As soon as you see details of a property you are interested in:
- Telephone or email the owner/agent to make an appointment to view the property. You will need a copy of the London A-Z street map to help you find your way around. You will save yourself time if you try to arrange visits in adjacent areas at one time. It is absolutely essential that you make contact with the owners immediately to avoid disappointment.
- Please let the owner/agent know if you cannot keep an appointment you have made.
- If after viewing the property, you decide that you are interested, but need some time to think it over, the owner or agent may ask for a holding deposit to hold the property for you. It is important to think very carefully about this as a holding deposit is seldom returned if you withdraw your interest. Ask if it is returnable and get it in writing. If you are in any doubt please check with the private rented accommodation team.
- If you decide to accept the accommodation, make sure you reach agreement with the owner on the following points before you agree to move in:
- Is there a written agreement or contract to sign?
- Is there a returnable deposit and, if so how much and what does it cover?
- Is the rent as quoted?
- When are payments due?
- Are there any charges or bills in addition to the rent?
- What period of notice is required?
Make sure that you have the answers to these questions:
- Is bedding supplied and/or laundered?
- What are the rental arrangements during holidays?
- Are you expected to be in by a certain time at night?
- Are visitors allowed into your room?
- Can your visitors stay overnight occasionally?
- Is there a telephone for you to use and what are the arrangements for paying for calls?
- Is there a limit to how often you can use the bath or shower?
- Is the kitchen available at all times?
- What kitchen equipment can you use?
- Is there somewhere to store your food?
It is important to find out at the start how much rent you are paying and what services are covered. An owner/agent does not have to provide a rent book, but it is a good idea to ask for one as it avoids confusion for both sides. Failing this, ask for a receipt for each payment you make.