When to start looking
Like with all accommodation, being ahead of the game is the key to getting the desired property. Especially if you are new to the UK and don’t know anyone or your whereabouts.
Each year in London there is a specific date when all letting agents release their lists of available student accommodation, the student union will be aware of these dates and you will be able to seek help if needed but don’t stress and panic as there will be available properties long into the following year, just maybe not the ones you specifically liked.
Look out for is whether a property/landlord/institution is part of a reputable accreditation scheme. Many of the private halls are but it is worth checking this out. In joining an accreditation scheme a landlord commits themselves to offering accommodation and related management services which meet specific professional standards. All properties will need to have a gas and electric certificate.
In your first year- The first year is always the hardest although most first year students are given a place in Universities halls of residence, or initialised into some of the privately owned halls which are working with the universities to provide some exceptional accommodation. Although you would have only just settled in, there will be the pressure of your accommodation for the second year very early on, even as early as November, the average is four people but it is more than possible to have a very large group or reside by yourself.
Second year – This is the year where you will have established friends from which you will need to chose who to live with and where, the process should essentially start as early as possible even as early as November -December and is highly recommended to think ahead to enable yourself with the desired property by the next academic year.
Third – By now you are more than likely to have established a friendship group to which you would chose who you would like to live with and where, yet again you still need to be on top form to potentially rent your chosen property, however some students decide to stay in their property from second to third year.
Don’t forget you can search all year round on London2let.com/student-property/
The location to which you decide to reside is very important in London, remember that if you decide on a student’y’ area then you will also have all the benefits from the social scene, which are very well developed in London.
If you and your palls decide to go for the more mainstream London living, just make sure there is plenty of frequent transport systems back and forth your university for your convenience and so that you never miss a lecture!!!
Central London is where the most student social areas are and there are many a student union here to keep you busy (drinking) but accommodation can be expensive.
REMEMBER student areas seem to be high on crime, so keep those laptops and gadgets out of sight to stop thieves. There would be nothing worse than losing all your hard work to a thief. Always book a second viewing to make sure you are sure about the property and the area.
London has seven universities in the world top 200 university rankings, which is more than any other City in the world. It’s not surprising then that hundreds of thousand students flock to this incredible City for academic purposes.
London is home to more than 400,000 university students, of which 100,000 are international students from over 200 different nations – that's more international students studying in London than in any other city in the world.
There is plenty of different accommodation available for students in London.
It is usual for the landlord or letting agency to ask for a month's rent in advance and a further month's rent as deposit. However, sometimes the deposit may be three - six weeks rent or even more in some properties or with some agents. You could also be asked to nominate a guarantor; this is someone who will guarantee your rent will be paid if you were to default.
Private rentals can be a cheaper option than some of the swanky new developments which continue to raise their rents thus to get the developers money back quicker. An average student in London is paying 23% more than they did three years ago.
Houses in multiple occupation (HMO)
Does the property have 3 or more storeys?
Is the property let to 5 or more unrelated tenants?
Do tenants share facilities?
If the answer to all 3 questions is yes then the property may require a license.
Staying at home
Staying at home in London while studying can be a much better choice economically but then you will miss out on the actual student lifestyle but each to their own, if this option is there for you, with accommodation being at great expense in London this could be the right choice.
University halls of residence
Generally most universities try to place their first year students in their own halls of residence, for many this is the chosen route and if you do not know anyone when approaching this option, don’t worry, most uni’s try to place you with other people of similar interests to you or on the same course as you.
This is completely hassle free and ensures you get to know people and what is going on over the first few essential weeks.
The actual accommodation varies significantly, some halls have shared flats or studio apartments, some can be communal living space, catered or not and en-suite or shared bathrooms.
Private Halls of Residence/Private Halls/Communal Blocks
London has so many different options for students, with the rise of privately owned halls of residence continuing to offer exceptional hotel like accommodation, some students choose this way of life.
This is a relatively easy option compared to renting a private house as your bills are usually included, communal areas are cleaned and looked after, there are maintenance staff on site and usually 24 hour security or a reception desk, some even go to the extremes of having turn style entrances for security and of course every students nightmare washing facilities. EEEEKKKKKKKK!
Living in a hotel like property with all the benefits could be the easiest way and some are exceptionally designed.
There are many options available for student accommodations and each will be different in terms of cost implications.
Older style properties are traditionally shared by a number of students commonly second year students who have chosen who they care to reside with. Prices really have a wide variety to fit any budget. However it is common as more “private student halls” are developed for these to be of great consideration.
