Of London’s eight million-plus population, nearly three million were born outside the UK. Almost two thirds of that population rent their homes, meaning landlords considering international tenants have a market of some 1.75 million people to choose from.
With diversity comes a different set of needs, particularly among newly-arrived international home hunters who want to rent within London’s rental market.
From our experience of dealing with international tenants, here are some insights for London landlords…
- International schools
A surprisingly high proportion of the London rental market is clustered around the capital’s best international schools.
The top institutions in this market, near to which many international arrivals like to live, include the ACS International Schools in Cobham, Egham and Hillingdon, American School in St John’s Wood, Dwight School in Friern Barnet, Ecole Internationale Franco-Anglais in Marylebone and French Lycee on the Cromwell Road.
Others of note include the Halycon School near Marble Arch, Hill House in Knightsbridge, International Community School in Marylebone and Paddington, International School in Chiswick and Southbank International School sites in Hampstead, Kensington and Westminster.
- Contract T&Cs
International arrivals in the UK are often used to very different property rental arrangements. This includes length of contract, security of tenure, fee arrangements and other contractual terms and conditions. The standard T&Cs applied in the UK will therefore need to be explained more carefully. For example, German renters are unused to furnished properties and often expect to provide their own kitchen cupboards, oven and sink.
Some international arrivals are keen to preserve their privacy. Often they are happy to pay rent up to 12 months in advance to avoid being put through referencing checks. But they must still pass the recently introduced ‘Right to Rent’ checks
Wealthier international tenants arriving in London often ask for properties with concierge services to give them a buffer zone between their new home and the unfamiliar world outside – someone on reception who can advise on where to go, eat, shop, entertain themselves and even sign for packages during offices hours.
- Bundled services
International arrivals often struggle to get broadband, phone and other utility accounts because they have no payment track record and therefore no credit score in the UK. It is increasingly popular for rented properties to include fixed-price services such as broadband and heating bills as part of the rent.
- Luxury students
One niche market in London is the luxury international student sector. This tends to be characterised by Russian and Asian undergraduates who want to live in central London, particularly in new-build luxury apartments and usually along the Thames or in fashionable areas such as Clerkenwell and Hoxton. In our experience, they are prepared to spend up to £5,000 a month on property.