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Looking for somewhere to rent in London? Here's our advice on your options

07 January 2022

Whether you are new to London or looking for your next place, our Advice & Guidance team and University of London Housing Service (ULHS) can help you to consider your options for private rented accommodation.

Where to start?

Renting can feel like a minefield, especially if you are new to it. To help you get started, read our online guide to finding somewhere to live, covering setting a budget, finding people to live with, when to move and the practicalities to consider.

Don’t worry that you have left this too late. London has a vast and fluid housing market and tenants usually look for somewhere to live around 4-6 weeks or less before they need to move in.

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Where to look for somewhere to live

A quick search on Google will bring up an endless list of housing providers and platforms to search for accommodation, but how can you tell what is safe and what might be a potential scam?

You may wish to stick to the University of London property database and letting agents who are registered with a professional body.

Many students also use Spareroom Students, Rightmove Student and Zoopla to find  accommodation in the private sector. We recommend that you read our guide to accommodation scams if you are looking for accommodation on these platforms, so that you can take reasonable steps to check the letting is genuine.

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Which area of London?

King's students live all over London, and your choice of location may depend on price, availability, distance from your campus or simply personal preference. Unlike other cities, there is no distinguishable 'student area'.

The best thing to do is have a look at a few areas that you are interested in. You may want to consider what shops are available, transport links and your compatibility with the neighbourhood.

King’s Student Money Mentors have shared their experiences of living in different areas around London which are popular with students. This may help you to find an area where you want to focus your search.

Our Students

Important things to consider

Think carefully about how and when you will view potential properties. Always try to do this in person before committing yourself to a lease for 12 months or more. Remember, once you sign up you are rarely able to cancel a tenancy so you need to be sure it is the right property for you. If you are currently based outside London, you could consider temporary accommodation in a hotel or B&B for your first few weeks to give you time to look around.

Many private landlords and letting agents request that a third party acts as a guarantor before they will agree to let a property to a student. This will usually be a UK-based parent or a guardian. This can be a problem for overseas students or for UK citizens who do not have a family support network. If you don’t have a guarantor, make sure you discuss this with your agency or landlord before you pay the holding deposit. If you do not have a guarantor in the UK, landlords and letting agents may ask you to pay more rent upfront (generally 6-12 months).

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Need further advice or support?

Take a look at our housing advice pages for more information and things to think about when finding private accommodation. You can also read the University of London Private Housing Guide.

Not sure about your contract? You can make an appointment to check your housing contract with University of London Housing Services or the King’s Advice & Guidance team.

You can also call the King’s Student Advice Line and select the housing option to speak to one of our advisers.