Checklist to Rent an Apartment in the UK as an Immigrant Family

To arrive in the UK there is a lot of planning and hard work needed. The first thing that an immigrant does is renting an apartment. It is obviously an expensive and time-consuming task for the person specially who has never lived in the UK before. There are various factors that we need to keep in mind before renting the apartment. The apartment should be affordable, researching the neighbourhood to provide documents, facilities available nearby.

Actually, there are minimal restrictions and various accommodation options are present in the UK but it depends on our choice. There is one good thing for the immigrant that the landlord cannot deny the rental application based on the country of origin, religion, age or status.  One more thing is rent, the process of renting and contracting all these remains the same for an immigrant and UK citizen both. But sometimes for having a check on the financial stability of an immigrant extra documents need to be provided.

Before exploring you must decide the type of accommodation you want for rent. The various types of accommodation available in the UK are apartment, condominium, rooming house, house, bachelor unit.

Rental Apartment UK

1. Exploring options:

There are some online websites available to rent an apartment in the UK, it makes the task easier than ever before. On the website the person can directly contact the landlord. A virtual tour of the apartment is also available on the website. If you like the apartment and are ready for terms you have to submit a custom offer, and if you are very sure about the apartment you can e-sign the rental agreement and seal the deal.

It will save your time and paperwork also, but be aware of scams. It is quite possible that it is fake or fraud and you will lose your money you have submitted as security deposit. As with any international travel, newcomers typically book their initial stay prior to arrival.

 2. Setting of budgets:

Obviously, everyone is looking for a beautiful apartment from where you can easily access other facilities. But as an immigrant you can lose all your money on a highly rented apartment unless you are able to afford it. Normally, the rent in the UK is high even for a normal apartment. That is, setting your budget is a good choice. First, set your target on how much can be spent on a new rental in a comfortable way. Because along with the rent there are other expenses that you need to pay which are moving expenses, Parking fee, mobile bills, internet, other utilities bill like water bill, electricity bill etc. the Rent can differ based on a number of factors such as the neighbourhood, size of the unit, demand-supply of rental units, amenities and utilities included, etc.

3. Neighbourhood and Parking:

If we concern about neighbourhood, it must be a safe, noise free, commute time to core downtown/city centre or major business hubs, Monthly travel costs, Proximity to schools, your workplace, grocery stores, transportation, shopping malls, places of worship, etc and comfortable area, where you can live without fear and feel ideal place to live. Because you may be new to the place. You can talk to the neighbours or police to get a feel for the area or to get a better picture of the neighbourhood’s safety and any unobvious problems associated with the area. 

Parking is a crucial aspect in renting. There must be parking spots available in your locality so that you do not have to park on the street. Also ask for the parking rules from the landlord.

4. Read the lease properly before signing:

Some immigrants are very excited about the apartment and in hurry or excitement they do not do the lease carefully. You must read it patiently and carefully. Little nervousness, excitement and joy is obvious but still do not forget this lease is a legal contract between you and the landlord. It must include important information about the property and landlord. It should include the monthly amount due, when it is due, the pet policy, modes of  late fees. Your lease agreement is an important document and should be kept safely. You may need it for other administrative tasks such as applying for a driver’s license, getting provincial insurance, etc.

5. Documents required to Rent an apartment in the UK:

As mentioned above in the article the process to rent an apartment is the same for locals and foreigners. As we are talking about immigrants, so the below list of documents must be with the immigrant:

  •   Id proof (passport, id proof)
  •   Employment Id proof (Offer letter from your current job)
  •   Bank statement
  •   References from previous landlord
  •   Proof of immigration status

6. Obtaining a credit report:

It takes at least a few weeks to a month for newcomers to receive their first UK credit card and a few additional months of credit transactions to generate a credit history. However, there are credit rating organizations available in the United Kingdom.

Credit Report UK Citizen

Due to reasons related to credit history and employment proof, many newcomers find it challenging to secure rental places in major cities because many landlords demand that. It may be possible that you need to hire a realtor or real estate agent. There are many realtors and real estate agencies that can assist you in finding a place. Good thing about realtors is that you do not need to pay commissions to the realtor; commissions are paid by the landlord, not the tenant. It is time saving and stress free too.

7. Set up transfer of any utilities

The immigrant required some utilities like hydro may need to be transferred to your name from the past tenants or from the landlord.

While shortlisting, here are some questions you may want to ask the landlord and/or realtor. The questions are breakdown of rent, pets, guests’ policy, interior decoration rules, lease duration, move-in date, acceptable payment methods for rent etc. Also, there are some tenant’s rights and obligations with which you must be aware like Rules on rent increase, the government sets a limit that’s subject to change every year. I hope this article helps you in your many questions if you are thinking of temporary or permanent residence on rent in the UK.

Charu decided to unite her Honors Degree in New Media and lifetime of geekiness to pursue a career in tech and gaming journalism. You can usually find her writing about a variety of topics and drooling over new gadgets and games.