If you’re looking for flats to rent in London then it’s likely that you’ll need to talk to estate agents. These agents will often deal with advertising flats, showing potential tenants the properties, dealing with tenancy agreements and then looking after maintenance issues.
The agent is primarily concerned with finding good tenants for the landlord. As such, they want to ensure that tenants will behave properly, treat the property in a satisfactory manner and pay rent on time.
This is why the agent will usually ask for references prior to allowing you to rent a particular property. Many estate agents will actually carry out even more investigative work, including checking that you have regular income available to you. These checks are carried out because they want to be sure that you will be able to pay your way.
They will also usually be responsible for showing you around the property. They do this on numerous occasions and you should take advantage of their knowledge. They will, in particular, usually be able to offer a considerable amount of information about the local area. They should also be able to offer advice on all issues relating to private renting.
If you like a particular flat, you’ll need to sign a tenancy agreement before you move in. This sets out the tenants rights, making clear what can be expected of the landlord. It will also list various obligations that apply to you, as a tenant. Most landlords will, for instance, wish you to pay a deposit prior to moving in. This deposit is intended to cover the cost of any damage that may be caused during your time at the property.
The estate agent may well have a standard tenancy agreement for you to sign. This is a fairly basic document and usually involves you signing up for a fixed period of time. This might typically be 6 or 12 months. At the end of the fixed period, there is usually an option to renew the agreement, or simply to enter into some sort of extended tenancy arrangement.
As a tenant, you will normally make monthly rent payments direct to the estate agent. They will also be your first port of call in case of any problems with the flat.