How to find a house to rent in England UK?

[Cum caut casa de inchiriat in Anglia UK? Articol in Limba Romana AICI]

“I’m looking for a house to rent”, “I’m looking for a flat to rent” – these are by far the most common posts on Romanian fb groups in England / UK. I’ve always wondered why these people never check the local real estate agencies and instead they go straight to various shady middle men who give them overpriced houses, without a contract and without any legal rights. The answer is not always simple. Many simply do not speak English and hesitate to contact the agencies, many don’t intend to stay that long in the UK and just want something quick for seasonal work. Many don’t have or think they don’t have necessary documents to legally rent a house in UK, and many simply don’t know how to rent a house through an agency because they’ve never done it. For the latter, I will show you step by step below how to look for a house to rent in England, UK and how to make sure you get it.

Don’t worry about the documents, most of the time you already have the necessary documents and you didn’t even know you had them. Unless you’ve just landed in England and you don’t have any document, (that’s practically impossible after Brexit now) you’ll surely have a payslip, a driver’s license, a letter from the doctor or the council, an utility bill or a bank statement with your name and an British address. Any of these are proof of residence in England and can be given at the agency. Considering that we moved 3 times in this country , I think I have some experience in this field. Here is the complete procedure how to look for a house to rent in England and make sure you get it:

  1. Go to the main real estate websites and start looking for houses to rent in the city you want to move to. Respectively www.rightmove.co.uk , www.onthemarket.com and www.zoopla.co.uk . Here you have houses for  To Rent and For Sale. I personally prefer rightmove because it has a simpler interface and many details about the house.

ATTENTION ! If you don’t know English, you can use the website’s automatic translation function. Google Chrome has a translation function. Right-click anywhere on the site and select: “Translate to English” or “translation”

casa de inchiriat in Anglia UK

You should now have a list of all the rental properties in your city like the one below, based on the search criteria below: namely houses to rent in the city of Hull and 10 miles around, priced between £100 and £500 with a maximum of 2 bedrooms. Here is the page in case you didn’t succeed.

house for rent in England

We note that the prices are in monthly format ( pcm = per calendar month ) and also per week below ( pw = per week ). The ads can be sorted by price from the top, and filtered if you want to see, for example, only the houses that have a parking space or you don’t want to see the houses that are shared. For example, the first 2 ads in the picture above are with bedrooms in shared houses. This means you rent only one bedroom and share a bathroom, kitchen, living room). If you click on “map”, the houses will appear on the map to give you an visual idea where to look. Click on the picture of the house that interests you and you will have a screen similar to the one below:

rental house in UK

Above we see an example of a house for rent in Hull, UK which:

  • It is rented for 425 pounds per calendar month (not to be confused with 4 weeks),
  • The house is on Estcourt Street, post code HU9 2RR;
  • A security deposit of 490 pounds is required,
  • The local tax ( council tax ) is in band “A”, that is, it is the cheapest (increases in price in alphabetical order A,B,C,D),
  • It is rented on a long-term basis,
  • It’s a ” Terraced ” type house – that is, attached to other houses,
  • It does not have its own parking space, there is only On street parking available;
  • Comes Unfurnished;

If you click on the picture, you will be able to see the rest of the house pictures. On the right we see that it is from the Riverside agency, and we also have a phone number. If you like that house, call the agency (or ask someone who speaks English to call). They might ask you the address of the house you live in now (street, zip code) and mutually decide when to see the house listed in the add.

It’s possible they might ask you on the phone if you have proof of income, proof that you have settled status (ie the right to live and rent a house in this country) and/or if you have a guarantor. I would recommend that you to answer these questions as honestly as possible because you will be asked to provide proof later on.

2. Go on the set date to see the house. Usually each candidate has about 10 minutes available for the visit, and there are usually a lot of interested parties coming to see the house, so don’t be late!

A very important adive to increase your chances of getting the house: Dress nice for the visit! Imagine that you’re going to an interview, not to a viewing. The agent gives the landlord (the owner) the applications for the house, and his word matters a lot. One guy dressed in a work suit will probably have more chances to take the house than one who came in an Adidas tracksuit with a gold chain around his neck.

If you don’t speak English, get someone to translate for you. Talk nicely to the agent, chat for a while, don’t smoke in front of the house, try not to speak you’re own native language when you’re in front of him or her (not because you’re foreigners, but because it’s not polite to speak a language he doesn’t know understand). Don’t yell , don’t try to negotiate the price , this ain’t a bazaar here where you barter, and try not to look desperate.

