Internationals looking for accommodation in the UK often find they are met with a mountain of obstacles that can seem impossible to overcome. Firstly obvious distance and language barriers can add extra confusions to an already confusing process. Then there is the small matter of trying to find a good location with, often, no previous knowledge of the area or choosing a reputable estate agent.
On top of all that once you have found accommodation, you will likely be asked to provide a UK guarantor. If you can’t, you may be asked to pay 6-12 months rent up front which if renting in London could easily be above £8,000! Take a look at our news section for information on what is a guarantor, who can be a guarantor and how to avoid paying rent upfront.
Help for internationals finding accommodation
Having demonstrated how difficult it can be for internationals looking to rent in the UK, Housing Hand UK Guarantor Service had to help. That is why we thought we would share some of our market experience with you.
Internationals using letting agents
Our first bit of accommodation advice that Housing Hand can share from our experience in the renting market is about finding letting agents. In busy city locations like London, Bristol, Manchester, Oxford, Cambridge speaking to letting agents directly is best. This is better than using ‘rental portals’ like rightmove and zoopla which can be useful for assessing what type of properties are in an area but often the newest properties are added after they have already been available for a couple of days.
If you speak to the letting agents directly, they will contact you when a rental property that meets your requirements becomes available. Once you have decided on areas you are interested in, we suggest you use our free House Finder service. Enter your details one time and have them shared with all the letting agents in the area you are interested in. They will then contact you and do all the hard work searching for properties that match your criteria. You will also get a list of all the letting agents in your chosen areas for you to follow up with.
Advice on property details
Some general renting advice that applies to internationals as well as UK residents when viewing properties to rent.
Firstly, take pictures and even video to remember it after. It can be a bit of a whirlwind viewing rental properties, especially if you are seeing multiple accommodation options back to back. Being able go away and look back at it will allow you to think more about what the property offers and whether it is something you want. Plus if you are sharing the accommodation, you can allow others to see it even if they couldn’t make the viewing.
Use your words
Asking questions is a really good way to get information. We all know that but again it can be hard to remember this when in the moment. Take a list of questions like about bills, council tax bands, local area and amenities. The more questions the better and don’t be afraid to ask the existing tenants. Often they will be pleased to help because the sooner the place is rented out, the sooner they don’t have to have viewings invading their home!
When you view a house, you are not just looking at the size of rooms or if you like the decor. You have to also think about damage, damp, security and safety amongst other things. These may be harder to asses if you don’t know what you are looking for but there are lots of helpful guides online.