Frequently asked questions
Moving somewhere new to live can be an intimidating prospect. We’ve answered some of the more commonly asked corporate relocation questions to help you prepare for your move.
When relocating to London and the surrounding areas and searching for property, you may find yourself asking a number of questions.
When should I start my property search?
The rental market in London and the surrounding areas moves very quickly. There is a constantly high demand for rental property in London and therefore properties come onto the market, and are let within short periods of time.
We generally recommend starting your rental search 6 weeks prior to the time you need to move into a property. We tend to see properties start to come onto the market from roughly 6-8 weeks weeks before they are available to let and therefore giving yourself this time-frame will allow you to see the maximum number of available, suitable property possible.
How should I start my search for property in London or the surrounding areas?
The best way to start your rental property search would be to contact the Corporate Services department at Savills. We can give you a consultation about your needs, advise you on which areas would be suitable and offer support on all aspects of the search. We would then contact all our relevant colleagues and offices on your behalf, saving you the time of doing so and ensuring you receive the best possible list of available property that match your requirements.
Where should I live?
There are a variety of considerations that need to be taken when deciding on the best area for you to live. London especially is made up of many boroughs, and differing areas within these boroughs. Some of which are leafy and sedate, and some more urban and bustling. Considerations that may need to be taken could include:
- Location of schools – and their ‘catchment areas’
- Location of public transport
- Nightlife – close to the ‘buzz’ or a preference for a quieter area
- Commute to work
- Whether you prioritise the size of the property, or its location to central London
We can help determine the best area for you during an initial consultation.
How will I get to work and how long will it take?
London and the surrounding areas have an excellent public transport system comprising of the Tube (underground) network, the overland train network, a regular and reliable 24 hour bus network and taxis. Other options are to cycle, most boroughs in London have dedicated cycle lanes, or of course to drive. If you are lucky enough and live close to the office you can walk, London and the surrounding areas are relatively pedestrian friendly.
How long your commute takes is entirely down to the location of your property and how close it is to public transport. A reasonable average commute time in London would be between 20-45 minutes. A good resource for checking how long certain journeys will take is the Transport for London website – http://www.tfl.gov.uk
What is included in my rental payments, and how do I pay my rent?
On a standard, long-term (over 6 months in length) tenancy, the typical procedure would be to pay the rent on a monthly basis. The costs for any other extras, such as a gardener for example would have to be separately negotiated if they are to be included in the rent. Utilities, such as gas, electricity and water would also be paid separately to the rent.
You can however, pay the rental amount entirely in advance, or in different payment stages such as 6 monthly, if agreed between you and the landlord.
A short-term let, which is less than 6 months in length would be a different scenario. The rental would typically be paid upfront in its entirety, and may well include all utility bills. This is more convenient when taking a property for a short period of time, but the rental price will be subject to a premium under these conditions.
In all cases, the rent would be paid directly to Savillss as the landlord's agent or occassionally directly to the landlord.
What are Utilities, and how do I pay for them?
Utilities refer to the supply of services to the property for which the tenant in a normal rental agreement would be liable to pay. These would generally include Gas, Electricity and Water.
If Savills are professionally managing the property we will arrange for the utility accounts to be transferred into the new tenant’s name. If the property is not professionally managed by Savills, it will be the tenant’s responsibility to get in touch with the suppliers and to set up new accounts in their own name. You will be provided the details of the existing utility accounts by either by the landlord or the agent.
There are many suppliers offering different packages that suit different usage needs, and it is the responsibility of the tenant to pay the costs directly to the supplier. The frequency of payment can normally be negotiated, but the most common are monthly or quarterly payments.
What is council tax?
Council Tax is a taxation applicable to nearly every residential property in the UK. It is the equivalent of 'city tax' in other countries. It is controlled by each local borough and the size of the tax is dependent on the borough in which the property is located and the size of the property.
Tenants are responsible for council tax payments (unless it is a short-let, less than 6 months) and the tenant will pay the local council, normally on a monthly basis.
The proceeds of the tax are used for several reasons, such as the upkeep and cleanliness of the local area.
What is a head-lease?
Many rental properties in the UK are owned on a ‘leasehold’ basis, especially if it is a flat, or apartment that is part of a larger building. In these cases, there will be a head-lease, which is written by the owner(s) of the building. The terms of the head-lease may affect your tenancy. An example might be that the head-lease does not allow animals in the building.
Can I bring pets with me?
It is often possible to bring animals with you. However, when renting a property it is worth knowing that bringing animals may have implications on your property search. These may include:
- Eliminating properties where the head-lease will not allow pets
- Eliminating properties where the landlord does not want pets in the property
- Being required to pay a higher deposit at the start of the tenancy to cover damage
- Losing money from your deposit at the end of the tenancy due to animal related damage
Should I bring my own furniture?
Some landlords are very flexible with the furnishing of property, some are not! There is no specific answer to this question but it is safe to say the following:
Most smaller (studio, 1 + 2 bedroom) properties would come furnished, and you would not need to bring your own furniture, however, larger properties such as family homes are more likely to be unfurnished and therefore you would either be required to bring your own furniture, or rent furniture packages. This is something Savills can help you with.
How do I secure a property, what paperwork do I need to bring and complete?
Once you find a property, we would provide you with a form to fill out the details of your ‘offer’. Your offer would consist of the price you wish to pay, how long you would like to rent the property for, when you would like the tenancy to begin and any other conditions, such as furnishings. We would then speak to the landlord and the negotiation process would begin.
Once you have had your offer accepted, there are a few processes to undergo in order to secure the tenancy, these are the following:
- Savills employ an external referencing agency who will undertake references on your behalf. Typically this costs £30 per person. Any tenancy is subject to referencing.
- You would need to read, and sign a tenancy agreement, a legally binding document. The landlord would sign the same.
- You would need to pay a deposit – normally this would be the equivalent of 6 weeks of rent. If any damage to the property happens, the amount to fix/replace would be taken from the deposit, but only after both parties are in agreement
- You would need to pay your first period's rent in advance of the tenancy start date
- You need to provide a form of photographic ID - a passport or driving license.
Once all of the above is complete, the property would be secured and you would be able to move-in on the commencement date on the tenancy agreement.
Who do I speak with regarding maintenance at my property?
This depends who is ‘managing’ the property. In some cases, the landlords may manage the property themselves. You would be provided with their details and it would be necessary to contact them with any maintenance issues. In some cases, the landlord may be employing a managing company, and you will be provided with their details. However, in a lot of cases, Savills will be managing the property on behalf of the landlord. This will mean you are given a dedicated representative in our management team. This person will help you with any maintenance issues and ensure things are rectified quickly and efficiently for you. You also benefit from an out of hours service, providing you with help in emergency situations.
You can ask for Savills management of a property when you are placing an offer.
Please do be aware, that some maintenance is the responsibility of the tenant. Such things as changing light-bulbs, cleaning seasonal debris etc would be the tenant’s responsibility. If you are unsure, please don’t hesitate to call the Corporate Services Department and ask.
Who pays the Estate Agent/Realtor’s fees?
In the UK, the landlord is responsible for paying the Estate Agent’s fees. There is no charge to a tenant for simply looking for property through Savills, or the Corporate Services Department.
If you find a property through Savills, we would take a small administration fee for organising the paperwork relating to the tenancy. This is £200+VAT
Head of Corporate Services
+44 (0) 20 7016 3751