How to find a room to rent in London
by Kelly Henderson (follow Kelly on Twitter: @kellythekiwi)
Finding a room to rent in London can be hard work – the rent is a lot more expensive than you’re probably used to and the rooms a lot smaller; the city is huge and it seems like there’s a lot more people looking than there are rooms on offer. I stayed on 3 different couches before finally moving into my last share house. So, I’m going to try and make the room hunt a bit easier for you.
#1 | Work Out What You are Looking For
It is important to be happy in your new room – you are going to be spending a lot of time there and it is going to cost you a big percentage of your wages. Make sure you know what you are looking for before you start your search. We have made a huge list of things to consider when you are looking to rent a room in London. Budget, location (especially in terms of getting to and from work) and what’s in the neighbourhood are all important factors.
#2 | Decide Which Area You Want to Live In
Every area of London is different to the one next to it, and the city can feel quite intimidating if you’ve only just moved here. Luckily, the people at Spareroom.co.uk have come up with a handy tool to make sure you get settled into the right area. The ‘Where to Live in London Wizard’ helps you choose the right area for you to live in based on your interests and personality type.
#3 | Start Your Hunt for a Room to Rent
An online search is the best place to start when your search for a room to rent. If you take a look at the Room Search category you will get a head start as it will provide you with a list of UK accommodation websites – both temporary and permanent.
In my experience,I have found that if you are looking for a room in a flat/house then the best sites to try are Easyroommate, Spareroom.co.uk and Gumtree. A basic search on any of these websites is free but for premium features you will have to pay for a subscription.
If you are worried about moving into a household full of strangers then head along to a night of SpeedFlatmating. It is just like SpeedDating but you are looking for housemates rather than dates!
#4 | Watch Out for Hidden Costs
I have heard horror stories about people who have transferred money without actually viewing a place, only to find that the place doesn’t exist and their money is gone. Never transfer money without having seen a place and be wary of Western Union transfers. In my opinion, it is always best to protect yourself in the form of a contract and make a note of all the money that you have paid out.
Don’t forget that the rent advertised may not include council tax or utility bills. These are things that you will have to pay so make sure that you can afford it. Talk to the other tenants about the bills and get an idea of how much these are going to cost.
#5 | Get Free Accommodation While You’re Searching
It can take time to find the perfect place but there’s no need to spend all your money on a temporary bed. House Sitting and Couch Surfing and are perfect ways to get free accommodation in London. You will get to know different areas, save money and you won’t be rushed in to taking a room that isn’t right for you.
Don’t let the hard work of finding a room to rent put you off. Make a game out of it – just think of all the stories of crazy people and tiny rooms you will have to tell.
Once you are in your new room you may want to see how to Furnish your House for Free.