How To Safely Rent A Flat In London - Real Estate

How To Safely Rent A Flat In London   by David Lupu

in Real Estate    (submitted 2012-11-03)

It's usually a hassle to find the right accommodation in London. The high rental costs of living in the city centre and the overhead utility charges make moving to a new flat or apartment by itself a move, which many can't afford. As rental prices and the cost of living goes up, we see more and more people prefer to share a flat or a house with friends or with strangers looking for flat share, making flatsharing one of the most popular accommodation solutions in the UK.

Once an accommodation alternative mainly popular with local and international students, flat sharing and house sharing in London and other cities in the UK became a balanced way for young professionals and first time buyers of property as well to save money and not compromise on one of the most important things when renting a flat, a central location.

Another attribute of a houseshare in London is the opportunity to find a flatmate or housemates coming from different countries who want to live and study in the UK. London is already one of the biggest international hubs and capitals of the world, with many cultures and languages spoken within its borders, for those who love to meet new cultures and consider themselves of a global nature, sharing accommodation with a group of international students attending the many universities in the UK or with expats who just moved to London, provides a truly multicultural global experience.

When searching for shared accommodation, you will find many portals and internet websites containing detailed profiles of flats, rooms and flatmates. One of the most important things when trying to find new flatmates for a houseshare or a flatshare in London and across the UK is to maintain a few basic safety tips in order to protect your privacy and avoid sending any monies to scammers operating on the internet.

For those looking for a room, best to be familiarised with the following scams:

1. Be wary of any advertisements which look "too good to be true" (price to low for the location and standard of the flat, etc.)

2. Watch out of and landlord/owner who are not available to show the property (for which ever excuse, such as being abroad, travelling, too busy to meet in person, etc.)

3. Be wary of any landlord/home owner asking you to

• Send a down-payment to book the property.

• Transfer money to someone you know by Western-union and then send him a scan copy of the transfer and in exchange he will mail you the keys to the flat.

• Sign a contract and pay an amount in advance.

• Transfer money via bank transfer to a country which is not your destination. You receive messages where the English text appears different in quality than the text appearing in the ad.

If you have a room or a flat for rent, be wary of:

• Offers to rent out your room or flat “immediately" without first viewing it or asking any questions.

• Messages asking you to send money via WesternUnion or Money Gram for various reasons (including that the tenant sent you an "over payment" and asking for you to send him the difference).

In any case, NEVER wire monies via WESTERNUNION, MONEYGRAM or other wire service to someone you do not know personally.

General recommendations for protecting your privacy and avoid unsafe money transfers:

• To protect your privacy, use the online platform's own communication platform. For example, RoomMatesUK.com offers both an online Chat platform and internal messaging system. It will be best to use those methods to communicate with other members and keep your privacy rather than sending them your email address, facebook profiles, or other means of direct communication.

• Try to get a land-line phone number where you can call to confirm your meeting for viewing the property.

• When showing your property to tenants, make sure no sensitive documents such as bank statements, bills, ID's are visible in plain sight.

• If you are abroad, it will be best to speak with the advertiser by phone. Just make sure to NEVER transfer any monies via WesternUnion or Money Gram. (If you must, try to make any payment via a reputable, well known, escrow sites and services).

Meeting a new flatmate online for a house share and renting out your property to new tenants in the UK is a great experience and a great way to save money, so there is need to be alarmed from the above tips. As with any contact between people, online or offline, there are always some safety and privacy tips to be taken into consideration. Now that you have been updated with them, you can be more confident in your search for your new flatmates (and friends) and renting your property. Good luck!