It is possible but unlikely that upon arrival in the UK as an International Medical Graduate (IMG) you are able to move into a property that you own straight away. Chances are, you are going to need to rent. These are seven things I have learnt, and think you should know about renting property in the UK.
- Hospital accommodation may be cheaper but is not always value for money. Check for accommodation online at sites like Rightmove and Zoopla. You could be living a lot more comfortably with just a little more. For example the hospital accommodation in the first place I lived was a 3 bedroom old creaky house. All bills included, it cost about 1065GBP. I moved to a spacious, modern furnished two bedroom flat. Total cost of rent and bills was about 900GBP. An added bonus was it was close to the city centre. So, explore your options.
- The process of completing reference checks and agreeing on move in dates can vary in length and can be difficult to predict. For example, a previous landlord may be away on holiday and the delay in responding to the reference check may add a few days to the process. Plan your notice period at your current location to accommodate for unforeseeable delays at no additional cost. Try as you might, you cannot always win. I had planned to the best of my ability and then there was a storm. We were snowed in. I ended up paying rent at the old place and the new place as well as covering the bills at the new place from the date my tenancy commenced. You cannot always win.
- Consider hiring a cleaner before you move in. Most places are nice and clean when you move in, however some just look clean. Hiring a cleaner means, you can unpack straight away without having to clean grease out of cupboards or worry about unclogging drainages. The amount of time I have spent cleaning out greasy kitchen cupboards just doesn’t bear thinking about. This one is definitely a note to self.
- During your time in the property, promptly report any faults that develop. If you have a good landlord and good agents, it will get fixed quickly at no cost to yourself.
- Treat the property like it is yours. This has two benefits. The first is that it gets you into the habit of being careful. This will serve you when you do buy your own property. The second, is it reduces the likelihood of losing a significant part of your deposit when you move out. This has worked really well for me. Any parts of my deposits lost, have been lost to cleaning (see next tip).
- When you are moving out, use the cleaning agents recommended by your landlord. Chances are the price will seem steep and you will be able to get a cheaper option. I digress and tell you my experience. First time I moved, I used the cleaner recommended by the landlady. No issues, my deposit was fully refunded. The second time, I used the cleaner that was previously recommended. He must be good right, since I got my deposit back. Wrong. I had to pay a second time for cleaning because he did a terrible job. Third time I moved; agents recommended a cleaner. I found one that saved me £75. In the end, it cost me more money because the agents didn’t think I had done a good job and got another cleaner in. Moral lesson, just go with their cleaner and avoid problems.
- What to do if things go wrong. When you move in, you will be given a lot of documents. One of them will be a Tenancy Deposit Scheme pamphlet or pdf document. It gives you guidelines on what to do if your landlord attempts to withhold your deposit unfairly. Due to the fact things like this can happen, be sure to document all communication between you and agents. Typically, it will be via emails so do not delete them. In the event that your communication is via a phone call, follow it up with an email detailing what you discussed. Do not give in to bullying tactics which are sometimes employed. You have rights and make it clear you know what they are. .
I hope this helps. I would like to hear what some of your experiences have been with renting in the UK. Please share in the comments section or email me if you have questions
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