This guide (Part II) is created especially for young students like yourself, to assist them with finding the right student accommodation in the UK to make the city of London your new home for the next couple of years. So without further ado, let’s get you started!
Let’s have a quick recap of Part I
Factors to look into when you begin the student accommodation search
- Living arrangements
- Maximum distance from the school
- Commute methods
- Things important to you
- Budget range
- Apartment size
- Move-in dates
Key decisions to make and getting a basic idea about
- Living alone or sharing
- Near or far from your college
- Rent and basic expenses
We’re sure you must have taken a few important decisions regarding your student accommodation after reading Part I of the Guide. Now that you have a basic idea about whom to live with, near or far from your college, rent and basic expenses, it’s time to take the search further.
Let us begin the preparations to find the perfect UK student accommodation for you by looking at where you can live at.
STEP 1: Prepping To Find
Factors to consider while finding out the right area to stay:
- Your budget
There are a few common and a few different points to keep in mind when viewing a property.
- Try and get the viewing 360-degree live video tours through WhatsApp
- The real apartment might be different than it looks on video
- Virtually, you cannot really check the problems like pests, leaking, or dampness
- You also cannot have a look at the surroundings and neighbourhoods if you finalize with virtual visiting
- You cannot check the feel and maintenance of the place personally
- You can get temporary accommodation for the first few weeks and view property in person
- Check for natural light and air
- Check if the windows are soundproof and if they open properly
- Check the equipment
- Check for plug outlets in each room, for phones, and computers
- Keep an eye out for discoloured or moist spots or leaks
- Always take time to explore the surrounding area
- Check if there are stores nearby, the train station, bus stop and supermarket
Things to ask the agent/ landlord
- Term of your contract
- Safety – Gas safety certificate, carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms
- Kitchen – Are there cooking facilities/laundry facilities available and functioning
- Is the house pest-free
- Furniture – Is the house coming with some furnishings, is it in decent shape condition
- Repairs – Is work being done on the repairs? Will they do it before you move in?
Find a Temporary Accommodation
In case you couldn’t get a place on the move-in date you wanted or if it isn’t furnished, you can look into the following options:
- Crashing at friends or relatives
- Homestays or family stays
Self Storage Options
Most apartments in London are small and people barely have space to fit in an extra person so keeping your big luggage bags can be a problem when living in temporary student accommodation. That’s where self-storage comes to the rescue. One can easily keep their stuff secured for 4-8 weeks or even more until you get your permanent accommodation.
STEP 2 Finalizing your Accommodation
Now we are at the final stage where you should know what to do and not do when finalizing your student accommodation.
1. Avoiding scammers
People have faced scams while looking for a place to live in London. Worry not as there are several strategies to avoid these fraudsters. Just keep the following factors in mind when you’re searching for a place in London.
- Never give money until you’ve seen the property
- Avoid postings with no photos
- Use only reliable methods of transferring money
- Use a credit card — it provides extra safety
Here are some more points to check if you are still in doubt
How to check the legal owner of the property?
If you’re not sure if the owner or lead person(s) owns the home you’re planning to rent, check the Land Registry website, which may include a record of your landlord’s name and address:
- This information will cost you a small fee.
- If the potential tenant is not the property owner, you will need evidence that they have the legal right to rent the place to you.
How to check the legitimacy of safety certifications of the property?
Check the landlord’s ID and the legitimacy of any safety certifications in person when you visit the rental property (e.g., gas safety).
2. Rent Guarantors
A guarantor is a person who agrees to be liable for your lease or damage if you cannot pay it. Remember that you and your flatmates, as well as your guarantors, will all be responsible in case of any property damages. A guarantor is usually a family member, relative, or a close friend who has to be a resident of the UK. If you do not have a British guarantor, the agency or landlord may need you to pay additional rent upfront.
- Life becomes easier if you have a Rent Guarantor because most agents and landlords in London ask for a minimum of 3-6 months of rent in advance
- When you don’t have a guarantor, paying 3 to 6 months’ rent in advance is common. It is advised to pay a maximum of 3 months of rent in advance
- If you can negotiate and show proof of income, you might get relief and not have to pay for 6 months but most times it is difficult without having a rent guarantor
3. Things to look out for in the Agreement
Investigate other comparable properties in the neighbourhood to ensure you are not overpaying. You can compare rents for similar homes online.
- Length of a contract or adding break clauses
Although signing a contract binds you legally, your circumstances may change. You can negotiate a break clause or a shorter-term agreement. Students generally have a 6-12 months break clause.
- Additional work and adding items
Before the contract starts, any additional products or work requests must be in writing.
- Holding deposit
When you pay a landlord or a real estate agency a holding deposit, they keep the property for you. If the landlord chooses not to rent the property to you, then better to get your money back.
There’s a lot more you need to know and check but stating it all here might get overwhelming for you so we cut it short here and talk about it in detail in other guides. Before you get started with finding your student accommodation UK, here are the 3 key points to remember.
Step 1: Find Your Apartment
Are you planning to live alone or will be sharing an apartment? Other things you’ll need to decide on would be location, the number of rooms/ bathrooms, distance from your college/ grocery store/tube station and more.
Step 2: Close The Contract
Before you close the contract, you should do various checks of the house; rent, contract, utilities, guarantors and many things as you want to make sure the accommodation you are finalising is legit and works well for you.
Step 3: Move In/ Out
You thought the earlier steps were time taking, but this one is the most intense. You need to check the inventory, gas certificate, electricity, taxes and so on. While moving in is a process, so is moving out with contract expiration, deposits and all. We will talk about moving in/out in detail.