Renting in London is vibrant, exciting and diverse - but it can be undeniably pricey. Depending on where and how you live, renters can find a 221% price difference between the most expensive and the most affordable properties.
Prime locations, good transport links and wanting to have more space are all likely to bring increased rent prices. In a city where rent can be as much as 72% of your monthly wage, this guide is designed to help you make the most out of your living budget and make choices that might save you some pennies.
For more information check out our essential guide to living in a London apartment.
Dolphin Square’s Top 5 Tips:
1) Research the Property Market
Research different areas and compare rental prices. More fashionable and trendy areas tend to be more expensive - but you can save some money by living in the borough next door to the trendy one and still have easy access to the same spots and style - for a fraction of the cost. As London is continually being developed, every area is up-and-coming, eventually.
When you’ve found where you want to be, check out similar properties in the same area to make sure that the price being requested is fair. If it isn’t, you can say so (politely) to the landlord, but be specific - if you just say that it’s too high they probably won’t come back to you with other options. Come to them with a specific figure, knowledge and evidence of why it’s more appropriate, there is a chance they’ll be a little more accommodating.
Be warned though. As it’s London and housing is in high demand at all times, don’t try to haggle too drastically if you really like a place. Chances are the next person will just pay it without asking any questions.
If you’re unsure exactly which area you want to live in, try to get it down to a shortlist of two or three, otherwise, you might get overwhelmed by the sheer number of properties available.
Consider different housing options, terraced houses or private flats aren’t the only places available, you could rent a houseboat, a caravan or live with a little more luxury and convenience by choosing an apartment with considerable on-site amenities.
You can also be savvy by choosing to go with a property provider who has multiple apartments in one building, as this will work out better value and they’ll pass the savings on to the tenants. Dolphin Square has apartments at great prices while being right in the heart of the city.
2) Find out what’s on offer
Rent prices aren’t the only thing to take into account when saving your pennies while renting. An apartment might seem more expensive than its competitors but it might be better value.
Does your rental have extras? For example a parking space? If so, you can save a lot on London parking, or if you don’t have a car, you could rent the space out.
Consider transport. Properties next to major Underground routes have considerably higher rent. You can save yourself money by being walking distance from places you go often, or make it less likely you’ll spend money on taking taxis when it’s raining if you’re near a transport link - so consider renting near a bus stop or an overground station.
Some types of accommodation have other amenities onsite. Dolphin Square has a state of the art Fitness Centre, spa and beautiful shared gardens - meaning you don’t have to spend time or money travelling to get your exercise.
What is the crime rate like in your area and what security does the property have? There’s no point celebrating how cheap your house is if it gets robbed all the time.
There are apartments in London which have increased security, either CCTV or actual onsite caretaking staff. Some apartments come with varying levels of security. At Dolphin Square, there is security to enter the building, on-site staff and a Duty Manager working 24 hours a day.
3) Uncover Hidden Charges
Requesting further information before signing the lease can ensure you don’t get stung by hidden costs.
In the competitive London rental market, letting agents can make or break your tenancy experience. Some of them will really help you and make sure things go smoothly for both sides without overcharging, Others will squeeze as much money out of you and the landlord as possible, imposing fraudulent fees and making the whole process far more complicated than it actually needs to be. Some of them are downright crooks.
Before going with an agent, read reviews and ask around to find out what other people’s experiences have been like. You can also go for accredited letting teams, for more peace of mind.
Know your rights and make sure you’re not being exploited.
4) Shared accommodation
London rent prices vary massively, for example, a one-bedroom flat can be anything from £900 to £1300 a month. If you’re looking to do things cheaply then you might want to consider a flatshare. This can bring your rent down to between £350 to £720 a month.
You would also be splitting the bills, which brings down monthly outgoings by up to 70%.
This might mean you can afford to live in a more upscale area or in a higher value apartment than if you were living alone.
5) Offer something in return
You might be able to offer practical skills for a rent reduction (helping with gardening, cleaning shared building spaces or helping with repairs and maintenance.. Make sure you don’t undervalue yourself, and remember that core repairs and maintenance is always a responsibility of the landlord and is a legal matter, so don’t offer to take it all on and get exploited.
If you’re not particularly handy there are other things you can offer a landlord. If you can provide some security and long term commitment this might sweeten the deal (if you’re a good and reliable tenant). Securing a 2-year tenancy is usually in the landlord’s interests, as they won’t have to spend money on fees to do and change paperwork, search for new tenants or risk having the property sit empty.
You could also offer to pay upfront for several months, which gives the landlord security and cash flow.
London is in the top 20 most expensive cities in the world, so it makes sense to save where you can, but that doesn’t have to mean sacrificing your comfort or standards. Check out what Dolphin Square has to offer to see how you can combine luxury and great value.