Spareroom : Are there any fees I should expect if the room is advertised by an agent ?
I'm going to move to London in February, I've never lived in the UK so I don't really know how the rental market works there.
Are there any additional fees apart from the rent+potential deposit?
Thanks!

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"From 1 June 2019, when the Tenant Fees Act comes into effect, it's illegal for a letting agent to charge you fees when you rent a new property, or renew your tenancy". They may charge you extra fees but you should push back as its not allowed.

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You can secure a room from abroad, but it’s highly risky. I would Airbnb and rent on the spot, or at least have a friend come over to check the place.
Rent is frozen in the contract, the landlord cannot increase unless they initiate a break clause. In practice landlords in the UK don’t change the price during the contract and only start talking about price increases at the time of renewal, 2-3 months before current contract expiry. Usually they would try a small increase that would give them a bit more and would be not big enough for you to take the hassle of moving.

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Whatever you do, do not pay any agent fees, it is illegal. Your max deposit should be no higher than 5 weeks rent. Common tenancy in London is 12 months, but you may be able to negotiate a 6 month break clause.

When using spareroom I usually deselect agent listed lettings and look for private ads, these tend to be the places with favourable rents, flexible tenancy arrangements and more sociable housemates as the home is personally involved in selecting the roommate.

London’s spareroom market is competitive, most places are listed and gone within 1-2 days and available within less than 1 month so I would personally recommend Airbnb for a bit.

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I'd say don't look for places until you're here. As other commenters say there is too much dodgy stuff and the rest goes out after a week on the market max. Get an Airbnb and find a place once you arrive.

For spareroom i don't mind agencies, just be careful with your contract. I've rented privately with a landlord before and they were a nightmare. I've never had issues with agencies but am picky.

The fees you can expect is a deposit (max 5 weeks, sometimes less), sometimes a cleaning fee for when you move out, and an early termination fee (usually for 6 month clauses for example if you leave early you pay a weeks rent or sth). I'd try to negotiate a break clause after 6 months, in case you don't like the place to stay where you are.

Make sure to check what kind of people are staying in the place usually. If it's near a uni find sth else, students are tough to share with as a professional.

Look at things like window quality (are they very cold, is there a draft), what kind of heating (central vs electric) and if bills are included.

Good luck!

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