Do your research
There is plenty of student accommodation in London to choose from, so don’t settle for the first property
If you are feeling lost with where to even begin finding the ideal accommodation for your student lifestyle, your university should have a student accommodation office which can offer you advice and have a list of trusted landlords and letting agents that you can get in touch with.
Alternatively, seek out various letting agents in London on your own. They will advertise student houses for the next academic year but the down side to using a letting agent, is that it is based on first come first serve, and therefore properties can get whipped up quick. What’s more, letting agents tend to charge an agency fee, so if it’s possible, it might be worth finding a private landlord as this is generally cheaper, however it is advised that you select a private landlord approved by your University for your own peace of mind.
The downside that comes with living on your own, is that you have to pay the bills. Therefore, before you choose your student accommodation, consider what you can actually afford with your student budget. As you look around different properties, it’s always worth asking the current residents roughly how much they spend on bills a month to get a better idea of what your outgoings will be like during your academic year.
In addition, remember to pay for your TV licence as it’s really not worth the risk of getting a big fine. It costs £145.50 for the year, but if you are staying in shared accommodation, you will only need one between you, meaning you can share the cost.
Although getting around London as a student is easy with the excellent transport system, it’s worth considering how far you will want to commute to get to university. If you’re not one for getting up early, then maybe a 1 hour commute to your university isn’t the best idea if you are planning on making your 9 o’clock lectures.
Also consider the costs of transportation. Although, students get discounted travel benefits in London, costs can mount up significantly. Therefore, the closer you are to everything in terms of both university and social aspects, the less money you are likely to spend of London transport. However, at the same time, generally the more central you are and closer you are for things to do, generally the higher accommodation costs will be. So, it’s really about weighing up the costs of each and working out which is best for you.
Another aspect to acknowledge when choosing your location, is to consider the amount of noise in the area. For example, if you’re beside a busy road, question whether it will annoy you or distract you from your studies in anyway.
The first question and sometimes only question that often crosses many students’ minds when looking for student accommodation is: is this accommodation going to be good for socialising and parties? While having a good time and socialising is a huge part of university, you need to be realistic and remember the real reason why you are actually at university! Consider whether the bedrooms have enough space for you to be able to study and complete your work in a comfortable environment. Look at the communal areas, and question for example, does the kitchen have enough space and all the facilities you require?
Unless, you want to be spending a fortune on heating, an essential aspect to look out for when viewing different accommodation is whether your accommodation has double glazing. This is something many students forget to do before signing the contract and find themselves wrapped up in 5 layers of clothing around the house, with their student budget restricting them from splashing out on heating costs.
Student houses can often be victims of break-ins and burglaries –they know they are almost guaranteed at least a couple of laptops. So make sure that you choose a secure property. What’s more the safer your student property is, the cheaper your contents insurance will be, so you can spend your student loan in better ways! Check with more than one insurance company to establish their minimum security requirements before you start the process of looking for accommodation.