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Avoiding the scammers

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The Rental Market is at its hottest!

Meaning: increased desperation, demand & more scams

London is one of the most competitive rental markets in the world. With the slow down in the housing market the increase in demand for rental property is at its highest level in years.

Fraudulent Listings 

Imagine browsing rental offers and coming across a flat that looks and sounds just perfect! One too good to be true. Well.. it probably isn’t.

Fake listings can be as real as legitimate housing. That’s because scammers publish misleading offers by copying.. real listings. Surprise, surprise!

Fraudsters just change the contact information, add more appealing details, and lower the price to paint a dream spot that would lure a victim.

Signs to look out for, to identify & avoid a housing scam:

  1.  Missing key components in the ad, such as the full address, photos, history.

  2. Weird bonuses, such as free moving boxes, packing help, free relocation services, or anything that’s too good to be true.

  3.  A cheap price. It’s a good idea to do some research on market prices in the same area for comparison to determine if the listing price is actually fake or you’re just after property in one of the cheapest areas in London.

  4.  No background or credit checks included in the ad. Scammers skip this when creating the listing so they attract the attention of more prospective renters, even those with a smaller credit score or someone with a criminal background.

  5.  A landlord refusing to show you the place. Often, their excuses are that they are out of town or dealing with a family emergency. It is also a red flag when they don’t agree, even to a virtual property tour.

  6. A landlord demanding for you to pay the deposit immediately without papers for chores like end of tenancy cleaning. They will explain that there is high interest in the unit and that you will need to put in your down payment as soon as possible to reserve the place. Never give money to a landlord unless they show you the place and you have a legitimate contract.

Think about where you need to go.

Living somewhere that is a convenient commute can make a HUGE difference in London life. During peak travel hours, public transportation is extremely crowded. Living somewhere in London that is a convenient commute to work or school can make a big difference.


Finding your first London home

One of the key things you need to have is a credit rating and a bank account. If you are still in Canada and don't have a UK bank account. Speak to our team at HSBC Expat and be ready when you arrive.

London has 32 local authorities each have their own council tax and the rates vary So it's worth researching all the baseline costs. Be prepared to pay 6 months up front if you do not have a UK credit rating. 

UK Gov how to rent guide

The market moves very quickly and is expensive in comparison to the rest of the UK. Flats you visit are often already leased within the day, so you have to be quick.

Large flat and house hunting sites are great to find areas that fit your price range. Setting up alerts in areas that you want to live, can let you know as soon as property comes on the market. If you’ve narrowed down what neighbourhood you want to live in, contact estate and letting agents in that area. Neighbourhood agents know as soon as properties hit the market. They can connect you with exactly the type of property you are looking for before it’s even listed online.

Top sites to search for Properties: - Private landlords


Hackney Wick Spaces

Pet Friendly Rentals.

Pet related tips

Transporting Your Pet.

In the UK it is rare to have bills included with a property rental.

If you are renting a room, beware of any sublets, we strongly advise against this, as your deposit will not be protected, and you may have no rights whatsoever should the main tenant be evicted.

If you are renting a flat, it will likely be owned by a private landlord and rented either directly or via a local agent. Agents are not permitted to charge tenants any fees, your deposit must be registered in a deposit protection scheme and you will be given a certificate.

Thinking of bringing your pet?

If you are thinking about bringing a pet from Canada, think very hard, it will exclude you from flat shares or rooms, meaning you will only be able to rent an entire flat and it will wipe 80% of your choices off the market straight away. 

Pet related tips pet friendly rentals. transporting your pet.

You should also remember that property tours tend to be during traditional working hours and letting agents will not do a tour later than 6:30. Be sure to let your work know you’ll need to leave early/arrive late while completing your property hunt.

Walk around the areas you’re interested in and look for “To let” signs

It may seem counter-intuitive but this can be a great way to find properties that are not listed online. It’s also wise to check newspaper classified ads and don’t shy away from ads written in all caps.

It could be that the landlord has a great property but is slightly older and not used to listing their property online. Some of the best flats to rent in London can be found this way.

If you find a place you like, move fast!

High demand means you need to make a quick decision to get a good place. If you like a place, chances are someone else will like it too. Be ready to place a holding deposit within a few hours of your visit because the best places can easily go on the market in the morning and be gone by the afternoon. The holding deposit is typically the first month of rent in advance so make sure you have that money saved upfront.

Don’t give up hope when searching for your new home, its a learning experience for everyone!

Determine what you can afford.

Living within your own means can make a big difference in finding the best place to live in London for YOU. Zone 1 might not be a very good place to live if you cannot afford anything other than your flat. A huge part of finding the best place to live is finding a place that fits your budget.

Decide what you want in your neighbourhood.
The best places to live in London vary a lot for different people. Some people are die hard park lovers. Others love being close to bars. Others want to have farmers markets. Knowing what makes a good neighbourhood for you is essential for your property search.

Popular premium areas

North London:
Primrose Hill

South London:
Crystal Palace
Herne Hill

East London:
Bethnal Green

Mile End

West London:

Shepard’s Bush

Notting Hill

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