Renting in London without a job
Can you rent a private home in London without a job? The simple answer is yes. The slightly longer answer is yes you can, but there are some extra hoops you must jump through first:
- You will need to provide proof that you can afford to pay the rent. To assure the landlord of this you may be required to show more letters of reference and bank statements.
- You will need to pay your rent upfront – at least 6 months, up to 12 months in general – to prevent any missed payments given your current employment status. This is typically agreed through negotiation with your landlord. Therefore, there is no guarantee that the landlord will accept a unemployed tenant.
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Master all the steps needed to rent a home in London – including how to secure a property, understanding deposits, and checking the tenancy agreement before signing. Updated May 2023.
Here are some tips to help improve your chances of being approved for a rental when unemployed.
Seek listings with private landlords
Property management companies can be helpful when it comes to things like maintenance requests, but they are typically more rigid with their requirements than most private landlords. This makes it trickier for someone who’s unemployed to secure a rental through them.
Private landlords are often more flexible during the rental process, including the documentation you must provide for approval and your credit score. Unlike property management companies, which almost always ask for proof of income, some private landlords will only request a credit report and bank statements.
If you’re searching the rental market while unemployed, consider subletting: when an existing tenant lets all or part of their home to someone else who is known as the subtenant. The income and credit requirements are less rigid for subletters, whose rent payment is “guaranteed” by the tenant.
If you manage to secure a sublet, you will also benefit from cheaper rent, and you won’t be locked into a 12-month contract. This is handy if you want to find a different place to live once you’ve got a new job.
Provide proof of any non-traditional income
Even if you’re unemployed, you may have other income that will help you secure a rental – such as a redundancy package from your last job. Payments like child support, marriage settlements, and tax refunds can also be considered income – so document them on your rental application.
Offer to pay more upfront
If you have the financial resources to pay more rent upfront – whether that’s a few months extra to that requested by the landlord or the entire lease – you’ll be in a stronger position to get your application approved.
Find a guarantor
Ask your friends and family to see if anyone is willing to co-sign your lease as a guarantor. In doing so they will ‘guarantee’ your rent, so if you default on any payments, they’re legally obligated to cover you financially. This provides the landlord with an extra layer of reassurance – a ‘guarantee’ – that the terms of the tenancy agreement will be met.
The landlord might request to check your guarantor’s financial credentials to confirm they’re able to pay the rent – usually by conducting a credit history check. The guarantor must be based in the UK.
If you don’t know anyone who can act as a guarantor on your behalf, consider using a guarantor agency. This specialist service allows you to secure a UK-based rent guarantor, offering protection against any unpaid rent or damage caused during your tenancy.
Now you know that you can secure a rental in London even if you don’t have a job or regular income, you’re a step closer to finding your ideal home there.