Have all your paperwork with you and ready to go.
It’s a good idea to get all your paperwork together beforehand so that you can move on with the process quickly once you find your new home. If you have the paperwork with you while you’re viewing apartments, you can put in the application right away.
Landlords typically require an applicant to earn annually 2.5 times the monthly rent, so if you’re looking at a rent of £1000 per month, you’ll need to be earning at least £30,000 per year. If your income does not meet the threshold to qualify on your own, Keep calm! Most landlords will allow you to use a guarantor. A guarantor is someone who promises to pay the rent of the apartment if the applicant tenant(s) are unable. The guarantor will need to provide the same paperwork as an applicant, provide proof of income typically 3 times the monthly rent.
Many landlords will accept additional security deposits and/or rent paid in advance instead of a guarantor. Do not be surprised if you are asked to put up extra security or rent, this is common with any applicant considered a risk for any of the reasons mentioned above.
All tenants whether employed or self-employed and guarantors must go through credit checks and full referencing. If you are not sure about your credit rating we recommend you check the current status of your credit status to find out if there are any items that might prevent a successful completion of your application.
If your credit score is low, don’t despair! It’s often possible to work with a landlord, either through a guarantor and/or additional securities.
- Official Photo ID: You’ll need to have your driver’s license, passport, or other government issued ID.
- Proof of income: Letter from your accountant. Must be on letterhead and signed by the accountant, stating year to date income and projection for the year. Additional information like length of employment, line of work, and how long this accountant has represented you can be considered helpful.
- Bank Statement: 3 most recent bank statements or detailed letter from your banker stating how long the account has been open and the account balance.
- Landlord reference letter: All management companies will request a landlord reference letter. The letter should come from the managing agents or from the landlord.
- Self Assessment Tax returns: Tax returns might be required by some landlords.
What is your preferred area?
When choosing an area there are many things to consider, such as school district, proximity of public transportation, availability of parking among others. Which of these is most important to you? Which ones don’t you care about? If a quick commute is most important to you, it makes sense to live in the same area as your job. Considerations such as supermarkets and pharmacies and access to public transportation are easy to lose track of in the excitement of finding your new home.
Needs Vs. Wants: Prioritize
Do you want to rent in a new build or conversion? If you’re living alone, you can probably settle for a studio or one bedroom, but if you have roommates or a family, obviously you’ll need a larger space. If you do have roommates, make sure that everyone has their paperwork in order and that you’re all there to look at the property.
Identify the apartment features and amenities that are non-negotiable for you
Do you need a washer/dryer or dishwasher, or do you have your own? What size apartment would you like vs. what do you really need? Light, kitchen space, elevator buildings, and concierge all can raise the rent. If you have pets, think of them too. While cats are generally not a problem for most landlords, there are some landlords who will not allow any pets in their buildings. If you have a dog, even a small dog, it will considerably narrow the amount of apartments that you will be able to see. If you have a large dog, the number will become even smaller and you might need to provide a pet deposit.
What can you comfortably afford? Be realistic and remember, you need to show income of 2.5x times the annual rent. Keep in mind that rent can vary considerably depending on amenities and location, and the time of year. Spring and summer rents are more expensive than in winter months.
You’ll have the best chance of finding something you like with your move-in date no more than a month away. Tenants should be ready to move-in to their new rental property within 7-10 days after securing the property.