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A Guide to Renting a House in the UK

Jul 1, 2020.

As an international doctor or nurse, it’s most likely that you’re going to be unfamiliar with how the UK housing market works, so in this blog post we provide you with the five-steps to renting a house in the UK.

Before we start though, it’s important to note that due to UK law, you cannot rent a property without viewing it in person. So, when you book your flights you’ll need to book short-term accommodation and then look at more long-term rental properties once you are physically in the UK.

Step 1: Deciding on what you want

Relocating to another country is very exciting, but before you start your property hunt it’s essential you decide on exactly what you want. Ask yourself: House or flat? Garden or balcony? Furnished or unfurnished? What’s my monthly budget? How many bedrooms? How far should I commute to work?

The advantage of renting a house in the UK is that it gives you the freedom to test out different types of properties in various locations within short-periods of time.

Step 2: The Search

Once you have decided on your requirements, the exciting bit can start – the search! In the UK, the most logical place to start is a property search engine such as RightMove, Zoopla or Prime Location. Alternatively, you can visit your local estate agents (make sure to call ahead for an appointment); however, most properties are listed online nowadays anyway!

The search engines listed above allow you to filter your search on areas across the entire UK, pulling results from both estate agents and private landlords – giving you plenty to choose from. You can filter your search down to: price range, property type, number of bedrooms, parking, garden, house share and distance from a particular postcode.

How much is the average rent in the UK?

The price of renting a house in the UK can vary widely depending on their location. Typically, if you choose to live in a major UK city the rent will be more expensive compared to living in a more rural area. To exemplify, the average cost of a one-bedroom apartment in London will start off at £1,500 a month compared to same in Yorkshire, where it starts off at £450 – a stark difference!

Tip – Remember to research into the local area, local amenities, nearest bus stop, train station and if it’s free to park on your street.

Step 3: The Rental Process

Once you have been to view a property and you’ve decided that you want to secure it, the next stage will be to either reserve it, so it’s off the market or read the rental contract and provide a deposit. Most contracts are typically for a year, 6 months or a certain period and then a rolling contract. However, it’s always possible to negotiate on this to suit your needs.

After you’re happy with your contract, you’ll be asked to pay a security deposit, which is usually equivalent to a month’s rent. You may also be asked to provide the following documentation:

  • Proof of ID (passport or driving licence)
  • Proof of legal work (your Tier 2 Visa)
  • Proof of your earnings (this can be obtained from your HR Department)
  • Letter of confirmation of employment from your employer (this can be obtained from your HR Department)
  • Copy of your employment contract
  • Evidence of UK bank account details
Things to look out for before you sign your contract
  • Your details, your landlords details and their contact information
  • The dates of the beginning and end of the rental contract
  • Rental fees with required payment dates
  • Dates and frequency of rental review
  • Total security deposit and conditions for getting it back
  • Details of your deposit protection scheme
  • Extra fees (if any as admin fees have now been scrapped by UK law)
  • Who is responsible for which type of repairs and their contact details

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Step 4: Know your Rights and Responsibilities

Under UK law, and as a tenant of a landlord’s property, you have the right to live into a property that’s safe, free from hazards and in a good state from repair. This means that all gas equipment is to be installed by a Gas Safe-registered engineer; electrical items are in good working order; you have a working smoke alarm; and all kitchens, bathrooms and toilets are in a sanitary condition.

Furthermore, if you do find any issues within your property, such as problems with your heating, hot water, building exterior or if you need a replacement – you should inform the landlord and they must replace it. Please note, you must be reasonable and cannot ask for a multitude of perfectly working appliances and furniture to be replaced because it may not be your taste.

Step 5: Move In

Finally the time has come to move into your new home! First thing’s first, you’ll need to arrange a time to collect the keys from your estate agent or landlord. Once you’ve arrived at your new home, you’ll need to inspect the property, identify any damages or issues and take photos as appropriate – this way you’ll make sure you get your deposit back when you leave.

Always take a meter reading on the first day you move in to provide to your gas and electrical companies to ensure you’re charged the right amount for utilities.

You should also update/register with the following organisations: your employer, your bank, HMRC, DVLA and then register with a doctor/dentist/ optician and if you have a TV that you’ll be watching any BBC channel on, you’ll need a TV licence.

ID Medical can help you with your journey to the UK!

ID Medical works with 90% of NHS Trusts, helping international doctors and nurses secure their dream NHS post.

We can support with:

  • Securing an NHS post
  • Tier 2 Visa Application
  • Securing UK accommodating
  • Finding schools for children
  • Settling into the UK
  • Ongoing pastoral support

At ID Medical, we’ll be here to support you throughout every single step of the way.

Alternatively, if you’re interested in taking up locum shifts with us, we can also help!

For either of the above, please do email your CV to us at

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