Our Students Services Department has put together the following advice to help those of you who wish to rent private accommodation.
Finding a property
This section provides information on letting agents, property search websites, newspapers and accommodation agencies as well as useful tips for using these services safely.
In London, one of the most popular places to start searching for
a house or flat is in the LOOT newspaper or website.
Do be aware that anyone can advertise their property for rent in LOOT and other journals, so naturally there are risks involved. On the other hand, from time to time, a little gem will appear that is just too good to miss!
If you like to take a less stressful approach to house hunting,
you could always sign up with an accommodation agency. There are a
few things you should bear in mind when using such an agency:
Before you approach an agency, work out how many people will be living in the house/flat and how much rent you can realistically afford.
It is illegal, under the Accommodation Agencies Act (1953), for an agency to charge you for registering with them or for supplying addresses of available accommodation, though they may charge a fee if they are instrumental in securing accommodation for you. This being the case, we suggest that you do not hand over any money (even if it is refundable), until you have found somewhere you are happy with. They are allowed to charge you for drawing up a tenancy agreement (see below), but do check that you are not paying too much (don't forget to ask if VAT is included). Always get charges in writing before you commit to a property.
You can check the agency you are using through ARLA (The Association of Residential Letting Agents). If they are they must have passed a rigorous check which means that you are in safe hands. Contact them on 0845 345 5752 or through their website.
We have compiled lists of letting agents in East and South East
London and Property Search websites. Some of these agents will have
a website, others advertise their available properties on a
Property Search website; however, the telephone is still the most
effective way to gain information on what is available.
South East London Letting Agents
East London Letting Agents
This downloadable guide covers everything that you need to be aware of before signing a contract for a property in London. This includes advice on topics such as public transport, personal safety, gas appliance safety regulations, fire safety regulations, your rights and a sample inventory checklist.