Let’s think about this: how much time do you need to find a rental property? If you begin looking too soon, you could find the perfect place, then realise the landlord won’t wait a few months until you are ready to move in. Should you start too close to needing to move, you might struggle to find the right place and risk having to find short term accommodation to tide you over. Let’s go through the ‘ideal’ timeline. If you don’t have this much time, it’s totally ok. Follow the whole of our Renting Guide and you’ll be just fine.
First: Decide on a moving in date. Will it be just after you move out of your current rental? More flexible because you’re leaving home? Do you need to be in a few days before starting a new job or at university? Where possible give yourself a couple of extra days where you overlap if you are moving out of one rental into another. This gives you time to setup in the new place while still being able to sleep at your old place – if you’re moving in London and it’s practical this helps ease the stress.
(normally certain date. start as early as poss: best is 3mths before, look 2mths before, have locked in by 1mth before, if 2 weeks before get serviced apt/ st let or other back up
3 months before – start researching Areas, use our guides, visit the areas, walk around and enjoy getting to know where you could live. If you start to like one area, try visiting the neighbouring area. You might find Notting Hill fun, yet pop over a few streets into Holland Park and you could find you get a bigger property with a better view, just 10minutes walk from the bustle of Portobello market.
Now start researching on the internet. Keep the search broad, follow our tips and gain a sense of what is out there in your price bracket. Begin signing upto email updates and compile a list of agents who offer lettings in your chosen areas. Put together your ‘wish list’ and your ‘must have’ list of property requirements.
2 months before – contact Letting agents and begin viewings. Take your time, follow our viewing guidelines, start filtering out streets and parts of areas you like and don’t like, then in the last 6 weeks before you’d like to move in only see properties that fit your exact criteria.
1 month before – it’s now time to find and agree on a property, negotiate the rent with the Letting Agent or Landlord. Get the credit and background checks completed (it’s for the agent or landlord to do this, but ensure they do it quick, so you have time to find something else if there are any issues). Speak to removal firms and arrange a provisional move date.
2-3 weeks before – sign contract, if the landlord or agent seems to be going slow or delaying, give them an ultimatum that unless a contract is presented to you and signed by the landlord within 48hours, you’ll look elsewhere. Start organising and packing your belongings, contacting services and friends to advise of change of address.
1 week before – final checks, ensure you have a signed contract, an agreed move in date. Check the property will be cleaned before you move in, any remedial works (including repairs and redecoration) carried out and contact your removal service to confirm times on the day. Arrange a time for the landlord or inventory agent to meet you on moving in day (or the day before) to go through all the checks before any furniture or belongings go into the property.
Move day – once you are in ensure you complete your moving in checks and have the landlord immediately remedy any issues you notice.