I recommend you look and ask about the following things in the house:

  • If you have a pet, does the owner accept this? (this should be discussed on the phone before you see the house)
  • Is the heating on gas? Is the stove on gas? Avoid houses heated by electricity, it is very expensive! The same story with those with the electric stove;
  • How long is the rental contract? It is usually done over 6 or 12 months. During this time, the landlord is not allowed to change your rent, but later he can increase it. It is preferable that you sign for as long as possible so that the rent cannot increase. On the other hand, if the house turns out to be bad, you are bound by the contract, so this is a double-edged sword;
  • Does it have thermal insulation? If it has wooden framed windows, it will be difficult to keep the heat inside and as a result you will pay a lot for heating;
  • Is the hot water coming from a boiler tank or straight from the combi gas boiler? If it’s from a tank, remember that only one person can take a bath, then you have to wait until the tank is filled with hot water. If you have a small child in the house this matters a lot;
  • Are the utilities (gas and electricity) on the pre-paid card or subscription? It is usually more expensive on the card;
  • Does it have a smart meter? This electronic meter will reduce your bills quite a bit and save you from submitting readings.
  • Does the house come with a refrigerator or a washing machine? If so, it’s less expense for you
  • How soon can you move into the house? If you are lucky, the house is empty and you can move in immediately. If you are unlucky, the previous tenants or owners are still waiting to move out and it may take a month or more until the house is vacated…
cat costa o casa in Anglia

If you liked the house you just saw, tell the agent there and then that you want it and ask what you need to do to make sure you get it. If you have the financial possibility to pay 2-3 months in advance, mention this. This is how we got our first house in Hull. With a little luck, you will go directly to the agency and sign the documents. If not, the agent will give you an application to fill in by hand or by email.

On the application you will be asked if:

  • Do you have references (ie recommendations) from previous addresses? If you stayed in a share house, give the number of the agent there, if you took a room from a middle man or you have a bad recommendation from the past… honestly, it’s better to give the number of a colleague or an English manager to recommend you… (pass this as a work reference or personal reference)
  • Do you have pets? most landlords (owners) do not accept large animals (dogs, cats), but for the small ones that stay in the cage they are not counted (parrots, hamsters, etc.); You can declare that you don’t have a cat, and you keep it hidden in the house, you wouldn’t be the first to do that, but you’re taking a risk in case you have an inspection…
  • Are you a smoker? You can declare that you are not, if you only smoke outside. Do not smoke in the house, because the smell easily gets impregnated in the walls and furniture and it’s easily felt by a non smoker. You risk losing both the house and the deposit. In addition, you will probably have a nasty reference from the agency/owner when you are looking for the next house…
  • Do you have proof of identity? A passport is good, but a British driving license with a UK address is even better. If you do not have a license, apply for a provisional driver’s license (Learner), see HERE the procedure for obtaining it. If you have an EU driver’s license, see HERE the procedure for changing to a British driver’s license .
  • Do you have an employment contract? If you don’t have a permanent employment contract, it’s not the end of the road. Even if you work on a zero hours contract, it’s still an employment contract. You can say that you have a stable income and have pay slips and/or bank statements to prove it. That’s why it’s important to keep all the payslips you have from work, regardless of how many hours you’ve worked, and to ask the bank where you are to send you a monthly Bank statement by mail;
  • Do you have proof of settled status and share code? I guess so, otherwise you do not have the legal right to live and work in this country. See HERE who can work in England and how to obtain settled status .

You also have a section for comments. Here you can specify different details, such as if you have the possibility to pay several months in advance to be sure that you get the house, or for example that you are going to start a new job in the city and you are serious about the house.

Once you’ve sent the application, everything is in the hands of the agency and the landlord. The landlord looks over the applications and the agent’s recommendations, and chooses who he will give the house to. If you are selected, you will receive a phone call from the agency and you will be called on the set date to sign the Lease contract (that is, rent). You will be required to pay the deposit and the first month’s rent. You take the keys and it’s your house. Simple right?

I realize that in real life it’s not that simple, but believe me that that rental contract will ensure you full rights in England. Even if it’s just a rented house, this is your legal residence in the UK. Landlords are very careful about who they let into their properties, precisely because once the tenant has established his legal residence at that address, it will be very difficult to remove him from the house because he has rights (even if he stops paying the rent!). Obviously, when you’re living in a house without a contract, the type you get from shady Facebook middlemen, you will have absolutely no rights, and they can evict you at any time without the right of appeal.

If you liked the article or have additional questions, I hope I can help you and I’m waiting for you in the comments section or leave a message on the  GarciaCalavera.com fb page.  If you like the page, you can like and share the article to help others in this situation.

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Alternative tourism: Detroit , Georgia , Burning gate of Turkmenistan , North Korea , Pripyat & the alienation zone   , Nouadhibou graveyard

How the other half lives :  Karachi ,  Guayaquil  , Lagos

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