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Foreign students drive up rental prices in London’s West End

Javier Carrillo, LDG’s lettings manager, said :

“We are seeing foreign students with budgets of up to £1000 per week. They are not looking for what we’d class as a typical student pad; they usually want very high spec, centrally located, two bedroom flats or apartments.

“For most students, location is the key factor in choosing an apartment; they do not want to walk for more than five minutes to get to their university and, ideally, would like to see it from their window. Bloomsbury is a very popular location because it has good access to a number of universities including UCL and The London School of Economics. Security is probably the second most important element; most of LDG’s student clients are young and living alone, their parents are very concerned about safety and so a porter and CCTV are a big advantage.

“Most students renting luxury properties tend to be from Asia, The Middle East or Europe; Russia in particular. These groups usually have the biggest budgets and will very often pay by cash. We’re seeing a low number of UK students looking within the West End, probably because they have been priced out of the market.”

Unless a foreign student has a relative living in the UK, who can co-sign their tenancy agreement, the student must pay a minimum of six month’s rent up-front; Javier says that this is the case with around 90% of foreign student tenants. Six month’s rent on a £1000 per week flat comes to almost £25,000 and wealthy scholars are happy to pay this; Javier says: “Some students, usually in their first year or those who had previously stayed in halls of residence, want to arrange their accommodation early and then have a holiday, so they will begin renting a flat in June or July but not actually move in until September, thus the rent is being paid on the property three or four months in advance, with nobody actually occupying it.

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