A Guide to Moving Home in London

Moving house in the big smoke might present some opportunities but is fraught with problems all of its own. The location you pick within Greater London can have a huge effect on your day to day living, from the commute to the atmosphere of your neighbourhood and more. The logistics alone, however, of moving house, can be an utter nightmare if you aren’t prepared. Take a look at our comprehensive help list of what to look out for when you are moving house in and around London.

The traffic

Probably the first thing to come to mind when you think of living in the capital is the traffic. It’ll either invoke images of quick and efficient tube lines or painfully slow traffic jams and build-ups. And, it’s both. The further out from the centre you are the less of a problem this should be. Very generally put, for those living and working in London, the Victoria line on the underground is more efficient than say the Central line, and at peak times, much more so than buses.

What do these mean for moving services on the roads? Although looking around and comparing various packing and transport prices of removals companies should help you find the most cost-effective house removal service, you really also need to look at using providers who know how to navigate the traffic. That means scoping out the best reviewed local removal services for the area online. We will look at how the traffic affects some other costs when choosing a moving company a little later.

Getting a feel for the area

Once you have visited a new property in London and decided to take up residence there, it is a good idea to scope out parking space and other logistical factors at either end of the journey. The time of day you expect to arrive and unload is important, as peak times will obviously be more congested. So, try to see for yourself what the roads are like at the time you want or expect to unload. The closer your new house is to Central London, and even the nearer you are to a station – on any line in the zones – the less likely your home is likely to feature its own off-road parking space. Still, homes close to stations command higher sale and rent prices due to the relative ease of commute to the centre areas. If you don’t have a drive or parking space, you will need to search out parking spaces available nearby. Visit your London borough’s website to see if you also need to obtain a permit for the removal vans to unload there.

Congestion charges and Red routes

These are both measures designed to ease road traffic congestion and movers are so often caught out by these. London-specific measures as a result of the traffic affect efficiency and cost of moving in ways you wouldn’t expect when moving from anywhere else in the country.

Red routes incur fines (Penalty Charge Notices) for unnecessary stopping or blocking on the area’s busiest streets. Although making up around 5% of London’s roads, red routes are a network of major roads that carry as much as 30% of the total traffic. You may have to apply for a special parking dispensation for the removals company to unload between off-peak hours, usually 10:00 am – 4:00 pm.

The Congestion Charge, a standard daily fee of £11.50, was introduced in 2003 for non-exempt vehicles to travel through certain parts of Central London and the West End on weekdays. If travelling through these areas is unavoidable en route to moving to your new home, there is an option to pay a one-off standard charge by midnight on the day, or Congestion Charge Auto Pay (CCAP) up to 90 days in advance. This prepay option is frequently used at a reduced rate of £10.50 by businesses such as moving companies, where they are charged per driver per day at the end of the month. Ask the removal company about this when you book.

London Low Emissions Zone

This covers the majority of Greater London and is in operation every day, 24 hours a day, all year round. The measure is designed to cut the levels of harmful pollutants released by traffic and is aimed at the most heavies diesel vehicles on the road. When you look for a London removal company, check that their vehicles comply with this regulation, which requires vehicles with larger engines to conform to low emissions regulations or pay a daily fee. Typically, advance warning signs appear ahead of the zone affected to offer alternative routes, and the scheme is enforced by cameras and number plate reading. The rates that the moving company will have to pay may impact the overall rate they offer you for their removal services.

Browse London based comparison sites for house moving services

With all of the above factors to take into consideration, the potential for costs to be too much already can make your hair stand on end. Luckily, there are plenty of well-oiled London removals companies who have devised operations to circumvent these barriers on a daily basis while keeping removals costs competitive.

Whether you are moving to a different part of London or away across the country, the easiest thing to do is to check out comparison sites that compare reviews, customer ratings and quotes from moving companies operating around London. You input moving details starting with postcodes, and you should be emailed quotations from five or six different companies. Check for what credentials each comparison site looks for in the removals companies they show, such as accreditation and credit checks. Find out if the comparison site has unbiased reviews from verified customer reviewers: typically the higher the number of reviews, the more unbiased the result is likely to be.

Finally, try and use removals company databases for your specific locality of London, or example South East London, North, etc.

Once you have tailored your moving routes and timings, anticipated any unavoidable charges, and found the right moving company, it should be less of a headache.