Renting in London
It is no secret that the London housing market is not in its best place for renters at the moment. Despite this, renting in London is not impossible, but you need to be armed with a keen eye, patience, and hope – lots of it. There are three things that, had I known before renting in London, I am convinced would have made my life much easier.
1. Finding a place to rent is easier if you are physically in London. This is because finding a place to rent can involve house and flat viewings. If you are here, you can pack more viewings in one day, figure out if a place truly is for you or if it just looks good in pictures, and create a rapport with the landlord if you find a place that you really like.
2. King's has a lot of incredibly useful resources on housing to help you find your footing. Among other options, you can look up advice form Student Services Online on the Housing & accommodation support pages, contact the Money & Housing Advice team, and resources from King’s College London Student Union (KCLSU) on finding housing.
3. If you have questions about your tenancy agreement, think you are being mistreated by the person/agency you are renting from, or you are otherwise confused or unsure about housing-related matters, you can contact Shelter, Citizens Advice, or the University of London Housing Services, which you are automatically entitled to as a King's student.
For me, there are two essential cards you need to have if you regularly use public transport: a Student Oyster card, to pay your tube or bus fares in London, and a National Rail 16-25 Railcard that offers you discounts of up to 1/3 on train fares.
Check details about public transport discounts and travelcards on Student Services Online (SSO).
What's even better is that, once you have these cards, you can connect them. Doing this will apply the 1/3 discount to your everyday off-peak fares in London. To connect them, take your Oyster card and your National Rail discount card to a manned underground ticket office, overground ticket office or some National Rail ticket offices.
Use your students discounts. Everywhere. All the time. I’m serious!
Enrolled full and part-time students can apply for a TOTUM card, allowing you to access exclusive offers and discounts. StudentBeans and UNiDAYS also have great student deals, discounts, gift cards, and more.
To get the full details, check out the What student discounts can I access? article on SSO.
Lots of places in London also do student discounts even if they don’t advertise it – so just ask.
Something I thought deserved to be talked about more was the Young Royal Opera House (ROH) account, which is ROH’s membership option for people under 25 years old.
Registering is free and simple by creating an account online. At the beginning of each season, before tickets are released for general sale, ROH will release a limited number of YoungROH tickets. These are priced at £25 regardless of the seat, which would otherwise cost upwards of £200!
Fancy checking out the ROH before you commit? Join a tour with King's Volunteering on Friday 22 September as part of Welcome to King's.
Day trips from London
London is great, but sometimes we all need a breather.
Fortunately, London is very well connected both within and outside the UK. There are lots of day trips you can take around London at just the cost of a train ticket, such as trips to the Seven Sisters, Surrey Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), or Brighton.
Alright, that’s it! These are the top 5 things I wish I knew before coming to London. This article is part of a two-part series about things I wish someone had told me before coming to London. As my introduction suggests, this was the admin stuff. For a series of personal lessons, anecdotes, and advice, head over to How to feel at home in London - the one with the cheesy stuff!