I just moved to London. They seem to have a decent bike culture but I just spoke with a letting agent about renting apartments and she said that most apartments don't allow bicycles inside and most streets don't allow bicycles chained outside. What do I do?! Or, to better fit the general nature of this site, what do people in London generally do with their bikes?

  1. Only people who have private gardens ride bikes.
  2. Bring the bike inside anyway. Maybe get a folding bike.
  3. The letting agent is lying. There are definitely some flats that allow bikes.
  4. None of the above.
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    A Boris Bike is a good option - at least until you know enough to answer your question - if the scheme extends out to you. Go to the tfl website for more info. – PeteH Oct 26 '15 at 19:17
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    In other parts of the UK bikes are definitely taken inside rented places. And leaving them on the street is more a matter of theft than anything else. Some places are very protective of their railings as well. – Chris H Oct 26 '15 at 19:44
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    Can somebody really forbid you to take your bicycle into your flat? Isn’t that against public policy, even if written in the contract? Just don’t leave it in the hallways or they’ll blame you for blocking an escape route. I’d think that most places have some kind of bicycle shed or bike rack, which might be okay for a cheap bike. – Michael Oct 26 '15 at 20:01
  • When i lived in a rented flat in london my bike stayed in my room. Didnt ask about it in the first place so, maybe thats been a mistake – gaurwraith Oct 26 '15 at 21:13
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    The answer is (3). This is London's famous London. Your bike will be stolen if you habitually leave it locked up outside, no matter which lock(s) you use. Ask around on here. My advice would be to remove the front wheel before taking it inside. Then you aren't storing a bicycle, only bicycle parts. – JHCL Oct 27 '15 at 16:51

To add to Michael's comment if it's your property you can't be forbid to bring a bicycle into your apartment, unless it's somehow unlawful to be in possession of said bicycle. Would you be forbid to bring a crank set or a pair of wheels or a bar set into your apartment? Why would you be forbid to bring those things assembled in a certain way into your apartment?

Read your lease very carefully, or get a lawyer and ask him or her about your situation considering your lease. If you can meet the building owner or property manager and ask, indirectly, about bicycles, do so and get a feel for their attitude about it. If you can tell they are going to be giving you a hard time about it don't even bother, look elsewhere. Having a bad landlord and/or building owner is a whole other problem in and of itself.

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    I suspect its possibly more to do with damage to the building while lugging your bike in and out, water/oil damage to the floorings, risk of blocking up accessways with bikes, and an inability on the lease writer's part to understand requirements. "its easier to ask forgiveness than to get permission" – Criggie Oct 27 '15 at 4:20
  • I do it everyday with no markings or other problems. Of course you don't leave it out in the hall, but I don't think the poster was going to do that. I agree it's easier to ask later. No one should be bullied or influenced before renting. It's cliche but know your rights. – ebrohman Oct 27 '15 at 4:47
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    Agreed, but on the flip side, noone says you have to be rented a space. Here in my city housing is at a premium, and for a rental you might have 10-100 applicants. Landlords can be choosy, and someone demanding their right to have a bike inside might be a less suitable tenant. If the rental contract says "no pets" it means no pets. Why would a bike be different? Back on topic - some buildings have a storage space, either out the back or on the ground floor. Often its a shared space with a shared combination/key, which is not ideal. Ask the landlord when viewing. – Criggie Oct 27 '15 at 7:15
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    I’m no lawyer but at least in Austria there are some things which you can’t enforce in a contract, simply because they are contrary to public policy (if that’s the right translation). You e.g. can’t forbid someone from having female visitors or having children in a flat or having a conversation during the day. I wonder if the same could be said about bicycles, as long as you don’t damage anything (and even then it’s probably not enough to get thrown out, as long as you repair it/pay for it). – Michael Oct 27 '15 at 9:17
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    Its perfectly legal in the UK to have a clause in the rental contract to forbid the storage of bicycles; however it is pretty rare. Check the contract (or "tennancy agreement" as it will likely be called. If its in there then bad luck, if its not then you're OK. – Qwerky Oct 29 '15 at 14:46

In my experience, it seems fairly standard practice for the tenancy agreements supplied by agents to forbid the storage of bikes in properties. I have always just done so regardless, though I can understand why you might want to avoid clearly violating the terms of your agreement.

I'm fairly sure that your landlord (unless they are live-in) is required to give you notice before visiting the property. I think they would probably have difficulty proving that you're storing them there if you remove them before any visit.

  • I don't know if thats the case in the UK, but a lot of places in the US don't require notice for visits. – Batman Oct 27 '15 at 14:33
  • I've rented a few houses/flats in London and never seen a no bike clause; in fact I've always had at least one bike at each place. – Qwerky Oct 29 '15 at 14:48

As a former and occasional landlord, I can see why folks would try to forbid bikes in building. They have a nasty habit of leaving gouges in hallways and doors right about the height at which pedals are when they're carried.

But such things are really best handled under general prohibitions against damaging property and assessing damages against security deposits, etc. etc.

In any case, private landlords have considerable leeway in terms of what we can forbid as long as it doesn't go against anti-discrimination laws. So you may run up against a lathed-plaster wall if you try to go the legal route.

You might be most convincing if you show them your nice little Brompton, all folded up and in a slip cover, and thus not at all likely to bash a huge dent in the owner's 15th century, polished wooden bannisters.

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    Nice - "lathed plaster wall" instead of brick wall. At work we daily bring about 25 bikes into a store room on the first floor (second floor for Americans) and the stairwell sports some tyre/tire marks already, its only been painted a week ago. – Criggie Oct 29 '15 at 21:36
  • Also: bikes left in storage areas tend take up a lot of space, fall down and damage things, get left behind, etc. etc. – RoboKaren Oct 30 '15 at 3:05
  • Still a better option than leaving the bike outside in the English Sunshine. Decent hooks are a good idea, and hang them up out of the way. Locking them is a good idea too, if everyone has the same key to the storage space. And left behind? FREE BIKE! – Criggie Oct 30 '15 at 3:55
  • Not really free because you can't sell it without rising getting accused of theft if the serial number was registered. A big hassle all in all. – RoboKaren Oct 30 '15 at 4:04

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