If you’re moving to London to become a student, the first thing you will need to get is a room. It sounds obvious, but perhaps you got a place through Clearing and all on-campus halls of residence are full, or maybe you missed out due to the ratio of students to rooms.
Off-campus options can be pricey, but before you despair at the eye-watering cost of ‘luxury’ private student halls that will require a second loan (circa £200-£300 per week—ouch!), read our handy guide to affordable London student accommodation.
Student-specific rental (and how to find it)
Before you get searching, consider whether you want to live as part of a student community, or whether you’re open to staying in more mixed accommodation. A lot of student places might well include bills, which makes the rent a little less painful.
Accommodation For Students
Average costs: £150.00 per week (including some bills)
A site that acts a search engine for different types of accommodation, that allows you to filter by location, budget, type of housing and find housemates.
How to sign up: No sign up, it filters according to the criteria above, but you can use it as someone looking for a room or to find someone for a room in your student house. Featured properties usually state whether bills are included too.
Other features: Decent guides covering most student accommodation issues from finding the right housemate to budgeting, understanding the terms of your tenancy and dealing with difficult landlords.
Similar to Accommodation for Students, it filters by accommodation type, availability and budget.
Average costs: £100.00+ per week.
How to sign up: It’s search-based like Accomodation for Students, but has a cleaner search interface, and handily you can also filter by university as well as city.
Other features: The site includes guides for housing, freshers and international students too. There is also a list of associated UK universities and some useful blogs on general student life not just accommodation.
Check the map
London is massive, so make sure you find a place that is close to campus if possible. Your timetable might mean you have long gaps between lectures and seminars, and of course it’s good to be close to social events and the various clubs and societies. Weigh up whether moving further afield will be worth the additional travel time and costs, no one enjoys the tube that much!
Short-term vs long-term
The advantage to term-time-only accommodation is you’re not paying to rent a room throughout the summer. However, if you get a good house share, and you decide to hang around during the holidays, it takes a headache out of going through the moving drill in your second year. Most tenancy agreements will not allow you to sublet, so be aware that if you’re vacating the place for any length of time, you may be paying for an empty room.
Living with non-students
Widening the search beyond student-only sites seems to yield a better bang for your broke-buck, so it’s worth taking a look at those as well.
A short-stay (1-12 months) Airbnb-type accommodation marketplace with a decent student accommodation section, but they cater to young professionals as well.
Shared housing is by far the cheaper option than halls:
Average costs: £95.00–£200.00 per week
How to sign up: Sign up with your email or Facebook account, then fill out a form with your preferences. You can also filter between shared flats, family homes, student halls or a full apartment—though, let’s face it, if your budget extends to that, then this article isn’t for you! Most featured accommodation appears to be inclusive of bills too, which is huge bonus.
Other features: Live chat if you need some advice during your search, and an interesting blog with neighbourhood guides, articles on living and working abroad and student life.
Registered charity providing affordable accommodation in Zones 1 and 2 to students and working people. It is hostel accommodation where you can stay for the long (max 4 years)and short term, and the deposit is one week’s fee and £30.00 key deposit. LHA have a mix of self- catered and catered and have dormitories, single rooms and shared rooms.
Average costs: £88.00–£274.00 per week
How to sign up: Fill out a booking form and search by university or postcode.
Other features: All accomodation has 24/7 security, and a contents insurance policy.
If you’re new to the UK as well as London, and you want somewhere calmer to lay your head, and hit the books, this might be the option for you. Hosts including families, couples and professionals offer rooms in their home to encourage a cultural exchange, and there are self-catered and catered options.
Make sure you use accredited providers.
How to sign up: Fill out an enquiry form and read through the terms and conditions.
Other info: Price bands vary between room size, Zones of London (i.e Z4 is cheaper than Z2) and board type which can be B&B, half-board and self-catering.
How to sign up: Fill out and online application, once that’s processed you’ll received some host profiles to look through, then HFS will connect you to your preferred hosts.
Other info: The site features area guides and meal plans are available.
Average costs: £125.00–£180.00 per week
How to sign up: Apply via an online form and you should start receiving host matches within 24-48 hours. London Homestay manages the communication with the host families until you’re booked in.
Other info: Homestays are also open to interns and trainees as well as students.