Tips for South Africans Relocating to the UK

Forbury Services and Dream Move Relocation have drafted some tips on a variety of issues for South Africans relocating to the UK.

Bank Accounts and Credit Ratings

How do I open a UK bank account?

If moving with employment, then the better relocation consultants will have contacts with banks to ensure an account can be opened without a UK address.

Due to UK banking regulations this can take some time still, so we tend to advise to open a digital bank account as a short term option whilst awaiting your more permanent account to be opened. Also, the majority of our UK digital and high street accounts are free to use.

How can we build our credit rating as quickly as possible in the UK?

There are numerous ways such as registering on the electoral role and utilising and paying off credit cards as soon as these options are available to you. If renting, there is a great resource called Credit Ladder also, with more insight provided on the hyperlink.  

Relocation Agents

What can a relocation agent do for me?

Quite simply we spend all day working for you (this is what we do, day in day out). We have built up over the last few decades, great relationships with independent and corporate agents and have numerous contacts in the property market. The agent works for the landlord, and we work for you right from the initial viewing, be that face to face, virtual or video and negotiate as best we can for you, right through to due diligence and signing of contracts and even after moving in we are on hand to help you settle into your new neighbourhood.

Renting in the UK

Will they take my SA salary into account for rental affordability purposes, or do we need a job UK based job? 

Sadly, in most circumstances no, they (landlords, agents, and reference companies) want to see all income paid into a UK bank account.

Do we need to pay several months upfront rent, as we are new to the UK – say 3 or 6/12 months?

No, but it can help if you have the “means” to pay upfront or at least “offer” it to them – they like to know you have money behind you just in case. The household income needs to be 30 x the monthly rent, so a £1000pcm rent payment would require a combined income of £30,000per annum or £1500pcm rent would require a combined income of £45,000 and so on.

Why is it so hard to rent a house in the UK? I read on many SAFFA groups that it is so hard when there seems to be lots to rent on the property website Rightmove and Zoopla?

A lot of what you see, is what we call “clickbait” unfortunately, quite simply, we are a small island and there is, and has been for many years, a severe lack of real stock in all areas and demand is outstripping supply. Many landlords have either sold up as there are so many regulations to adhere to and any tax breaks that were in place, are not now. Many landlords have turned their long term rental into Airbnb’s as they can earn 2 or 3 the income this way, although there is a lot more work involved.

Do I have to move in on the 1st of the month?

No, you can move in any day the house is available from.

School Catchment Area

If we rent a house near to the closest school that we like, will that guarantee a placement for my children as we will be in the catchment area, correct?

Sadly not, it depends on each school, year group and space in a class, that has to be available for that child at that moment in time. It is complicated and you may need specialist school advisors.


Why does the UK seem to anti-pets? I thought they were a big pet loving nation. Our pets are as important as any other member of our family?

The UK in the main is a very pet friendly nation, although the government in their wisdom (as governments do) decided to make it fairer to all by saying you can only hold a 5 week deposit for dilapidations for any damages, when it used to be 6 weeks and a further 2 weeks could be held if you had pets as extra security. All it did in fact, was to make it harder for any one with pets to secure a home, as the landlord has even less protection from possible damages. Some agents are reporting 20/30/50+ even 100 people per home registering an interest, so the landlord has an incredible choice of tenants to choose from.


Will the utilities be cut off before we arrive?

No need to worry, we don’t have ESKOM here. We also work very closely with a utility concierge service. They can (for free) set you up with all the utilities you require before you arrive. They also arrange council tax, mobile phone sims, Wi-Fi, insurance, etc.

Churches, Doctors, Dentists

Can you help us find a local church, doctors, and dentists etc?

Yes of course, we are always happy to help you to settle in any way you like. Be that a local sports club, swimming, rugby, football, or anything really. There isn’t much we haven’t come across before, so nothing surprises us!

Public Transport

I hear public transport is safe in the UK, but is that true?

Yes it is, but of course like in any big city be careful when in big crowds.

Planning Ahead

We are not ready to move this year. Can we still talk to you so we are more prepared in the future?

Yes, of course. We are always happy to talk to you and help alleviate any fears, so you are future proofed.

How Dream Move Relocation and Forbury Services can help you with Relocating to the UK

How do I proceed from here? I am very keen for you to help us in this process, as it is extremely overwhelming.

Simply email us. We can arrange a suitable time for a free no obligation video call to discuss the next steps. You can then decide to proceed further or not. The choice is always yours. These are just a few of the many questions we get asked all the time. Feel free to ask anything at any time. We are here to help in any we can.

For more information, please contact Mark Palmer at Forbury Services or contact Andrew White at Dream Move Relocation

Please contact us today for further information or applications.

Related Posts