It will be essential for securing your chosen property to put a deposit down, sometimes this will be the whole bond/deposit for the property, other times this can just be the agents fee’s or somewhere in between. You will receive the deposit/bond back when vacating the property providing that everything is left how it was found and nothing is damaged and no payments were defaulted. The money is protected under the TDS (Tenancy Deposit Scheme). Landlords in breach of this may have to pay the tenant compensation of three times the deposit.
In a shared house students should check with the agent or landlord if one deposit is to be paid for the whole property or if it is one deposit per tenant.
There are guaranteed to be pro’s and con’s with which ever you decide so make it the thought process where you reflect on these options not the living process.
3. Inclusive of Bills
4. Living quarters
5. The social aspect
7. Group living
9. Economic factors
10. Transport links
12. Maintenance issues
13. Communal space
The government estimates that, in addition to your rent, you will need approximately £104 per week for living costs, but this will vary depending on how much you socialise. Take into account all of the sights and attractions in this City too.
Rent is usually payable on student properties each term after you have received your student loan, phewwwwww!
London was voted the most cost-effective city in the UK for students.
Be sure to read the contract thoroughly before signing, don’t sign your life away to a lengthy contract as circumstances change and a contract is a binding legal agreement which could prove costly and difficult to get out of.
Private properties will usually be a 6, 9 or 12 month contract, student contracts will usually be the later, some landlords will offer cheaper rent through the summer which is called a retainer, which sometimes can be half price if you’re lucky and allow you to store your belongings there until you come back in September if you are renting the same property for two years.
Private halls will usually give you a shorter option of around 41 weeks so you are only paying for when you are actually there, many offer the same ‘retainer’ option.
Living with people
You can chose who you would like to live with, usually in your first year you will be put into halls where you will make friends and from there you can come together and work out your plans for next year.
If you do not want to decide, you could just book a room in a private hall block and they will put you in a flat with other like-minded students. You can always request single-sex flats, students in your same year, and some even take in consideration your similar interests. If sharing with anyone isn’t for you then there are plenty of options for you too.
Before committing to living with a group of people, consider how their actions may affect you and vice-versa, living in a group can sometimes prove to be hard. Things to consider would be:
Would they be noisy?
Are they tidy and clean?
Do they have a boyfriend/girlfriend?
What are their hobbies/interests?
Personal hygiene and heath?
Do they smoke and drink?
Financial habits - are they likely to run out of money every week?
Eating habits, do you like the same things?
If you are renting through a landlord or letting agent and have one tenancy agreement, if a housemate decides to move out, you will need to either replace them or cover the rent in their absence. You wouldn’t have the hassle of this with halls of residence.
Overall relax and have fun!!!
The UK Border Agency (UKBA) requires you to have a budget of at least £800 per month to study in London (in addition to your tuition fees). This is the minimum you need to get a visa in central London.
Most London university campuses are located within the London area. Some campuses are located just outside London. If you study at one of these campuses you will require a minimum budget of £600 per month as requested by the UKBA.
As a visa national you should consider one of the three study visa options below:
· Tier 4 General Student Visa - For adults who want to come to the UK for their post-16 education.
· Student Visitor Visa (SVV) - For adults who want to study a short course of up to 6 months in the UK.
· Extended Student Visitor Visa (ESVV) – For adults who want to study an English language course of up to 11 months in the UK.
Many institutions also have a pre-arrival guide for international students, which contains information about the cost of living, travel and accommodation.
It is advisable to find accommodation before arriving even if it is temporary or researching through London2let.com will show you lots of available student properties for rent.
Student Housing services
Every university will have ‘student housing services’, which will give you free information, help and advice on all your housing needs.
They can look over contracts for you and generally have good relations with local agents and also help in any ways in which they can to make this a pleasant experience.
You can also see your students union for help and advice.
What to expect
Well if you chose the halls of residence whether it be through the university or privately owned, expect things to be quite smooth as mostly everything is done for you and the all inclusive costs can help you budget and not have to worry about finances.
If you chose to go down the private renting route you will almost definitely be bombarded with bills, bills and more bills!!! Apart from this though many students find this a more home like way of living which proves to be a better experience and are glad they aren’t regimented by curfews and security which the halls sometimes do.
Whichever route you choose, be sure that you are happy and having fun, cause that’s what uni is all about . . . . . . . right?
1. Check through the inventory with the agent, make sure to note any defects with the property or furnishings and get it signed by both parties
2. Have a date ready for when to pick up the keys
3. Take a look at the gas and electric certificates to make sure that they are in date
4. If the property is furnished (which most student properties are) then it will need a Fire safety certificate
5. Contents insurance
6. The tenancy agreement is signed and dated
7. All the appliances are working
8. Take current gas and electricity meter readings and make sure they correspond with the companies readings.
9. TV license
10. Inform the local council of your studentship for council tax exemption
Once you can tick all of these, the party starts!!!