If you’ve got a big move to Britain looming on the horizon, and you’re not in a position to immediately purchase property when you arrive, then renting will be the obvious option.
It’s a bad idea to assume that just because you’ve rented elsewhere in the world, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge and know-how you need to become a tenant in the UK without any issues.
With that in mind, here are a few points to take on board as a prospective renter which should avoid you from encountering any nasty surprises.
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A lot of people conflate the property market in London with the UK as a whole, but you’ll probably get the impression that renting is exorbitantly expensive if you’re only judging it by the capital.
The reality is that there are lots of great places to live and work across England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland, many of which are far more affordable than the South East, without sacrificing the quality of life or other prospects.
For example, there are beautiful properties in Manchester that leave you close to the heart of this vibrant, historic and economically significant city, and are a fraction of the price of an equivalent apartment in London.
There are a few legal rights and protections that you’ll have if you are a renter in the UK, and it’s worth getting to know these so you can avoid any potentially underhanded actions by the landlords and letting agencies you might encounter.
For example, landlords are required to keep their properties in a good state of repair, and this includes adhering to things like minimum requirements for insulation so that tenants are not faced with steep costs for utilities.
You are also able to contest rises in rental payments that you deem unfair, and also fight unfair eviction, although on the other hand there are rules that you have to adhere to as well if you want to avoid falling foul of the authorities.
You’ll need to pay Council Tax to the local council in your area, and you have a duty to look after the property as much as possible, to prevent it from falling into disrepair through mere neglect. Maintenance costs are generally borne by landlords, but if you damage a property yourself, you might have to pay.
This is an interesting point to note, and one that is probably not all that surprising if you think about the size of the UK as a whole and its historic nature. In terms of the average amount of floor space you get in a property, it sits well down the list compared with other developed countries, especially if you want to rent in a city.
From compact apartments to small yet perfectly formed traditional terraced houses, there is not as much room in many British homes as you might hope, especially if you are moving in from elsewhere. A typical UK abode has around 826 square feet of floor space to offer, which is a pittance compared with the 2407 you get on average in the US.
You can find many large homes in the UK of course, but whether you are renting or buying, you’ll need to be prepared to pay extra for that space.
You should be pretty well prepared for what the rental experience has to offer to tenants who are bound for Britain, but if you have any other issues, working with a reputable property agency is worthwhile.