How much does it cost an expat to rent a property in the UK?

Unfortunately, it's a lot and it makes for especially bad reading for anyone who lives in London.

Here are the average rents by area:

Wales - £610
North East - £525
Scotland - £632
Northern Ireland - £614
South West - £802
East Midlands - £604
North West - £677
Yorkshire & Humberside - £619
East of England - £904
West Midlands - £661
South East - £1,003
London - £1,519 (Yep, it's expensive...unfortunately some parts are WAY more)
UK - £904
And for those London lovers, this is the average rent by tube map.

London-rent-map-for-Marshmallow-expat--migrant--foreigner-guide-the-UK

Finding a property to rent

There are a number of websites that can help you find rooms to rent

Spareroom, Roombuddies and Gumtree can help you find short and long term rental accommodation with Spareroom being the best site to find rooms to rent.

The advantages of going with these sites is that you can get accommodation quickly, without additional documentation.

The disadvantage is that you're dealing with people you don't know and with landlords who won’t always be honest. Most of the time you will need to put down a deposit and it is important to remember that this is your money that you should get it back at the end of your contract if you haven’t caused any damage to the property.

Renting through rental agencies

The other option is to go through rental agencies. In the UK Rightmove and Zoopla are websites that feature almost every property up for rent (and sale) and are great ways to find a whole flat or house to rent. Through this option you will end up meeting with a letting agent who will organise the rental agreement.

The advantage of this is that there is a contract in place, so very little risk, and a 3rd party who looks after your deposit money and help's resolve any disagreements you have with your landlord.

The disadvantage of this option is that it can take weeks to get everything sorted and there are a number of additional fees involved. The fees include:

Inventory fee in a furnished tenancy: £50-100
Tenancy reference: £30
Deposit: Normally 6 weeks rent
Agreement fee: £30
Tenancy renewal fee: £25
Administration fee: £100

There are also a number of documents required before you can make the with a rental agency including:

  • Proof that you have a job in the U.K. (if you are still looking for one, it is definitely better to look at the short term options)
  • Proof of previous address for 2 (sometimes 3) years. If you do not have a record of that in the UK, your home country address will suffice. Letters of reference from previous Landlords (not always required, but sometimes they will require this information too)
  • English bank account. It is not mandatory but is often required, and it’s necessary when you find a job, so you might as well do it as soon as you can. You can set up a Monzo bank account in a few minutes - so this one isn't much of a problem.

Hopefully, this post helps you get set up with a place to live in the UK and you can focus on exploring your the rest of the UK!