University students, especially overseas/international students in London, are often finding themselves having to source alternatives to Halls of Residence, especially in the run up to the start of the academic year, where they have maybe missed out on Halls.
You want to be independent, without living alone? Colocation is the best alternative. On the one hand, you have the freedom and flexibility to choose the London neighborhood you like, the type of venue (for example, a house with a courtyard or a modern apartment) and the length of your rental. On the other hand, you will live with people who are like you. Many students start at the campus and, once their groups of friends are created, move into a common home together before the start of the second year. However, keep in mind that it is not guaranteed that best friends will also make the best roommates. Unfortunately, many friendships ended because of internal conflicts related to night noise or cleanliness.
Homestay in London
In this case, students live with a host family. In addition to the residential aspect, this form of housing is an opportunity to benefit from the support of a caring family with whom to create a strong and lasting bond. The homestay is ideal for immersing yourself in London culture. We practice conversational English, very different from academic English used in the classroom, and provides insights into the daily lives of the capital’s inhabitants, eating habits, hobbies and housework. According to the agreement with your host family, the latter will provide you with one to three meals a day and the necessities such as sheets and towels. However, it is your responsibility to keep your room clean and clean after you in common areas such as the kitchen, bathroom and living room. Among the few disadvantages of homestay accommodation, there is the lack of privacy, because as welcoming and warm as your host family, you will always feel like a guest. In addition, living in a foster home means that you have to follow certain rules. For example, we can expect you to be at home every evening around six in the evening for dinner or you are not allowed to receive friends. The homestay is one of the most affordable options in London with prices ranging from £ 135 to £ 260 per week, depending on the area and type of room. In all cases, all utilities and meals are included in the rent.
Research and application for private student housing
Housing in London is plentiful, but expensive and often of mediocre quality. To avoid getting ripped off, do not rush to apply for the first accommodation you see, but visit as many places as possible and make sure the location fits your needs and budget. Before you begin, consider the following: Are you willing to deal directly with the landlord or do you prefer to go through a rental agent? An agency will save you time by browsing the many homes available to find the one that suits you. However, direct contact with the owner will avoid possible misunderstandings with an intermediary.
Important things to know
To make renting fairer and more transparent, since 2019, the government has banned rental fees paid to agents. In addition, the deposit may be up to six weeks’ maximum rent.
Most universities have a list of assessed homeowners registered with the university.
When visiting a home, look for the (masked) signs of wet and black mold, which can lead to serious health problems such as asthma and allergies. Also watch out for infestations of mice, rats and cockroaches, which are not uncommon in London, especially if the former occupants have not cleaned up. Other items to consider are: transportation and travel costs, proximity to markets, hospitals, nightlife and the region’s crime rate. Do not hesitate to ask your landlord to change the locks if they do not seem safe enough.
If you live in a multi-occupancy home (HMO), it must be equipped with clearly identified emergency exits, fire alarms, fire extinguishers and fire blankets.
Tip: To reduce your energy bills, check your home’s insulation and heating system for drafts.
Before signing the rental agreement and the inventory, check again that the indicated items are present and in good condition. Once you have moved in, it is advisable to take dated photos of the house to avoid any reproach and incidental charges.