment rental
The maintenance responsibilities are yours: Any damage that occurs during your tenancy will be your responsibility to fix. You may be liable for fees to repair the damage (if the damage was your fault) or in severe cases, you may need to replace the damaged item.
Potentially higher monthly cost in comparison to unfurnished rentals: A furnished apartment will save you a large upfront spend when you move in, but bear in mind that some furnished apartments may be slightly more expensive on a month-to-month rental basis when compared to the monthly price of an unfurnished apartment.
How to find a furnished studio apartment in London
Now that you’ve decided to opt for a furnished apartment, there are a few considerations to take into account before signing on the dotted line. We will detail these below:
1. Decide on a specific location
Location plays a huge role in pricing and livability. Our prestigious Pimlico location offers our residents the best of both worlds: being conveniently situated in the heart of one of London’s up and coming cities, with a far lower price tag than neighbouring areas such as Mayfair.
If this is your first time renting in London, it’s a good idea to do some research surrounding your prospective new neighbourhood, simultaneously accounting for the travel time you’ll need to allocate for your daily work commute. Pimlico is located outside of the congestion zone - a major benefit for residents and tenants alike who are trying to save money on their regular commutes. We are on the doorstep of Pimlico Station, giving our residents unbridled access to travel through all of London’s boroughs.
2. Get your documents ready
Regardless of where you will be staying during your relocation to London, or for how long, the documentation requirements remain the same.
You will need the below documents to satisfy the Right to Rent check that all landlords and letting agents are obligated to conduct on prospective tenants. These documents include:
- Reference letters: One reference from your employer, along with one reference from a previous landlord or letting agent will suffice. This helps the prospective landlord or letting agent determine your previous tenancy behaviours, and confirm that you are currently employed and will continue to be employed during your tenancy.
- ID Documents: Typically accepted formats include passports and driving licences. There are two important aspects to consider for identity verification. Firstly, you will need to supply any VISA or permits that indicate your right to reside in the UK, if you are an international traveller. These supporting documents will need to be supplied in conjunction with your main identity document. You will also need to provide identity documents for all adults whose name will appear on the lease.
- Proof of income: Supplied in addition to your employer reference letter, your proof of income is typically supplied in the form of a payslip. This will assure prospective landlords and letting agents that you can afford the monthly rental, and reiterate your employment status.
- Proof of address: Although typically in the format of a current or previous tenancy agreement, proof of address documents are also generally accepted in the format of past bills showing your current address. This assists prospective landlords and letting agents in confirming your tenancy history, and provides concrete assurance of your current rental status.
3. Find out about the furnishings
Ensure you are happy with the condition of the furnishings that are included in your rental, and make sure you understand your responsibilities surrounding their maintenance. Ask the prospective landlord or letting agent what course of action you would need to follow, for instance, in the case of a white appliance (like a fridge or washing machine) that stops working.
Some landlords or letting agents are happy for the tenant to undertake the responsibility of minor repairs, while others strictly require any maintenance work to be arranged through them.
Understandably, you will be accountable for returning the furnishings in the same condition you received them. It’s a good idea to take some pictures to confirm the condition of your appliances and furniture on your move-in day.
Some tenants opt for a furnished apartment but wish to bring along their own specific items, such as their favourite mattress. You must confirm if this is allowed, in writing wherever possible, before arranging a moving company to bring your furniture to you.
4. Make sure you view the apartment in-person
Always view your prospective apartment in-person. Get a good look around at the layout, and pay close attention to the condition of fittings - such as windows and door locks.
Take a picture of the apartment if possible. This will give you a great point of reference to refresh your memory a few days after viewing and will help you get a true sense of how practical the space is for you.
You might want to chat with some neighbours to get a better understanding of how they’ve experienced their tenancy. Ask them about the facilities, maintenance teams, and in general, you can enquire how they find the neighbourhood. It’s a great way to introduce yourself and make communal friends!
Viewing your apartment in person also allows you to determine the real-life situation in terms of traffic, noise levels, and the immediate surroundings.
5. Understand your rental agreement
It’s always recommended to comb through your rental agreement or tenancy agreement and familiarise yourself with any wording you might not fully understand. Be sure you agree with and accept the terms, and comprehend your rights and responsibilities as they are outlined in the agreement.
If there is anything you’re unsure of, you should ask your landlord or letting agent to clarify it for you well in advance.
Take note of the following important aspects to look out for in your tenancy agreement:
- Deposits: be sure you can afford the required deposit, and ensure a value is allocated to it. Often, tenancy agreements stipulate “five weeks rent” as the deposit amount. In this instance, you should do some basic calculations and confirm if your final figure is in line with theirs. Perhaps most importantly on the deposit aspect of a rental agreement, is that the letting agent or landlord confirms that your deposit will be securely held in a “Tenancy Deposit Scheme” - as mandated in legislation.
- Utilities: Your tenancy agreement will stipulate if utilities such as gas, water and electricity are included in your monthly rental amount.
- Rent payment dates: Ensure a specific date is allocated for when your rent will be due each month. You might be required to set up a debit order.
- Your responsibilities for repairs: From minor repairs to major issues, be sure you are clear who the responsibility lies with - and what steps you need to take if you are required to repair or replace damaged items.
- Any verbal agreements must be included on the written tenancy agreement in order to be upheld. If, for example, your landlord or letting agent has verbally agreed to allow pets, ensure this is reflected on the document you sign.
- Notice period: Ensure there is a documented notice period, and understand what your responsibility is for providing notice. Some landlords or letting agents may require it in writing.
This list is not exhaustive, and you should seek official advice if you are unsure of any aspect or section of your tenancy agreement.
Your furnished apartment awaits
Whether you’re considering a furnished apartment as a way to save money, or you’re simply looking for a level of convenience that allows greater flexibility for your stay in London, we have the perfect solution for you.
We are committed to helping you find the most affordable, practical, and enjoyable apartment - regardless of how long you need to stay. You will have access to our incredible on-site amenities, which offer not only an unmatched level of convenience - but will help you to keep costs low.
Instead of commuting to a local gym, you can pop downstairs and enjoy our state-of-the-art gym facility, equipped with tennis & squash courts that you and your guests can enjoy, too.
Our Moroccan spa offers luxury at your doorstep - no need to worry about finding a local salon or beautician - just book yourself in for your favourite treatment, without leaving the building.
Dolphin Square’s bar and grill provides the culinary delights you might want after a long day when you simply don’t feel like cooking.
Why not book a viewing to get a better idea of the lifestyle you can expect when you choose Dolphin Square? Our team is available to chat or arrange a viewing at a time that suits you best.
We look forward to welcoming you to Dolphin square!