Your sure-fire guide to renting a flat in the city

There are countless flats available within urban locations and each of these offers its own unique set of amenities. This is particularly the case when referring to locations within urban areas such as London. In fact, private rentals now comprise more than 30 per cent of all properties. Although this is great news in terms of availability, we also need to keep in mind that strategy is important if you are hoping to find a great deal without breaking the bank. Let us therefore examine some excellent tips to adopt along the way in order to expedite the entire process.

Agencies Versus Private Rental Agreements

It is wise to mention this topic first, as it has become relatively contentious in recent times. Some tenants choose to deal with an individual as opposed to an agency. They will often cite advantages such as the lack of commissions and (frequently) lower deposits. However, there is a dangerous side to this coin.

Let us remember that agencies will provide the landlord and the tenant with a legally transparent agreement as opposed to nothing more than word of mouth and a handful of electronic deposit slips. In the event that you have a complaint or should a major fault occur (such as a pipe breaking) within the apartment, agency-sponsored agreements will absolve you from any responsibility. Furthermore, the eviction process needs to follow specific guidelines when dealing with an agency. This is not always the case in relation to a solitary landlord. To put it simply, it is always better to speak with an agency in order to leverage a greater degree of transparency throughout the entire rental agreement.

Physical Considerations

Let us assume that you have narrowed down your choices to three or four properties. What are some of the variables that you should look for before making a final rental decision? According to Investopedia, the following metrics are extremely important to evaluate:

  • The outward condition of the flat
  • Telltale signs of abuse such as chipped walls, broken tile floors and the presence of
  • The condition of any appliances that may be present
  • The state of all plumbing and electrical fixtures
  • Security issues such as the presence of locks on doors and windows (particularly if you
    are looking at a ground-floor flat.

Of course, these variables will depend upon the flat in question. If you are still “on the fence” in regards to which one is the most suited, there is nothing wrong with employing the advice of an independent assessor; particularly if you require an energy performance certificate.

Location, Location, Location

It is just as crucial to appreciate the benefits of each property in regards to location. Many individuals who choose to live within a city environment will benefit from the presence of mass transportation options such as metro services and access to buses. So, be absolutely certain to factor these into the overall equation. Keep in mind that the value of two seemingly identical apartments will often be affected by their proximity to mass transit services.

Taxes are just as crucial, as these will ultimately impact how much you can expect to pay in terms of rent and utilities. Do not rely solely upon what the agency may claim, as rates are subject to change from time to time. Websites such as will provide you with information that is updated on a regular basis, so make it a point to analyse the taxes associated with a specific area before moving on.

On a final note, always remember that what landlords charge may be profoundly different than the current rental price of a property. Although agencies may be able to provide a sense of clarity, be sure to perform your own research. Take a look at the average rental rates associated with a specific area through the use of portals such as You can be much more prepared for subsequent negotiations if you are aware of what the mean rental prices are.

Your Personal Preferences

Finding the most appropriate city apartment should never focus solely upon price, location and logistics. There is a very human aspect in terms of any rental. This is even more relevant if you happen to be sharing the flat or if you are moving in with a family. How does the location in question feel? What are your first impressions? Does it offer an inviting organic flavour or is it cold and rather sterile? How much light is present? Do the windows afford views of nature or are they facing a brick wall? The bottom line is that enjoyment will ultimately depend upon how the “energy” of the flat in question resonates with your personality and anyone else who may be living there. Here is a useful checklist to keep in mind:

  • What are my first impressions?
  • Can I picture myself remaining here for the foreseeable future?
  • Am I willing to perform upgrades?
  • Does the flat offer a sufficient amount of space?
  • How does my family or roommate feel about the location?
  • Does the asking price justify the associated amenities?

Above all, there are many factors to take into account if you are planning one renting a flat within any city. This is why the suggestions mentioned above have been kept rather general, as they will apply to numerous metropolitan areas. Of course, further advice can be obtained by speaking with one of our trained rental professionals. Please contact us directly in order to learn more about the options at your disposal.