I have been renting in London for five years now and I’ve encountered a few issues during that time! I know that the problems I have faced renting in London aren’t uncommon at all. In fact, since my readers and I are alike, some of you might too, so I thought that it would be good to actually talk about them.
I moved to London when I was 18. Applying to student housing is easy, of course, the landlord knows what to expect. But when private renting, however, things get a little bit complicated when you’re young. Adam and I weren’t sure where we wanted to rent in London or what type of place we were going for so the first time we looked, we booked lots of house viewings! For the most part you can get a viewing without any questions, but there were a few times where we enquired after a property viewing and the landlord wouldn’t answer our questions without an interrogation. When we were asked about our age, we were always met with suspicion from landlords. Sometimes, even if you earn enough, a landlord will ask you to go with a guarantor simply because you’re young, they’re ageist and they don’t trust you.
Being in a relationship
Unless you have a very high salary, it’s hard to rent a nice place in London without being part of a unit. When you are young and on the average wage, a roommate is necessary to cover the full rent! Sharing the costs makes renting much more manageable! Adam and I have a much easier time than most because whatever the rent, we only pay half each. But being in a relationship and not being married has its drawbacks. We’ve had three landlords question us on our relationship before letting us put an offer in. They have asked us how long we’ve been together and how we met. On the one hand, I try to understand where they’re coming from – they don’t want us to break up and leave them high and dry without tenants. But mostly, these are private questions and it makes me mad to have my relationship scrutinised.
Having pets has been an issue when renting in London every single time we have put an offer forward. Estate agents are conniving at best. Before I even book a viewing, I always ask the estate agent if the landlord of the property accepts pets and they always say yes! We view the property, we love it, we want to place an offer and then when the interrogation begins and they find out we have pets they freak out. ‘The landlord regretfully will not have pets in the property’. I was once told I could bring two pets with me but not three. What were they expecting us to say? ‘No worries, I’ll bring my favourites, that one was getting annoying anyway!’?
The best way to overcome having pets is honestly just to bribe them. Aim to always have a couple thousand pounds more than the security deposit when you look to move house with your pets. Then, when the landlord says he won’t allow pets, appease them by offering to pay more of a security deposit, should they be anxious about potential damages. It’s a really expensive pain but there it is.
Landlords become a bit hot under the collar when you say you are self-employed. Even if you know that you’re financially stable and earning enough to cover the rent and living expenses, they won’t trust you. Some landlords don’t accept the self-employed at all. Some ask you for a few years of tax return documents to see your earnings in writing. Others straight up just want a guarantor. It is a pain but it’s still workable, especially if you’ve been at it a year or more, or have someone willing to vouch for you.
If you’re looking to rent with any of these drawbacks, I hope this was helpful. If I can get a house, as a young self-employed person in a relationship with three pets, so can you!