Obviously, we can’t commence marketing a property unless we know when it’s available from, and as two months’ notice is the starting point it’s highly unlikely we’ll be marketing a property for rent in, say, June with an availability date of September: we won’t know whether it’s going to be available then as the contract is still in force – as notice hasn’t been served by either the landlord or tenant.
There are exceptions of course, student accommodation being the main one. Some student rental contracts are only 9 or 10 months in length, accounting for the summer break, so the landlord or student letting agency will be actively seeking tenants for September as early as May or June.
So, our advice is to start your rental search around 6 weeks before you need to move in somewhere. Agents will have started marketing properties where two months’ notice has recently been served, and of course they will also have properties on their books which are available immediately too.
With so many brand new developments having been in completed in London, particularly in East London, over the last 12 months or so, you will find there is a lot of property available to rent immediately. And that’s an important point also.
Landlords buy rental properties as investments, and yes, the potential capital appreciation of the asset will be big part of their motivation to invest, but empty properties mean no rent… no income! So, if you’re looking to rent a property in 6-8 weeks don’t expect a landlord to accept your offer if their property is available right now. If they committed to your tenancy offer, they would be guaranteeing that they would miss out on 6-8 weeks rent.
However, with so much rental property available right now, landlords do understand that void periods (the gap between tenancies) do happen. Most landlords will consider a start date 4 weeks away, but very few will consider a tenancy offer with a start date of over 4 weeks away.
So, save yourself some time, and start your rental search 6 weeks before you need to move in somewhere. It may seem a bit last minute to you, but trust us, it’s not!