Rental Affordability - Devilish detail
Recent surveys have confirmed affordability as the number one concern for tenants in the private sector.
For those new to London this issue can arise when deciding between self contained and house share accommodation.
At first sight house shares can seem expensive, with rooms on a par with small studios.
However the devil is often in the detail. Bills such as council tax, electricity, gas and water can easily reach £150 per week for a small studio in London.
For example the lowest band of council tax in Kensington [band A] is currently £708 [£59 pcm]
Neighbouring Fulham charges £671 [£55 pcm]
House shares will often cover these costs in the rent.
London tenants should reckon on an additional £100 -130 pcm to cover electricity, water and gas.
Again, look for house shares that offer these sums in the rental. It can make a big difference.
Check management cover. The law now requires full time management for house shares. This level of support can be useful and should feature in your decision. If you are new to London it is reassuring to have someone available to talk through issues and problems arising during a let. Generally, though not always, the level of management offered by reputable house share managers will be higher than for studios or flats. This is due to legislation and also the variety of issues generated by different personalities living together.
It is also fair to say that more extrovert types will enjoy house shares and the social opportunities afforded.
Finally there is safety. Look at the tenancy. Check standards for fire alarms and appliances where you are planning to rent, not just the quality of the equipment but also arrangements for testing and inspection. Legal standards vary for different types of accommodation.
You may not think these are price issues, but safety and management are really part of the value you are paying for.