Finding housing in London, made easy.

Whether you want to rent or buy, we’ve got you covered

with our ultimate guide to housing.


Real estate in London is a hot commodity. Whether you’re a Russian oligarch looking to park your money in a ten million pound house you’ll never see in person or actually looking for a place for your family to live in, you can probably expect competition from others also looking for a home.

And chances are it’ll cost a pretty penny since London is consistently in the top ten of the world’s most expensive cities. That means that “affordability” is a relative term here: what is affordable for London is probably considered expensive in many other cities. Still, there are homes that are within reach of mere mortals like us. And a good rule of thumb is the farther you go from London’s center the cheaper it will be. The question then becomes: what sort of commute can you handle?



When looking for a home you may come across unfamiliar terminology, so here are the basics: 

  • Terraced: When you see a home described as “terraced” on a real estate site it means it’s a home that shares its side walls with other homes; also referred to as a row house.
  • Semi-detached: These are homes that only share one side with another home.
  • Detached: These are completely standalone houses that don’t share any walls with another home.
  • Flat: A flat is the same thing as an apartment.
  • Freehold: This is a property that is completely owned by the property owner.
  • Leasehold: This a property that is owned for a fixed time period, typically 99-125 years.



Since London is an expensive city, those renting (referred to as ‘letting’ in the UK) spend, on average, two thirds of their income on rent. Part of this is driven by the high cost of living in the city, but it’s also driven by the high demand for properties.

Competition for rentals can be quite intense in many neighborhoods. Many rentals hold mass viewings on certain days where potential tenants all come through to see the property, adding to the stress of finding a home. And a small number of properties are rented out using an auction format where the highest bidder wins the right to sign a lease. The only good thing about this method is you can buy a new home while sitting in your current home wearing your pajamas and having a spot of tea. The bad part of that is watching the price sprint out of your reach in real time.



Below are the documents you’ll want to have ready before you start looking at rental properties:

  1. Proof of Identity: this can be your passport, a driver license, or some other picture ID
  2. Copy of your Visa: for expats you’ll need a copy of your visa to prove you’re eligible to rent a property in the UK
  3. Proof of income: the easiest way to do this is provide a letter of employment from your company outlining your role and salary. If you’re self-employed you’ll likely need to provide a tax return for the previous year (and potentially the previous two or three years).
  4. References: while not always required, it’s a good idea to have a reference letter available, particularly from a previous landlord



When it comes to renting in London you can use a real estate agent or work directly with a landlord or management company. There are fees charged to tenants and all ‘letting agents’ must fully disclose their fees and charges on their website and in their offices. Agents may charge you fees for:

  1. A deposit to reserve a property you want before you have signed a lease.
  2. Performing a credit check
  3. Getting references from your employer, previous landlord, or your bank
  4. Administrative costs like phone calls and postage
  5. Creating a lease agreement
  6. Performing a ‘check in’ assessment when you move in and a ‘check out’ assessment when you move out
  7. Paying rent later than the due date
  8. Renewing your lease if you decide to stay
  9. Professional cleaning costs when you move out

Not all agencies charge these types of fees, however, so it is worth asking about. Also, it’s worth knowing that agencies cannot charge you for routine inspections during your tenancy or anything else they charge the landlord for. Note that you’ll incur many of these fees when working directly with a landlord as well, such as a credit check.

When you sign a lease with the landlord you’ll be required to put down a security deposit, which is typically equal to one or two month’s rent. When your lease ends and you move out this security deposit will be returned to you in full (unless you’ve caused any damage to the property or owe money to the landlord for unpaid bills). You’ll also be expected to pay for your first month’s rent and pay any letting fees — the average is £350 — so altogether this can be a significant outflow of money at one time.


HELPFUL REAL ESTATE WEBSITES – There are several similar sites in the UK, but Rightmove seems to be the most comprehensive. You can search over 30,000 properties in any area of London to find homes for sale or for rent.

ADT Crime Maps – Get crime data on any area you’re considering to live in.

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