Sourcing the Best Accommodation for Your Budget
When embarking on a new educational journey, one of the most stressful things that a student will face is finding somewhere to live. This is often not the first thing that springs to mind and can often be left until quite late due to the initial excitement of being accepted onto your chosen path of study and the celebrations that follow.
Affordable housing in London for students can be hard to come by due to the high demand, particularly in the busy months of September and October, so it would be wise to start your search very early on. Some private landlords even expect applications to be in months ahead of when the property is required. This can be beneficial though, as it means that you could have plenty of time to contact previous tenants of a property to help you suss out the area.
Safety and Affordability
If you are very new to the area and have friends who have or are already studying/working in London, try to take their advice on the best neighbourhoods. Other options when looking at the safety of an area could be to locate accommodation within the local area of your university, or check the Office for National Statistics website for crime rates by area. The Guardian also do a useful Interactive Crime Map which could be of assistance.
In terms of affordability when looking at housing in London for students, there are some very useful resources on the internet. Sites like London Rents will give you the average London rent by postcode, and Finding a Flat allows you to search by location, price and whether the property is furnished or unfurnished. Using sites like these can at least help you to whittle down some areas and get a fair idea of what you can expect for your budget.
Estate Agents vs Going it Alone
Estate agents may not always be the first choice for many people, but they can be of good use. They will be able to advise on the safety of an area, protect you from scams and will already be aware of what facilities properties have, such a living room and working kitchen, saving you the hassle of viewing a property that doesn’t have the facilities that you need. It is generally best to phone an estate agent to arrange appointments, as they can at times be slow in replying to their emails.
If you are going it alone, being open to finding a flatmate will help to make things more affordable, and sites such as Spare Room and Move Flat have proven very popular and include detailed profiles of those seeking flatmates. If you wish to advertise on a site as a flatmate looking for accommodation, try to include as much detail as possible as this will potentially ‘rate’ you higher.
Hopefully the above guidelines have made this process a little less daunting, so enjoy searching!