As much as we love London, finding a home to rent in and around the city is far from fun and games. From soaring prices to dodgy landlords, here’s our list of problems with the current rental market:
No indictment of the London rental market would be complete without reference to the (absurd) cost. Latest figures put the average rent for a London flat at around £1,676 a month, having increased 30% over the past four years (source). This positions London as one of the most expensive places to rent in Europe -- renting in countries like Germany and Holland is 50% cheaper than it is in the UK.
If that’s not shocking enough, it’s also cheaper (by nearly £5,000 a year!) to commute to London from Madrid than it is to rent a flat in Camden Town!
2. Low Value for Money
To add insult to injury, you don’t necessarily get much for your rental price in London. In fact, it’s actually cheaper to live in a 4-star hotel in two-thirds of European capitals than it is to rent the average London flat -- probably a lot nicer too! Add on to that research from Citizen’s advice finding that one in three rental homes in the UK aren’t fit to live in!
3. Hidden Costs
Given that most private rentals in London don’t include utility costs, your overall accommodation expenses can end up being a lot higher than the cost of rent alone. Once you’ve factored in gas, electricity, water, internet and council tax, your monthly rental price can go up by a couple of hundred pounds a month. Other hidden costs like letting agency fees, and inventory and check out fees also add up quickly!
4. Time Costs
Money aside, just finding somewhere you’d like to live in London takes a lot of time and energy. Trawling through Right Move and Spareroom, registering with multiple agencies, checking availability, lining up viewings… it’s pretty much a full time job.
5. Non-Responsive Landlords
Broken boilers, leaks, faulty appliances… the non-responsive landlord quickly becomes the bane of the existence of the private renter.
6. 12 Month Contracts
You’ll be hard pressed to find anything shorter than a 12 month tenancy in London, making it hard to find accommodation if you need somewhere more short-term.
7. Life Admin Hassel
Even if you’ve made it far enough to have found a place you like and moved in, the battle’s not yet over. Renting privately comes with a bundle of life admin tasks that never quite seem to end: setting up utilities, changing suppliers, splitting costs between housemates, checking and likely correcting inventory reports etc. Chances are in 12 months time your landlord will up the rent and you’ll have to do it all again!
8. Online rental fraud
This all sounding like too much hard work? At The Collective Old Oak, we’re pioneering a new way of living and renting built around community, quality and convenience. An all-inclusive monthly bill covers rent and all utilities, plus access to numerous onsite amenities and events (from live music to yoga, and film nights to guest speaker series). Old Oak members live in self-contained serviced studio apartments, and have access to a variety of well-designed shared spaces, including a games room, spa, library, themed kitchens, and an onsite restaurant and bar.
Written by Grace Waters