With about 850,000 households in London renting a home in the private sector, competition for ideal properties is among the most intense in the UK.
But with the Office for National Statistics reporting that rents rose five times faster than the average tenant’s income between March and May 2015, how can you rent an affordable home?
Here are 3 ways to find a rental property in London that will leave you with enough money to pay the bills and put food on the table at the end of the day.
1. Widen your search area. While everyone would like to live in the most fashionable areas of London, letting agents in Croydon and other parts of the capital not on the Tube network report growing interest in properties that were previously considered unsuitable.
Just as housebuyers are prepared to pay an average of 10.5% more for a home that is 500 metres or less from a Tube station, landlords use this information to increase the rent they charge for similar properties.
But Londoners do not just rely on London’s Tube network to get around the city. Almost every London borough has direct links to a mainline railway station in the centre of the city, while the Tramlink between Wimbledon and Beckenham makes getting around south London much easier.
2. Reduce your demands. A two- or even three-bedroom property might provide a useful spare room for putting up weekend guests, storing clothing that won’t fit in your wardrobe or to put your keep-fit equipment in, but is it worth the extra expense?
West Hampstead estate agent Paramount Properties, for example, has recently advertised two properties for rent in the NW6 postcode. The landlord of a two double-bedroom duplex apartment was asking £1647 per calendar month compared with a nearby studio that had an asking price of £1408 per calendar month.
The £239 saving is more than enough to cover your monthly transport costs or utility bills and leave some money left over to enjoy a cut-price night out in London.
3. Consider splitting the costs. With the average London salary reported to be £34,916, anybody earning under that amount – and many tenants who have just started out on the career ladder are earning salaries closer to £24,000 than £34,000 – could further trim their living costs by sharing a house as far out as Zone 5 or 6.
While the going rate for a room in a shared house is about £1,000 per month, that can fall to as low as £500 in less fashionable districts, according to research from SpareRoom.co.uk.
The director of SpareRoom, Matt Hutchinson, says that rooms in south-east London are among the cheapest in the capital. For example, the average cost of a room in Abbey Wood, which is in Zone 4, is £503, while other more affordable areas include Plaistow, Chingford and Manor Park.
It’s a competitive market
With property prices in London soaring over the past 10 years, the number of tenants has soared from 2.5 million to 4.8 million, according to London newspaper The Evening Standard. This means there is a lot of demand, and as a result you will need to be quick when you find somewhere suitable.
Good properties get snapped up quickly, so be ready to make a commitment as soon as you find a property you like the look of.
Find your perfect rental property
Renting can be a great option in London. You are provided with the flexibility to move with greater ease should a new job opportunity come up, and it is the perfect option if you are not in a situation to buy.
Use these tips start looking for your next place to live, and you will soon find a place that is suitable for you.