Moving to the UK as an intern

Interns posted to the UK will need to find suitable accommodation. And in order to do so, will need to make sure that they have a UK bank account set up and running.

Interns posted to the UK will need to find suitable accommodation. And in order to do so, will need to make sure that they have a UK bank account set up and running.The next stage is for the intern to decide whether they want to live alone or with friends. If they do want to live on their own, they should be advised to start looking via letting agents or estate agents, but note that not all estate agents will have a lettings department.How to searchUsing an internet search engine to find agents in the areas that are close enough to their place of work is the obvious way to start, but new employees who are already in the UK may also walk around any area and easily find estate agents lining the main streets. Rents are quoted weekly in London, and the intern should be advised to check prices first, so that they can see whether the area is within their budget and get a good idea of whether it is realistic to live by themselves or not.Applicants can register with a letting agent by walking into the office or by telephoning or emailing. The agent will ask for some personal details and show particulars of available properties that match the budget. Although photographs are usually quite clear, it is wise to visit the property before signing anything, as it might be on a busy road or right above a late-night bar.Of course, much of the background searching can be done online, but it is worth noting that the major property websites, such as www.rightmove.co.uk or www.zoopla.co.uk are not always kept up to date, so it is worth calling an agent directly, to find out exactly what is new on the market and what is no longer available. It should be noted too that 0845 numbers quoted on these websites will be costly to use, so it's best to find the agency online first to get their landline number.Personal safetyIf viewing a property, prospective tenants should ideally be shown around by a reputable agent, but if they plan to view a room or apartment by themselves with the landlord, ensure that they have given the address and particulars to a friend or colleague and the time that they are going, or better, encourage them to take someone along with them.Fees and ReferencesOnce an apartment has been selected, the applicant will have to show proof of identity, so the agent will take a copy of their passport and possibly their employment terms.Applicants may also have to pay the following fees:
  • Referencing fees (fees payable to the agent for obtaining references)
  • Tenancy agreement fee (a fee for producing the tenancy agreement)
  • Inventory check in fee (note that the tenant should only be paying for either the inventory check in at the start of the tenancy or the inventory check out at the end of the tenancy, not both)
Along with the fees and deposit the intern will need to set up a standing order for the rent to be paid monthly in advance so they will need to give their landlord or agent their UK bank details before they sign the tenancy agreement.DepositRemind the applicant to read the tenancy agreement carefully, and, if in doubt over any of the clauses, ask the agent what they mean. If they are unhappy about signing anything, they should have the agreement checked by a professional.The agent will normally ask for a month’s rent in advance, together with a six-week deposit. The deposit should be held in an account protected by a government-backed deposit scheme that the landlord does not have access to.At the end of the tenancy, the inventory checkout report will itemise any damage done to the property, and the tenant will be informed of the amount (if any) owed. This figure can be challenged, and if an agreement cannot be reached, the matter can be taken to a third party to decide.SharingInterns who are unfamiliar with the UK might want to find a large house or apartment so that they can either share with colleagues or friends, or forge new friendships. If they are over 18 years of age, their name will have to be on the tenancy agreement which means that all adults in the household will be equally responsible for ensuring that the rent is paid on time. Those new to the UK should also be aware that it can be difficult to manage if one of the tenants has to leave and the others are left to make up the shortfall. If the bedrooms are of very different sizes, they may also need to decide the proportion of rent payable by each occupant. New visitors should also be made aware that all the tenants will be liable to pay Council Tax along with a share of the utility bills. Make sure that the intern has read and holds a copy of the tenancy agreement, knows exactly how long they are contracted to stay at the property, and that they know exactly how the bills will be split and if they are sharing, what the cooking and eating arrangements are.For flatshares there are six main online agencies:www.easyroommate.comwww.spareroom.co.ukwww.globrix.comwww.houseshare.comwww.flatshare.comwww.flatmaterooms.co.ukwww.loot.comThe local newspaper can also be a good source of properties, but interns should be advised that when answering advertisements, they should follow the steps suggested above to ensure their personal safety. By ensuring that they select a suitable property in an appropriate location and within their budget and being aware of their responsibilities as a tenant, interns should find that they will settle more quickly into their UK assignment. 

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