Student guide to living in London
Living in London is amazing. Firstly remember that properties come on and off the market in London very quickly - so be alert and sharp to what's going on.
So if you’re looking to start renting in September and you're looking in may then you probably won’t find much out there, not to say you won’t be lucky.
Looking Early: Best thing to do if you are looking early is to go to the private accommodation office in your university. If you’re going to find a landlord looking specifically for a 9 month student lease beginning when term starts then you’re most likely going to find it there.
But beware, if someone in London is looking to rent exclusively to students then there is a good chance the property isn’t the prettiest. If it gets to the end of the third term and you have no where lined up for the next year then you are best off to start looking around late august unless you are willing to move in earlier, and pay for it! If you try looking any earlier then you will most likely be told to come back later anyway.
Estate Agents: There are literally a trillion estate agents in London, some of them much larger than others. The most recognised of these is foxtons, unfortunately it is also one of the most expensive.
Typically a London estate agent will ask for a fee of around the £200 mark. A good estate agent will arrange everything for your moving in date, this would typically include contacting all gas, electric and water providers and changing the account details, being present on the move in day to make sure everything is well.
I had a bad experience with my first estate agent with regards to things being different on the move in date than what we had previously arranged. We were told that the flat was going to be completely re-carpeted and that we would have a private parking space off the road.
Both of these turned out to be untrue but since there was nothing in writing and the landlord had no idea of what the estate agent was promising we could not do anything about it. If a property has been on the market for a while then there is a good chance the landlord will accept a lower than asking price as long as you are willing to move in very quickly. For this reason it can often be a benefit to look for a place about 2 weeks before the start of term on the premise that you could move in the following day if so required.
Expensive Rent: Due to the extremely high cost of renting in London many students find themselves either sharing rooms or using living/reception rooms as bedrooms. If you are considering either of the above then I would give the following advice: If you are looking to have a living room as a bedroom then make sure its not a connecting room. If you have to go through the living room to get to the kitchen then it will never work, even if you think it will.
After having the experience of sharing a room I would always recommend against it unless you really can’t afford a single room. Having someone else in the same room limits your privacy more than you can possibly imagine and you will never have the same sleeping pattern as your room mate.
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