I go to university in central London. My university is as central as they come even within central London. But, I love living out in central London and couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. What I love about London is not only the fast paced lifestyle, but also the fact that everything is everywhere. Want a McDonalds, EAT, or Itsu? Walk five minutes, you’ll find one. Want to go shopping? Wander off in any direction, you pass some amazing high end and high street brands. The amazing location comes with a price – EVERYTHING IS SO EXPENSIVE. However for this blog I’ll focus on one thing – housing. If you’re considering moving out to central London, brace yourself…
I spent my first year in halls and strongly considered staying in halls for my second and third years just because halls have the most decent prices you’ll ever find in London – plus you get cleaners. Although only first years are typically allowed to stay in halls, there are all sorts of ways you can get around this, in my halls if you join the hall committee you are automatically allowed to stay in halls for the rest of your university life. Or, you can also choose to become a hall mentor which not only means you can help people out, which of course is great, but you also get to return to halls. So I didn’t run for the committee and was unable to became a hall mentor because I was on holiday during their training days, which meant I had two options: spend my second year at home, or search the city for a flat. I went with option two.
Renting in London is EXPENSIVE, and people WILL try and rip you off, especially as you’re a student, so here are some tips if this is what you’ll be doing:
All I heard, before I actually started searching, was that everyone pays £200+ a week for a flat in London. This is absolutely not true. If I had believed this, I would’ve just decided to live at home. It is going to be expensive (for example, all my friends from unis outside of London pay less than £100 per week), but this is London, the capital city of England, it’s going to be pricey.
Take your time when searching for flats. In London people start looking in June (if you’re early), but mainly in July or August. It’s tough as a lot of people are not from London so cannot easily continue looking throughout the holidays, but just don’t rush – you will find a place. If it means having to trust your friend’s judgement as you can’t come and check out the place yourself, just do that. The estate agents will also try and rush you, they’ll have you believe that if you do not put a deposit down in the next few hours – a mysterious group will come by and snatch the property away. Yeah, this could happen… but if it does, find another place. The first place we were going to rent we TOTALLY rushed in to, thankfully that all fell through (#Won’tHeDoIt), because the place was just really not a practical place to live. We rushed into it and it would’ve been such a huge mistake – you’re living here for a year, choose wisely.
First of all, try and bargain, they may tell you the property in £X per week, ask for £Y. Second of all, please don’t let them rip you off with the fees. Try not to put a holding deposit down, as you can’t get that back. We put ours down before we’d heard about the fees (because we were rushing, mistake #1), and when the fees arrived, I LITERALLY shed tears, seriously… I cried.
Certain fees to look out for:
Administration fees: Do you know what administration fees are? Because I didn’t! Administration fees are fees for photocopying and printing your contracts. In my opinion this should really only cost £5, I mean it’s printing…
Inventory fees: These are fees to check what you have in your flat/home when you move in, just to make sure you don’t take anything with you. There’s no reason for this to cost hundreds.
When you move in, take a photo of EVERYYYYYTHING. I can’t stress this enough, take a picture of that little crack in the wall, or that window that doesn’t open property. Take a photo of that peeling wall paper and that stain in the carpet. This way you get every inch of that (overpriced) deposit back.
And that, my friends, if your guide to renting in London. I wish I knew all of this when we picked our property, but I guess it was a learning curve. I move in on Saturday and despite all the stress that came before, I’m excited to be living in a flat with some of my best friends. 🙂
The Guardian has another really useful renting guide for students here!
Thanks for sharing this informative post.
Those prices are absolutely outrageous! I am sure many incoming students are going to be thankful for this post! xo
This is such an important post! Especially about taking pictures of everything. I’ve lived in San Francisco and Boston and rent is just as bad here! Following you on Bloglovin and twitter- can’t wait for future posts! 🙂
Great Post. All the best in your new apartment.
I feel like it’s destiny that I found this post actually. One of my dream places to live is London. I’ve always wanted to see and experience the city and as someone who yearns to travel and live in different places, London has always been my #1 spot. Right now I live in the U.S. and I’m rather bored of it – not enough diversity, not enough culture.
I plan on attending university here because it’s pretty cheap and it’ll allow me to save my money for when I’m ready to actually start living my life. However, my friend and I have been talking about moving to London after a few years at university here in the States. Both of us have wanted to go since we were 5, and we’ve been friends for almost 10 years so it’s one of those no brainers that we’ll still be friends 4 years from now.
So basically this post was a God send. My biggest worry is the price of living. Living in a city is expensive no matter what, but somewhere like London… Yeah, I wasn’t so sure. I know between now and when I want to move there prices will change a LOT, but it’s good to know what it’s like living there. I’m not 100% sure how much rent is where I’m living now, but I do know that the cost of living in NYC is probably more expensive than that of living in London. For example: a closet-sized apartment in NYC is about $1,200/month. Now THAT is some insane stuff, ha.
This was a super long comment full of rambling and I’m REALLY sorry but I was just really excited about this post! If you have any other tidbits you didn’t include in this post PLEASE feel free to shoot me a quick email. :heart:
I’m glad this post could help haha! Living in London is definitely amazing, there’s just so much to do. It is pricey, but it doesn’t have to be ridiculously pricey if you know what you’re looking for. Best of luck if you move out here!