New Student in London? Tips for Affordable Accommodation

Becky Matthews
Photo by Alan Stanton used under CC

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 student accommodation.

Student-specific rental (and how to find it)

london student accommodation
Photo by Phil Gyford used under CC

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.

Useful sites:

Accommodation For Students

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.

London StudentPad

Similar to Accommodation for Students, it filters by accommodation type, availability and budget.

Average costs: £100 + per week.

Check the map

london student accommodation
Photo by CSOdessa used under CC

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

london student accommodation
Photo by Mike Hyde used under CC

The advantage to term-time only 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

london student accommodation
Photo by LHA London used under CC

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- £200 per week

LHA London

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 and short term, and the deposit is one week’s fee and £30 key deposit. LHA have a mix of self- catered and catered and have dormitories, single rooms and shared rooms.

Average costs: £88-£274 per week


london student accommodation
Photo by Alice Howlett used under CC

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.

Brittania Students

HFS London

London Homestays

Average costs: £125-£180 per week

For more options on budget accommodation, read our guides to House Sitting and Property Guardianship.

Get all the info on what's on in London direct to your inbox.

Questions or comments about this article? Start a thread on our community forum