Resources - Move to the Cotswolds
"A year in the Cotswolds" sounds like a great idea, doesn't it? Find a furnished house to rent, spend a year.
Most real estate agencies offer long term rentals ("residential lettings"), but it is not easy to find furnished rentals. Instead of spending a year or more, another option is to do a two or three month stay. We did this in January - March 2008 and stayed in a vacation rental. Because it was off season, we got a good rate and did not have to sign up for utilities, or get a visa to stay more than six months. I found a vacation rental in the area that I wanted and worked it out directly with the owner.
Another option is to look for a furnished six month let in the winter. People with vacation rentals frequently rent them out for the whole winter. Start looking in August. The rentals usually start in October.
What to Expect When Looking for a Long Term Rental
Leases: Most rentals have a six month to one year lease.
Credit Check/Deposit: Since you don't live in England it is harder to do a credit check, so they may need bank and character references and a larger deposit. Normally a one month's rent deposit is taken; for a foreigner they may want two month's rent.
Furnished Rentals: These are not common, but you will find some. Most people renting in the UK want unfurnished houses.
Pets: Some rentals will not accept pets. Cats are more likely to be accepted than dogs.
Prices: Real Estate in the Cotswolds is very expensive. A row house in a popular village that sells for £300,000+, may rent for £1,000 per month.
Extra Charges: Tenants pay utilities plus the yearly Council Tax (can be from £1000 to £1800 per year). In some cases tenants are expected to pay for yearly maintenance (e.g. chimney sweeping, electric testing, gas testing).
Best Time to Find a Rental: Most rentals come on the market the first half of the year - January to June.
Finding a Rental House
RightMove.co.uk: Search for sales and rentals by town and nearby area, or search by region (e.g. "Cotswolds"). All local agencies list on RightMove, so this is the only website you need to check.
Letting Agents for the Cotswolds
There are many agencies, but here are a few good ones.
Butler Sherborn: Sales and rentals, offices in Tetbury, Burford, Stow-on-the-Wold.
Hardcastles: Rentals only, office in Cirencester.
Perry Bishop and Chambers: Sales and rentals, offices in several Cotswold locations.
The Legal Bits - Visas, Pets, Etc.
This cat moved from
the US to the UK :)
UK Border Agency (Home Office): Government website with information for British visas, citizenship, right to abode. An American can visit the UK for up to six months without a visa. You may qualify for the right to live in the UK if one of your parents was born there. See the site for more information.
DEFRA - Wildlife, Pets (Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs): Regulations for bringing pets into the UK. As of January 2012 it is easier to bring pets into the UK. Your pet must microchipped and then vaccinated for rabies. After a 21 day wait, they may be brought into the UK. See the DEFRA site for all details.
UK in the US (Foreign & Commonwealth Office): British Embassy in the US. If you are an American wanting to apply for British citizenship, contact your local British embassy.
Dual Citizenship FAQ: Dual Nationality and United States Law. You can be a citizen of the US and of other countries at the same time.
USA - Embassy of Ireland: Information for Ireland.