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Renting in the UK


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I'm thinking of moving back to the UK - not because I hate Australia, but because I've no family left in Oz now, and neither does my husband (who's European). I'm 60, he's 62 this year.


What I'm wondering is, how long are leases on flats in England? I was searching on the net and noticed a 12 month lease referred to as "short term". Are leases in England longer now, like they are in Europe? If so, how long is typical? And is furnished or unfurnished more normal?


The thing is, we're wrestling with the tax and pension difficulties. The sensible thing would be to wait until we're ready to claim the pension, so we can go with full entitlements - but we don't want to wait that long. So we may go for two or three years, then come back and wait out our qualification period for the pension before going back again. So we wouldn't want to sign up for a 5 year lease!

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Private landlords usually rent out 6-12 months, then it's the old resign or leave, depending on you and the landlord.


Many professional landlords are happy to rent longer term but still will only commit to a renewable yearly lease. If renting rent a house that is a proper lease, not one being rented out while owner overseas or moved in with new boyfriend or something as those are more likely to go pear shaped when they want to move back in.


If you get a housing association or council house, those are more ongoing but should be researched well and can be hard to get as wait lists are long.


Most places are unfurnished. Some places do come furnished but it's not to everyone's tastes etc.

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My experience is the same I've either had 6 or 12 month leases. However every landlord has then been happy to either re-new by the same amount or go on a month rolling basis. I have managed to rent both unfurnished and furnished in the past.


Obtaining a housing association property on my person experience is near enough impossible (One place I lived at had a 10 year waiting list) whereas 6 seems to be average. You sign up and have to "bid" on properties and the highest priority person generally gets it. When I have bidded in the past I have been lowest priority. (I don't know the full in's and outs but I know over crowding gives you higher priority).


Good luck on the move :)

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I've been renting in the UK for the last few years and I would agree with the above - most letting agencies will push for an initial 12 month term, renewable on 2 months notice at the end of the term if everyone's happy to do that. We had the option of renewing for 6 or 12 months. You can find 6 month lets but I haven't seen many around, might depend on where you're looking to live and the type of property. Probably more likely to get a 6 month or over 12 month tenancy from a private landlord. Bear in mind that letting agents can and will charge you for absolutely everything, including admin fees every time you renew. The cynic in me would say that's why they will probably not commit to longer than 12 months at a time. Renewal also gives them a chance to bump the rent up.


Furnished/unfurnished also depends a little on location and what sort of property you're after. Having been looking at furnished options in Melbourne lately I would say it's much easier to find something furnished in the UK - if not fully furnished a lot are part furnished with all white goods.


Hope that helps, and good luck!



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I'm a Scot originally but most of my family are in the south now - Devon, London, Kent. So I'm thinking Bristol, where I lived at one time. No doubt it's changed an awful lot in 30 years and I know there are rough areas - but I'm a real city girl, so I don't want to go to a small place, and I don't want to pay London prices either.


I may be living in cloud cuckoo land, but so far, rents in Bristol look awfully cheap. I should say, I live in inner city Sydney, so I'm paying $500 a week for a shoebox...

Edited by Marisawright
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