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When is the best time to rent in London?

London is many wonderful things: a beautiful city full of historical and modern architecture; a fashion hub where all the latest celebrities are desperate to be seen; a home to many scenic open spaces, including eight Royal Parks; and an area full of delightful waterfronts.

Of course, this all means that the appetite for properties in the capital is high which isn’t exactly music to the ears of searching tenants. It’s easy to understand why being a tenant can sometimes feel like you’re somewhat of an afterthought in a market that is short on supply but high in demand.

One possible way that tenants can combat the competition for accommodation is by searching at specific times of the year. Despite the strong desire for homes in London, certain periods are quieter than others, and it’s possible to find a good deal while facing less competition.

A Spring in your step

Spring is the time of year that most people start thinking about moving home. It’s also when landlords often redecorate their buy-to-lets, meaning many of the available houses and apartments will literally have a touch of spring cleaning to them.

If you’re serious about finding somewhere and you start your search in early spring, you can find some places to live that may well have had a recent refurbishment. Beware though: the further into the season you get, the higher demand is as spring turns into summer.

It’s a scorcher

Summer is often a peak period for rental searchers looking for a new home. The academic year is one of the main indicators for this, with many students migrating to London looking for accommodation while they study. This, in turn, can increase prices, and we’ve even heard some stories of people accepting rental accommodation without seeing the property, such is the demand.

If you can hold back during the summer months, we suggest you enjoy the weather (no matter how brief it is), grab an ice cream and let the property market cool down before you carry on with your search.

All the leaves are falling

Autumn really is a special time in London, to the point that we felt compelled to cover the best areas to live during the season. It’s also the time of year that the rental market gradually starts to slow down since all the students have found accommodation.

A report from ARLA, the Association of Residential Lettings Agents, has found rents have fallen since the Brexit vote. Lower rents, coupled with fewer people searching, means autumn is a good time to test the waters in the London rental market.

A light in the dark

The connotation associated with the winter months is that you should leave this period alone when it comes to looking for a property – especially around Christmas. After all, no wants to trudge around on winter evenings looking at apartment after apartment. Or do they? If you’re going to live in London, you might as well get used to the cold, and you may find that the results of looking for property around this time of year might just throw up a surprise or two.

Demand is nowhere near as high, meaning landlords will be more inclined to negotiate on monthly rental prices. It’s also a time of year when the majority of people aren’t searching, instead focusing on seasonal festivities like Christmas and New Year. That means you won’t be fighting for property and can even be a little more picky about the type of accommodation you desire.

The market does start to pick up just after the New Year, so if you can find a property before then, you may have more choice and less competition.

Finding the perfect rental

We understand the time of year that you decide to rent can come down to circumstances rather than choice. There are deals to be found at any time of the year; it’s about thoroughly researching the market and being clear and reasonable with what you want from a rental property.

You can always find out how much rent you should pay, and if you’re not sure which area to move to, our handy rental guide is a good place to start.

October 14, 2016 rentonomy Moving to the Capital