Join now

Closing the Deal & Moving In

Finding a place in London requires a clear idea of what you want from your new home. You need to know where you are willing to compromise and what your budget is - among a number of other things. Find some helpful pointers below.

Almost There

Once you have found a property or a room that you like, you will need to let the real estate agent or flat mates know. In the case of house sharing, you can usually tell them at the end of the viewing, or later on, via text or email or calling the main contact person. If you are going through a real estate agent, simply let the agent know, and they will take that back to the flat mates or landlord. Do note that the rent in this case is usually not negotiable and that while you may like the house share, the flat mates do have a say in whether they want you to join or not, and you may not be accepted. Try not to take this personally, competition is fierce and in the end, you want to move in where you will be a good fit.

If you are looking for your own place, you can make an offer on the place you like and the real estate agent will take it back to the landlord. They will let you know if your offer has been accepted. In these cases you can negotiate the rental rate. However, keep in mind the current market, and pay only what you can comfortably afford without risking missing out on securing your place.

Once you or your offer has been accepted the deposit will be required, and some administrative fees for paperwork and reference checks. Some references you may be asked to provide include:

  • Current employment
  • Previous landlord reference
  • Character reference
  • Bank reference

Once the checks are finalized you will be asked to pay the bond and fixed amount of rent up front.

Moving In

Moving in to your new place will usually involve an inventory check (if your place is furnished) or general house check, final paperwork sign-off, and handing over the keys. Furnished or not it is essential that you make sure you go through these check properly to ensure any damage is reported so you are not held responsible later.

In the case of moving into an existing house share, managed by the landlord directly, (that is, not through a managed property company or real estate agent) there might be a slight difference: they may ask you to conduct the inventory checks yourself, sign and send through the relevant paperwork, or you keys may be given to you by your future flat mates. Either way, you should always have a tenancy contract and your deposit secured in a tenancy deposit scheme. If you have any doubts or run into any issues, seek professional advice from a solicitor or, if you are eligible, from the Citizens Advice Bureau.

Once the tenancy is sorted, you will need to sort out utilities - make sure you take note of the electricity and gas meters! If you are moving into a shared flat, it is a good idea to ask to have one of the bills in your name as this will be useful for other aspects of setting up your expat life such as banking, registering with the local doctor, even something as simple as getting a library card!

As you can see, there is quite a lot to the process and it may be overwhelming but if you take it step by step, you will find that perfect home away from home and begin your new expat life before you know it!

Happy searching!

Resource List

Below is a list of handy sites to assist you during your search for your new home. It is not a comprehensive list but will act as a good starting point.

Rental information provided by government agencies

Real estate

Flatshare sites


If you are an InterNations member and would like to contribute an article, do not hesitate to contact us!

Jan-Peter van Tijk

"I wish I'd found InterNations sooner: It would have made my first few month as an expat in London much less overwhelming."

Therese Yeboah

"For me, the InterNations events are the best part. I attend almost every get-together and always get to know lots of friendly fellow expats."

Global Expat Guide