Two of the most exclusive residential areas in the world, Belgravia and Knightsbridge have been magnets for British and international tenants for centuries. On the outside, there are numerous classical terraces and squares, yet they also have many of the attributes of an urban village, with a friendly atmosphere and independent shops to discover.
You might be thinking of moving to London for work, pleasure or to study. Whatever your reason, our rental guide aims to answer your questions.
Where are the best places to live?
London is made up of 32 boroughs. Belgravia in Westminster and Knightsbridge in the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea are two of the most historic and exclusive areas of the capital, with attractive properties and green open spaces.
Top executives and celebrities love these locations equally. Leafy streets and world class shopping with Harrods and Harvey Nichols on your doorstep. Some of the best places to live in London are the glorious garden squares, including Cadogan Square, Eaton Square, Lowndes Square and Chester Square. Properties here are perennially popular.
Visit the links below for more historical information:
Belgravia – http://www.grosvenorlondon.com/belgravia/belgravia-history/
Knightsbridge – https://www.cadogan.co.uk/the-estate/our-heritage/
Types of property
Whether you love the stucco-fronted appearance of Eaton Square, quintessentially Belgravia, or the handsome red-brick buildings of Cadogan Square in Knightsbridge, you will be delighted by your new neighbourhood. From stunning garden squares to discreet cobbled streets, Belgravia and Knightsbridge offer a huge range of desirable London homes. The signature property includes; white stucco-fronted terraces, with high-ceilinged drawing-rooms, dating back to the Georgian or early Victorian era. Many mansion buildings also include lifts and porterage/concierge.
Streets to target
Top streets worth targeting include Cadogan Gardens, close to Sloane Street; Kinnerton Street, handy for Waitrose supermarket; and Wilton Crescent, the most prestigious London address moment from Hyde Park.
So how long does it take to find a rental property?
You should be able to find a flat or house within 72 hours, however, an existing tenant will give two months’ notice to move out so often you can take your time. Always ask your agent for a recommendation and the best properties always let quickly, so be prepared to move fast for your favourite.
How much should you spend on rent?
Advertised prices are usually per week in London. Here is a snapshot across Belgravia and Knightsbridge to give you a current indication:
- Studio – £350 per week (£1,517 pcm)
- 1 Bedroom – £600 per week (£2,600 pcm)
- 2 Bedroom – £900 per week (£3,900 pcm)
- 3 Bedroom – £1,500 per week (£6,500 pcm)
- 4+ Bedroom – £2,500 per week (£10,833 pcm)
What other charges should you consider?
Council tax varies depending on the value of the property and if you are a student, you are exempt. A 25% single person’s discount is applied on application.
- Belgravia council tax is payable to the borough of Westminster (https://www.westminster.gov.uk/council-tax-bands-and-rates).
- Knightsbridge council tax is payable to the Royal Borough of Kensington & Chelsea (https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/council-tax/band-values-and-charges).
Utilities include water, electric and gas. Internet service, TV license and phone, are paid for by the tenants.
Agents Fees- In addition to the rent and deposit required for your new property there is likely to be a contract fee and associated referencing costs. These will be provided by the agent in advance.
How long is the standard rental agreement?
We can customise the rental agreement to suit you and the landlord and generally 12 months is the industry standard. For additional security, you may wish to consider a longer-term contract (two-three years) or opt for a break clause, where the landlord and tenant have the option bring the contract to an end within two months.
Is there a deposit?
Yes, the deposit equates to six weeks’ rent or eight weeks’ rent if you have a pet. Deposits are insured, registered and protected by an independent scheme for both tenants and landlords. Henry & James use the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). For further information, talk to the Henry & James’ letting team.
Is the property for me?
Consider exactly what you need: how many bedrooms, overall size of the property and the size of the living space, including the kitchen. You will often hear agents discussing square feet and the area of a professional floor plan is measured in square feet and square meters.
Is there a porter?
Many of the historic mansion blocks have porters or a concierge service, while new buildings sometimes include a staffed reception area. It’s great for security if you are away and useful for parcel delivery when you are not at home. Look out for a resident housekeepers or caretaker who will look after you during your tenancy.
Do properties have air conditioning and central heating?
