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How to rent a flat in London while self-employed

[Crossposting from London flats]

Came back to the UK after working in Asia and for last couple of months I’m self-employed. At the mo, I’m staying at a friend’s place but thinking my welcome is kinda growing thin and I should move out.

Lettings agents that I’ve seen have said I need an employment contract and landlord references, which I don’t have.

Some have given me these options: 1, Employment contract or tax return to prove income (so minimum 1 year) 2, Since I don’t have that, they want a guarantor, who has to earn 4-5 times the rent. I don’t really have this. 3, All the rent up front.

My only option is the rent up front, I think. I don’t really want to give a whole year to the landlord.

Any ideas? I’m kind of looking for anything to help me figure out what to do. All options welcome. | Modified: March 28, 2018 | Author:


One agent said I could get a "character" reference, whatever that is. Normally a non-family member that knows you very well. I'd suggest a neighbour (or even your friend you're currently living with) if you knew them well. A positive reference from someone who had first hand experience of living next to you/with you could work in your favour when it comes to renting someone else's property.   [ ColombiaNaziWeedPope 1 year ago ]

I've been asked from references from other countries when we just moved here, maybe that will work?   [ i_hate_pigeons 1 year ago ]

Helpful ideas. mrjamesr, 3 months would be ok, if the LL would do it. 0alex, i think the prob is that agents use companies to check your references and so on, so there's not so much negotiation. London renting being as it is, they can just move on and get someone else. The other issue is references. I don't have landlord references. One agent said I could get a "character" reference, whatever that is. Like the airbnb, but kind of expensive and wud need to do it for months.   [ greenguygeoff 1 year ago ]

Definitely don't go through agencies, renting is enough dead money without those vultures getting involved. Gumtree, open rent, spare room (filter by 'private ads only - no agents' at the bottom), and you should be ready to make some major sacrifices to your sanity, dignity, and livelihood.   [ teachinghurts 1 year ago ]

I just gave them my self assessment total (sa302 I think?)   [ OneMoreAlwaysOneMore 1 year ago ]

These seem like agent's ideas for ways you can provide confidence that it can pay. Paying a year up front sounds very risky (what incentive for the landlord to fix stuff for example). If you can demonstrate your earnings levels recently, some contracts you have and maybe some savings, you can show that you can cope with the rent (what's to say someone with an employment contract would keep it?). If they want to hold more of your money, in a deposit registered with the tenant protection scheme would be sensible enough.   [ 0alex 1 year ago ]

That's what I had to do almost. Made an agreement to pay the deposit and 3 months rent in advance. The landlord agreed thankfully. You just have to ask the agent to contact the landlord and request what you can do in the circumstances. Paying a year in advance, well yes that is a stretch.   [ mrjamesr 1 year ago ]

I'm self employed and got a flat (share) pretty easily. I didn't tell them that I was self employed at first just incase they got worried, but they were fine with it when I did. Don't go through agencies, go directly to tenants or other flat sharers on spareroom.com or Gumtree   [ emmentalcheesefan 1 year ago ]

Airbnb or similar until you can put aside enough savings. I managed to convince my current LL to let me pay 6 months up front rather than a year. In the end you're only really losing the interest.   [ WestLondonsFinest 1 year ago ]

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