Finding accommodation in London

Finding accommodation in London

Finding accommodation in London

Don't panic if you haven't figured out your accommodation yet – London offers a range of options to suit different budgets, lifestyles and requirements. You'll need to consider several factors before deciding what is best for you, for example:

  • Your transport links
  • Property type
  • Your commute
  • Your local area and local things to do
  • Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
  • Length of stay
  • Your budget
  • Whether you'll need a car
  • Whether you want a garden
  • Short-term sublets

If you're not ready to commit to long-term accommodation, or you're just struggling to find it - don't panic. There are many short-term options available to suit a variety of budgets and lifestyles whilst you’re looking:

  • Airbnb - This has become increasingly popular for cities all over the world. It is a convenient way to travel and can offer the comfort of a homely feeling. Hosts on Airbnb rent out their houses or apartments, or sometimes just one room. What you choose will depend on your budget and requirements. Using this platform is a great way of meeting new people and experiencing how somebody from London lives first-hand. Each host on Airbnb will have reviews and ratings, so you’ll know whether you can trust them before paying any money.
  • Homestay – Homestay is a similar concept to Airbnb, allowing you to book a room in somebody's home on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. The difference between the two is that the homeowner will be present during your stay – whereas on Airbnb this is optional. Homestay match guests with hosts who share some common interests – so this is a great way to make friends and find out more about the local area.
  • Couchsurfing – This is a service that connects locals with travellers – allowing them to share their home temporarily on a laid-back and informal basis. This is usually the cheapest option., If you enjoy meeting new people and trying new experiences, this could be a cost-effective option for you while looking for something permanent.
  • Hostels - If you're looking for somewhere temporary, cost-effective and friendly – a hostel could be your answer. London has a variety of hostels, and some of them are as cheap as £20 per night if you're on a tight budget and don't mind sharing a dorm. The pricier hostels offer private rooms and can include free Wi-Fi, meals and a common area where you'll be able to meet like-minded travellers.

London residents often sublet their bedrooms while they are away. We've listed a few of the most popular websites to connect you with these local people:

Student accommodation

If you're visiting London to study – you should look into housing designed for students. They tend to offer cheaper deals which include the price of bills and other utilities. You can also find student accommodation which provides meals and communal areas to socialise with other residents. Your university or college should inform you about the student accommodation available – but if you are unsure, contact them in advance.

Renting in London

If you're staying in London on a more prolonged basis and want to rent a property, there are some things to keep in mind. We've listed a few tips for your rental process:

What are some of the different property types?

  • Flatshare/Houseshare: Where you'll be renting a room inside a flat or house. Londoners often opt for shared accommodation; primarily a younger crowd looking for lower costs.
  • Converted: A building that was renovated into flats. You'll find that trendy areas may have flats built in converted warehouses or even churches.
  • Studio: A flat with combined living, dining, bedroom, and kitchen areas, and usually with a separate private bathroom.
  • Semi-detached: A property that's attached one house.
  • Terraced: A house that's attached to both houses next door.
  • Maisonette: Two separate flats made from one house, each with their own private entrance.

What will I need to secure a property?

You'll need to gather some documents before you can sign a rental contract, so it's essential to get these together:

  • Passport as proof of ID
  • A letter from your employer confirming your work
  • Proof of salary
  • Latest bank statements
  • Deposit money - Be prepared to put down a deposit which could be equal to six weeks of rent. If your landlord is happy with how the condition of the property at the end of your tenancy, they will return your deposit.

There is a standard deposit process with London properties. If you believe your landlord is withholding your deposit money unfairly, you can dispute this and seek professional guidance to getting it back. Your landlord should return it to you within ten days of an agreement.

What does rent include?

Unless advertised as bill inclusive – you will find that your rental price will not cover utilities such as gas and water. We suggest you confirm with your landlord or estate agent that all of your services will be ready to use when you move in.

  • Furniture – Your rented accommodation will likely come with all the main appliances such as a washing machine, oven and a fridge. Bedroom and living room furniture is usually also included. We suggest looking for a furnished property to save both money and time.
  • Wi-Fi – Your Wi-Fi will probably be your responsibility unless you're living in a student campus or shared accommodation. You can research the best deals online depending on your usage. Popular Wi-Fi providers include Virgin Media, O2, Three, TalkTalk and Vodafone UK.

Final tips

Use your international connections

Your language exchange partners will likely turn into your friends after you've shared a few exchanges. You should ask them for any advice or tips – nobody will be able to advise you more than somebody who is already living in London or has been before. There will likely be plenty of fellow language learners in the same position as you!

Do your research

The only way you are going to find the ideal mix between location, suitability and price, is to spend time researching. Use a website such as Transport for London to check whether your location suits you. You can also find a neighbourhood tailored to your unique needs on sites such as GoodMigrations.

Enjoy the process!

Of course, looking for somewhere to stay can feel like a long and daunting process, but it's essential to remain positive and remember these things do take time.