Air conditioning is very unusual for London properties; it is generally not needed for the British weather. The occasional heatwave is considered a rare treat! The Victorians invented the sash window, which could be opened the same amount at the top and bottom to create a flow of air through the property.
Most properties have gas central heating via radiators in each room. Underfloor heating is becoming more widespread, although this is still considered a luxury.
How does resident’s parking work?
Parking is at a premium in central London. On-street parking can be a challenge, however, for most buildings you will be eligible for a permit if your property is your primary residence.
- For more information on parking in Belgravia, see https://www.westminster.gov.uk/applying-resident-parking-permit-first-time
- For more information on parking in Knightsbridge, see https://www.rbkc.gov.uk/parking-transport-and-streets/residents/residents-parking-permits
Should you ship your furniture to the UK?
If you wish to keep your furniture, then we can find an unfurnished property for you. Stairs and small lifts can cause problems with larger pieces and the majority of apartments come furnished. We also work with reputable interior design companies should you wish to arrange a consultation.
So, can I bring my pet?
Some landlords will allow pets, so check first. The UK has a pet passport scheme which means pets can travel from abroad. All EU countries and several other nations, including USA, Canada and Australia are included in the scheme. You should start investigating the process about six months to a year, before you plan to travel to the UK (https://www.gov.uk/take-pet-abroad).
Anything else I should know?
Before you are given keys to your new property your agent will need to see original passports, visas and proof of residency for everyone over the age of 18 in person. These Right to Rent checks are mandatory to verify the tenant’s status in the UK.
What happens if something goes wrong?
Ask if the property is professionally managed to find out who to call after you have moved in.
International Tenant Guide – Glossary and useful terms
Agreement / Tenancy
Also known as lease or contract.
ARLA Property Mark
The Association of Residential Letting Agents, the UK’s foremost professional body for letting agents.
Assured Shorthold Tenancy Agreement (AST)
The standard tenancy agreement normally used for residential lettings.
Break Clause/ Release Clause
This is a clause within a tenancy agreement that provides both the tenant and the landlord the opportunity to terminate the tenancy agreement early. Either party can ‘break’ the tenancy before the fixed end date by giving notice to the other.
Check-in / Check-out
The process of checking a property before and after a tenant has moved in. The condition of the property and the contents is checked against the inventory (see “I”) and the report is used as evidence for the settlement of the deposit.
Company Agreement / Corporate Tenancy
An agreement where responsibility lies with the company as the tenant and the individual (usually the director or employee) is listed as a permitted occupier.
Energy Performance Certificate (EPC)
All properties let for private residential purposes must have an energy performance rating of A-E. The certificate must be available at all times.
Fixed Term Tenancy
A tenancy with a specified start and end date without a break clause.
Gas Safety Certificate (CP12)
A document showing that all gas appliances (and the meter) have had an annual gas safety check carried out by a Gas Safe registered engineer. A legal requirement for all properties with gas/solid fuels.
Someone chosen to guarantee the payments of rent and condition of the property for the tenant for the duration of the tenancy.
An inventory is a report generated before the tenancy starts to provide an accurate list of the property’s contents and its’ condition.
A letting agent who manages the day to day running of the property on behalf of the landlord. The landlord remains legally responsible for the property and repairs, but the agent works on the landlord’s behalf. Henry & James offer a bespoke property management service.
A process by which the tenant is credit checked and verified, this will include checks on their current employment status and previous residences.
Right to Rent
The Right to Rent scheme ensures the letting agent carries out a check on the UK residency status of every tenant and occupier over the age of 18 before they move into a property.
A sum of money taken from the tenant at the beginning of the tenancy held against non-payment of the rent and any damage to the property (above and beyond reasonable wear and tear).
The Property Ombudsman (TPO)
The TPO is a UK government-approved organisation which aims to provide better consumer protection for home buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, by providing independent conflict resolution and raising standards of service in the residential property industry.
Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS)
The Tenancy Deposit Scheme protects the security deposit money for the tenant and will provide adjudication for any disputes at the end of the tenancy.
To view properties to let in Belgravia, Knightsbridge and Chelsea, visit http://www.henryandjames.co.uk/property-lettings