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Aishwarya

July 28th, 2023

Your cheat sheet to private accommodation in London

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Aishwarya

July 28th, 2023

Your cheat sheet to private accommodation in London

0 comments | 5 shares

Estimated reading time: 10 minutes

Looking for housing in a city like London can be quite an adventure, mainly because of the size of the city and the number of options you have to choose from which can add to the stress of decision-making. If you’re looking for private accommodation, this post breaks down the London private housing market for you. I start by highlighting some important things to consider before finalising a place and signing on the dotted line. Deciding on at least a few of these questions, makes the search process easier for you by providing a better structure to navigate the complex private housing market in London.Then I list some platforms and resources to explore private housing options to begin your search for your new place in London.

Let’s get into it.

  1. Budget: While this is a no-brainer, defining the amount you’re willing to set aside for rent provides a concrete approach for your search process. It also helps to leave a slight bit of wiggle room so that you’re a little flexible with the price ranges. Setting a budget can ensure that you do not deviate from it a lot when you’re exploring your options.
  2. Location: Since you’ll have to commute to campus regularly, it is worthwhile to consider the location you want to be staying at. The location you pick has an impact on the rent, as places closer to Central London will be priced higher than those that may be in Zone 3 or Zone 4. Secondly, consider the amount you’ll have to spend on travel when you choose a location. The further away from Central London your place is, the more you may end up paying for your commute. So, think about what fits your budget best, both in terms of the rent and your commute.
  3. Sharing: As a student, it’s important to consider whether you’re comfortable with sharing a flat and/or sharing a room. En-suite rooms in shared houses will have a room with a private bathroom and you’ll share the kitchen and other living spaces with flatmates. There are also double occupancy rooms where you’ll share the room and bathroom with a roommate. Studio rooms are self-contained with a bathroom and kitchen inside your room. The room type will determine your rent.
  4. Utilities and bills: For many private halls, your rent will usually include bills and utilities like electricity, WiFi, and water. Your rent may also cover contents insurance. However, this is not necessarily the case if you choose to live in a private flat. Also, think about access to amenities like laundry, computer room, common area where you can host friends, gym, parking for your bike, and the like. The range of options in the market is quite vast and so the amenities can vary extensively.
  5. Property size: In case of flats, this is obvious. The number of bedrooms in your shared flat will be linked to the number of roommates/ flatmates you’ll share your space with. However, be sure to look up the size of your room. Different room types will be of different sizes and sometimes, the size can vary even when the room type is the same and this will be reflected in the rent.
  6. Contract Length: Consider the length of your contract before you sign one. The per week rent will change basis your contract length even for the same room type. So, if you have clarity on where you’ll be spending the summer months, use that information while deciding on your contract length.

Those are the factors to consider when renting privately as a student in London.

Now we’ll look into the platforms and resources that you can use to begin your search.

  1. LSE Accommodation: The service offers a private housing service for students. They advertise private housing listings regularly, organise events that provide practical advice on navigating the private housing market in London, and assist with technicalities like tenancy references and rent guarantor agreements. The LSE Students’ Union Advice Centre and LSE Residential Services Office also provide housing advice for students. Be sure to check out the services offered by LSE Accommodation if you’re looking for some support on renting privately in London.
  2. Student Housing Marketplaces: There are several student property marketplace websites that you can browse through when looking for private accommodation. The services offered by these marketplaces are tailored for student living. These include 24/7 support, affordable pricing for students, and ease of search and comparison across available options. They usually operate globally helping students through the process of house hunting and hence are popular in student communities. Some of the top choices are Unilodgers, University Living, and Amber Student. Browsing through these websites is very simple as you can filter through available properties according to your preferences in terms of price range, location, and contract length.
  3. University of London (UoL) Property Search: The service offers a host of services including a property database that includes options across private student halls, accommodations provided by letting agents as well as private landlords. Additionally, advertising properties on the UoL platform requires landlords and agents to comply with their Code of Good Practice which is an important safeguard to have in place for protection against fraud. UoL also offers contract checking services and legal advice to help you troubleshoot a range of accommodation-related issues. You’ll need to sign up on the website to join the community as a student and once your identity has been verified you can start browsing on the platform.
  4. Student Letting Agents: There are many letting agencies in London that provide tailored services for students. Here are some trusted letting agencies to help you get started: Knight Frank, Circa London, Amber Marsh, Foxtons, and RR Properties. Most of these agencies specialise in providing accommodation services for international students and have teams of negotiators to help students find housing best suited for them in a stress-free manner. However, ensure that you read through the terms and conditions carefully and seek advice wherever necessary before signing the contracts.

And with that, I wrap this post on private housing for students in London. Working your way around this market can be stressful at times but it nonetheless allows you to explore the city. And I hope you’ll have fun along the process!

About the author

Aishwarya

I’m Aish, an MPhil/PhD student at the Department of Psychological and Behavioural Science. I study the impact that personality characteristics can have on performance at the workplace. When I’m not actively PhD-ing, I spend my time cooking, writing, and hula-hooping.

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