Housing in the UK
The United Kingdom has a diverse population of approximately 63.2 million with 53 million living in England. The major towns and cities are fast expanding to cope with the increase in the population.
Finding adequate housing in the UK can be difficult when relocating. The kind of house or apartment you may need depend solely on the time of your stay, the number of people that will be living with you, and your budget. You will have to decide whether you need a long- or short-term rental, or a furnished or unfurnished apartment or house based on the options you consider. If you are staying long enough you may even consider buying a house.
Description of Houses
In the UK, there are many different types of houses, such as cottages, detached, end of terrace, flats, semi-detached, and terraced. Prices will vary depending on the city, area of your choice, and the type of house you go for. Most houses are made of brick or stone and are joined together in rows. These are known as terraced houses.
Houses usually consist of bedroom(s), living and dining room, kitchen, and bathroom. It is common for gardens to be located at the back of the house.
In villages there is comfortable and spacious accommodation with good links to nearby city centre which allows people to live outside of cities with the convenience of getting to work easily. This option also offers easy access to lakes, forests, and woodlands during weekends.
Upon initially arriving in the UK many different types of accommodation are available to stay in. Options include renting a private house, flat sharing, staying in a hostel, private boarding or buying your own property.
Once you have decided on which type of accommodation you would like, a location, and a price range, there are many ways to find a property to buy or rent. You will find plenty to choose from, depending on your taste and budget!
Prices for renting or buying properties differ greatly depending on which part of the UK you wish to settle in; London being the most expensive.
Platforms like Airbnb, TripAdvisor, Homestay, Homeaway are where you can find temporary rentage services. Apartments for rent short term lease usually come furnished and are a lot easier to secure. You may want to resort to this alternative if you still must wait for your shipped goods to arrive and/or want to take your time to find the best permanent accommodation for your needs.
In addition to the rent or mortgage, people need to pay Council tax and utility bills. When you move into your accommodation you will need to find out who the current water, gas, electricity providers are. You may wish to compare their prices with their competitors, and you will be free to open accounts with other providers, if you prefer to do so.
Generally, you will only be required to have a government ID, and a verified account on the platforms. Mostly, a short-term tenancy is generally for a period of under six months. Tenancies offered for six months to a year are usually marketed as medium-term, and anything over a year is considered a long-term let.
Short-term rentals are usually more expensive than their longer-term counterparts. However, it makes sense in many situations. For instance, you may need accommodation while finalizing a property purchase or might want to rent temporarily while shopping around for something permanent. These properties are furnished and can be rented for short periods or monthly.
Renting a House or Apartment in the UK
Just to give you an insight of the differences in prices, according to the Residential Landlords Association (RLA) the average price for a single night in a home listed on Airbnb in London is 137 GBP (176 USD). On the other hand, the median for long term rentals in the capital is 1700 GBP (2,200 USD), making the average price per night 56 GBP (72 USD).
Knowing precisely how to rent a house or apartment in the UK is essential. Large number of rental properties are available, and the market has huge variations in price, which is mainly location dependent. For example, properties in a sought-after area in London can be 100 times more expensive than the same kind of property in the north of England.
Renting will give you the freedom to test out different places if you do not find something that suits you the first time around. Flexibility will make the process much smoother. You can start your search abroad, navigating the many websites where you can find properties, and research cost and availability.
If you plan on relocating to the UK temporarily, a rental will be your best option. Finding a house for rent is faster than one for sale, and landlords are responsible for most of the property’s upkeep. They have a legal duty of care, meaning they must guarantee that the rental property is maintained to a certain standard. They are mainly responsible for repairs to:
- the structure and exterior of the property (e.g., Walls, windows, external doors and stairs);
- drains, gutters and external pipes;
- basins, sinks, baths and toilets;
- gas appliances; electric wiring heating; and hot water.
It has the added benefit of allowing you to check out different areas to find what suits you best. If you plan on eventually buying property, it’s a good idea to rent first, and get to know your new surroundings better. After living there for a few months, you will get better sense of how everything works, allowing you to make a more informed decision when acquiring property.
Average Rent in the UK
The rent prices per month vary greatly depending on the region and the types of house. For instance, in Greater London it’s around 1,700 GBP (2,200 USD), much higher than the national average of around GBP 1,000 (USD 1,300 USD). In London itself, the minimum rent prices per month for the same size house is around GBP 1,000 (USD 1,300) on average, while a house in the higher end of the spectrum will cost you around 13,000 GBP (17,000 USD). Moreover, a furnished flat can cost up to 20% more than an unfurnished flat.
Rental Process and Rules
Getting a place you like would be the very first thing after which you will need to sign a rental contract. Most contracts are for a semester or a year, at the end of which you can extend your stay. You may also be asked for the following requirements and documents for renting:
- Proof of ID
- Proof of legal work permit/visa
- Proof of earnings
- Letter of confirmation of employment from your employer
- Copy of employment contract
- References from previous landlords
Paying for Utilities
As a tenant, you will most likely be responsible for paying your utility bills. Some of them might be paid in the rental price but you will have to take care of the rest. Make sure to consider these payments in your monthly budget. If you are renting property, chances are that your new place already has utility companies (gas, electricity, water, etc.) associated with it. Frequently, the previous tenant will let them know they are leaving, but it will be relatively easy for you to reconnect or continue with the service provider, or you can simply choose another one if you wish. You will most likely be responsible for transferring the services to your name and checking meter readings periodically.
If you are buying property in the UK, you will have to arrange your own utilities. The easiest way to do this is to use a free utilities connection service, such as pleaseconnectme.co.uk.