I am new to the country – how can I secure a rental with no references?

Q.  I have just arrived from overseas and attempted to rent an apartment but given I am only on a short-term contract with my new employers for two months initially and my girlfriend does not have a job yet our references have failed. We are in a catch 22 position now as we really need to get out of our expensive short-term accommodation but see now way out if this is how your referencing system works. Are there any solutions for someone in our predicament?

A.  Renting property private property is actually subject to more limitations than you may think. Right off the bat if you are renting in London you are likely to be moving in to a property that is worth somewhere between Three hundred to half a million thousand pounds and upwards, so you can understand why Landlords want to ensure that a new tenant can at least pass an affordability test when they are handing over keys to their investment. Whilst most focus on the legal requirements surrounding renting which now include satisfying the Anti-money Laundering Regulations as well as The Right to Rent Act, proving that you can actually afford the rent payments every month is equally as high up on the agenda. Reference companies have strict criteria that any would be tenant has to fulfil to gain a ‘Pass’ on their report and if you fail to be able to show earnings/or savings for the period of the rental contract then you will fail as you have just found out. However, there are usually two acceptable routes that you can go down in this scenario. The first is that you provide a UK based Guarantor. This person would need to also be referenced too and as long as they pass their references noting that if you were to default on the rent the Guarantor would step in to fulfil the payments. The second solution is that you could pay rent in advance. If you have agreed a twelve-month contract initially you could ask them to reduce the length to six months and pay six months rent in advance? Most landlords will accept either of these two solutions as an alternative. This should allow you to buy a little time to secure full time employment so as not to have issues with this again anytime in the future should you need to move or relocate. Remember that no one is being unreasonable or awkward here, it’s just that Landlords and Agents alike must feel comfortable right from the get go that you are able to fulfil your liabilities as a tenant.

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