Real Estate and Housing

Finding a place to rent in the UK

There are a number of websites that allow you to find available properties to rent, including:

Renting in the UK

As a tenant, you have the right to:

  • live in a property that’s safe and in a good state of repair
  • have your deposit returned when the tenancy ends - and in some circumstances have it protected
  • challenge excessively high charges
  • know who your landlord is
  • live in the property undisturbed
  • see an Energy Performance Certificate for the property
  • be protected from unfair eviction and unfair rent
  • have a written agreement if you have a fixed-term tenancy of more than 3 years
If you have a tenancy agreement, it should be fair and comply with the law.

If you do not know who your landlord is, write to the person or company you pay rent to. Your landlord can be fined If they do not give you this information within 21 days.

Get the How to Rent Guide from the government for a checklist of what to look for when renting.

Moving in / Inventory / Check-in to your Rental Property

Prior to accepting the keys to your rental property, a check-in inventory will be performed by a professional contractor. The inventory will be performed again on checkout when your lease is over. 

Inventories are reports that accurately describe the condition of a rental property, so they can be used to assess claims for damages at the end of the tenancy. Tenancy inventory checks are essential for resolving deposit disputes at the end of the tenancy.

It is essential that the inventory be conducted thoroughly and exhaustively. Ideally you should be onsite to go through the inventory with the professional. Anything in less than perfect shape should be identified, noted and photographed, so you are not accused of damage on checkout. 

Depending on the size of the property, expect the inventory to take a few hours. 

Buying in the UK

The Government had advice for everything! How to Buy a Home

Buying a home in the UK is similar to many other countries, with a few notable exceptions:

  • Purchases are often chained - meaning that a sale is conditional on the seller completing a purchase of a different house. This can be problematic if anyone up or down the chain runs into an issue preventing their closure. (For example: Person A sells to Person B; B -> C; C -> D; D -> E; E -> F; etc... If something happens preventing D selling to E, the whole chain can collapse.)
  • The three main steps in the sales process are:
    1. Sale agreement
    2. Exchange of Contracts
    3. Completion
  • Gazumping is where a seller accepts an offer, only to reject it later in favour of a last-minute higher offer from someone else. Under English law, the agreement between you and the seller does not become legally binding until contracts have been exchanged.

Building in the UK

Building in the UK is a very long and involved process when compared to many other countries. In a word, you must have Patience.

  • The building process often takes two years or longer from start to final completion
  • The local authority - district council - has a surprising amount of power to approve building designs, exterior look, materials used, and even your garden layout.

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