Finding A House As A Student In London – All You Need To Know
Studying in London undeniably has its perks; unlimited employment opportunities and uncountable cultural gems are lay at your doorstep. Being a student in London is a far cry from being a student elsewhere.
So, in the unique style so typical to London, finding a house as a student is fairly different to the process elsewhere. Whether you think it’s better or worse is debatable. Follow these tips to make the process of finding your student house a kind-of smooth one.
The house-finding frenzy doesn’t hit you until exams are through
Across the country, the average student will have their housing situation sorted before Christmas is out. Not us Londoners though.
In London, houses and flats are snapped up so quickly that you can never plan too far in advance. It’s usually best to look for accommodation one to two months before you need to move in, so that you’re not paying anymore sky-high rent than you need to.
A huge pro of this last-minute house hunting is that you’ve got way more time to decide who you want to live with than any other British uni student. You’ll be thankful that you had the time to discover that the best friend you made during freshers week listens to Zayn Malik on repeat.
Finding a house isn’t as easy as you’d expect
Despite it being the biggest city in the UK, finding the right house in London isn’t what one would call a linear process. Houses often come on and off the market within the blink of an eye. If you find the right house, jump on it ASAP and get them papers signed!
London’s a bit like a mini earth; there are so many locations to choose from, and they can vary dramatically from one-another. Be careful that when you’re deciding on a location you’re not looking in a region well out of your price range, or somewhere that’s like 20 miles away from campus.
Zoopla is the haven of house hunting
Going to an estate agent might seem like the smartest move, but it’s just as easy, if not easier, to search online first. Zoopla is the best property site to search on; it’s super easy for first-time renters to use and you can refine your search to find the houses that are right for you.
Through Zoopla you can ring estate agents and arrange viewings. Once an estate agent knows what you’re looking for, it’s likely that they’ll offer to show you some more houses and help you continue your search if your first viewing doesn’t work out. It’s a far cry easier than running around all the estate agents in London trying to make bookings.
More central = more £££
A pretty obvious must-know but in case you don’t know; houses in zones 1 and 2 are far more likely to be pricier than houses further from the centre.
But living further out doesn’t necessarily mean that you’ll be saving money. Remember that if your uni is central and you’re far out, it’s likely that you’ll have to buy a Travel Card. Please note: the further out you live, the pricier your travel card will be. Damn you London and your inconvenient expenses.
Make sure the ride to university is a smooth one
So you’ve found a potential future home but there’s one, not-so-minor issue with it; the two tube-changes and three bus-transfers it would take to get to uni. Should you just sweat through the prolonged rush-hour journey and bear it?
Don’t do it! It’s unlikely that you won’t be able to find a house within a reasonable travelling distance from your uni; there’s no need to settle for one that will transform your morning commute into a short pilgrimage.
If you’re far away from uni you’ll probably end up giving that two hour lecture on a Friday a miss one too many times. And no doubt an arduous journey each morning will encourage you to skip your 9am. It’s SO important to make sure that your living situation never has a negative effect on your studies.
Your guarantor can be your university
In case your didn’t know; London is renowned for rent prices that have the power to make you feel a little queasy. Whilst students living in London do get an extra maintenance loan to cover the costs, your parent or guardian won’t be accepted as your guarantor unless their income meets a certain threshold corresponding to the price of your rent.
Don’t panic! If your guarantor gets rejected then you might be able to use your university as your guarantor, provided that you don’t owe them any outstanding payments. Remember your university should always be able to help you with finding your first student house, through housing fairs and by offering advice in general.