Looking For Student Housing Or A Cheap Flat?

Well it can be hard to do with the influx of students into the capital every year but it certainly isn't impossible.

London Focus

Well it can be hard to do with the influx of students into the capital every year but it certainly isn't impossible.

Firstly the internet is your friend, if you're part of social networking sites such as facebook, there is the possibility of putting up an advert for either housing or like minded people to find a house with.

Don't go into this blindly though, if you're going to move in with these people make sure you meet them first and have some pre-prepared questions, so you don't forget completely what you wanted to say. Obviously be safe as well, make sure other's know where you're going, and that you're sure of the area you're meeting in, and perhaps take a friend along too.

Gumtree.com can be a useful site to look up housing, flatmates, flatshares and temporary accommodation. Be aware though that the prices on this site for accommodation generally seem quite high. So you should be wary of the price and perhaps be prepared to barter with the landlord if you want a good deal. If the price seems entirely unrealistic for the location and the flat itself then perhaps check up on local estate agents and bring along some other examples of cheaper, yet similar housing in the area. If they really want to rent the property then they should be prepared to lower the price.

Checking out local estate agents on foot is somewhat necessary as a bit of luck is needed when looking for housing and being there at the right time and right place is more likely to get you a property then calling in and leaving your details. Around peak times such as the beginning of a new university term estate agents get inundated with calls from desperate students, at the same time they get a lot walking through the door as well. It's more likely that the person walking through the door will get the prize while your telephone number is lost within a heap of other numbers. To be safer try and visit as many estate agents on foot as well.
\n\nIt's far better to be in the capital searching than simply relying on the internet. If you could stay at a hostel, with a friend or perhaps take up a temporary flatshare, so you have a place to camp out whilst looking around; it will be easier to find places. You'll also have a more realistic idea of what you want and what's out there, having actually visited houses yourself.
If this is impossible try and either come to London for the day, or grab a willing friend to take your place looking, and perhaps even taking digital photos for you to see.

The best time to start looking for university accommodation is just before the end of term or during the summer months, although you may end up paying during the summer, whilst not living there, or perhaps having to pay a holding fee. Starting looking in September means you avoid this, but you also are more likely to have a bit of difficulty finding a place, and perhaps paying more through fear of not finding anywhere else.

If prices get too extreme, make sure you have a temporary accommodation back up plan. Check out hostels you could stay at, friends who'd be willing to have you stay on their floor or temporary flatshares which can be found on such websites as gumtree, craigslist and facebook. Once university term starts you may be able to find cheaper properties but you could risk staying a long time in temporary digs before this you can find anywhere.

Around August and definitely in September students are fighting off one another to look for housing. So if you want to be more likely to find a place it might be a better idea to think further a field. A part from when there are tube strikes (!) London is a very well connected city. You may find that the rent of your property further field plus the costs of a monthly travel card is still less than what you would have paid to live close to your university. Do take into consideration travel costs while looking for housing, perhaps add it to your monthly rent when comparing properties, as living further away yet paying more because of travel fares isn't cost effective. Check tfl's journeyplanner for travel links.
\n\nA great site for University of London Students is the UL Housing website. There's a lot of helpful information that's not just for students, including the legal dimensions of house hunting and information about London areas. There's a search engine of properties in which the landlords have been checked out by the University, and so you don't need to worry about who you're renting from. This part of the website is only accessible for University of London students and you need your student id number to get the password to access the site. The password changes regularly each week. You can also register on a separate part of the site to look for flatshares, or search for flatmates, or even list for either of the two.

London Student housing guide is useful to all. Giving ideas of how to look for housing, moving in and out, and dealing with problems. It's a useful guide for all thinking of living in London.

If you've signed a contract which is longer than you like then this, Deed of Assignment, file may help you. As long as you find a new person to fill your shoes at your flat, and get all involved to agree and sign the form you can insure that your say 12 month contract is reduced to 9 or 10.

Good luck hunting!

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