Making the move to the motherland? You probably should know these things first.
The London life lures thousands of Aussies to the motherland every year, myself included. And while a swanky pad in Notting Hill is the ultimate, movie-inspired dream, the reality can be far more grim.
So, before you embark on your London journey, here’s seven things you need to know about finding an apartment.
1. You’ll probably only be able to afford a room
As tempting as a place to yourself sounds, even the barest of studio flats is pricey in London.
Even if you’re planning on splitting the costs with a partner or mate, you’re probably better off narrowing your search to a share house.
2. The advertised room is likely in the ugliest house on the block
So you’ve exited the tube and found yourself smack in the middle of a fancy London street. Walking along, you begin to imagine your chic new life coupled with the posh English accent you’ll simply have to adopt.
Then the reality hits you.
As the gorgeous terraces comes to an end, all that’s left is that one Soviet-style block and of course it’s the apartment you’ve come to view. NEXT!
3. Agent-advertised rooms can be misleading
There can be a high turnover of tenants in London, and it’s often up to an agent to score the next residents.
Don’t be surprised if you’ve enquired about one place online and they as you to meet at another in a similar location, or even their office!
It’s probably not as dodgy as it sounds, but if you’re willing to deal with them (instead of a private landlord), prepare to hear plenty of sales pitches for places you know aren’t right for you.
4. Council taxes can add up
If all the costs aren’t included in the rental price, be prepared to fork out an extra 14-20 pounds a month in council taxes.
5. It’s not unusual for landlords to be based overseas
And they may want you to pay upfront just to inspect the property.
Ultimately, this one is up to you. The places generally look well maintained, but one Aussie in London was expected to pay for the landlord’s flight back to the city to see the property.
And if anything goes wrong with the place, your landlord mightn’t be so easy to reach.
6. Living rooms are optional, apparently
For many people we’ve spoken to, living rooms are a non-negotiable aspect of their flat hunting, so we were surprised at just how many didn’t have one.
Some barely had a kitchen countertop where you could scoff down some brekky. Think university dorms with even less of a social life.
Maybe that’s what you’re looking for, but if you’re a newbie no-mates in London, hold out for that place with shared areas and fun housemates, you won’t regret it!
7. You may need a guarantor
The funny thing about starting afresh is how interconnected aspects of our lives can be. To get a bank account, you need a residence, to get a residence you need a job, to get a job you’ll need a bank account.
An employer is an instant guarantor, but if job hunting is getting tricky and the hotel costs are adding up, most agents will accept your parents as a guarantor, even if they’re overseas.