If you are looking to rent one of the many apartments in Mayfair in London that are available for short or long-term let there is quite a list of questions that you should ask before paying a deposit. Not the least of these is whether the price that you have been quoted incudes VAT. For any stay short of 30 days in London the VAT rate is 20%. This means that if the rate you have been quoted is, say, 300 a night and it is net of VAT, the amount that you will be charged is actually 360 a night, and that is quite a big difference, especially if you are staying for a fortnight. You can probably do the sum yourself, but that would work out at an extra 840 which is nearly the equivalent of another three nights.
You should also check the exact address with the postcode, because you can then look it up by postcode online. Ask where the nearest tube station, railway station, or bus stop is. This doesn’t matter so much if you are planning to stay for only a few nights and remain in Mayfair, but if you want to go outside the area it suddenly becomes important.
What about staffing?
Is there a reception staffed for 24 hours, and is there security? Can you get in to the apartment if you are out late at night or is the building locked at, say, 11.00 pm?
What floor is the apartment on? Some Mayfair apartments are five or six floors up, and if they are you need to know if there is a lift. You don’t want to be walking up and down five flights of stairs all the time.
Ask if the apartment has a television, and perhaps more importantly in the 21st century, high speed broadband. Is there heating in all the rooms, and if so how does it operate? Do you have to put coins in a meter? Is there air conditioning? London can get quite hot in the summer, especially in Central London where there are so many buildings that get heated by the sun.
Think about the kitchen. You need to know what facilities are provided, such as a dishwasher, washing machine, and tumble dryer so that you can do your own laundry. There could also be a separate laundry room, but you need to know how you can take care of your laundry if you are staying for any length of time. You also need to know if the kitchen has a full-sized cooker with oven and a full-sized fridge and/or freezer. It could only be a kitchenette with a couple of hotplates and no oven.
Mayfair Apartment housekeeping
Another important point is the housekeeping. Some apartments in Mayfair make a point of advising you that they have a 7 day a week maid service included and that may lead you to think that all apartments do, but that is far from the case. You could find yourself having to make your own bed in the morning and do the dusting and cleaning, which is not what you want when on a holiday.
You also need to know who to contact in the case of an emergency. It seems that emergencies – especially plumbing leaks – always occur out of business hours, so if there is not a 24-hour reception you should have a number that you can call.
Also, you should check what is, and what is not, included in the price being asked. You might find that things you thought were included – maid service for instance – are actually charged as extras.
It is also worth checking out the going rate of apartments in Central London for two reasons. First, you could save yourself quite a lot of money if someone is asking an exorbitant rate, but unless you check you won’t know.
The other point is that there are a lot of scammers out there. They may promise the earth and ask for full payment in advance by Western Union. Whatever else you do, don’t pay by Western Union because that money can be collected anywhere in the world using false ID. Even if they only ask for 50% deposit, that’s still a lot of money. Remember the old saying: if it seems to be too good to be true, it probably is.