How to Find Accommodation in London

How do you find a room in London? It might seem a trick question, but the answer is quite simple: YOU DON’T! What are you doing here? Just go back to where you came from before it’s too late. Run, run, run as fast as you can and don’t look back.

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So long, put your blue jeans back on, girl. Go home. Remember, London’s not fill in the blank. 

Alrighty then, Helena Jane, the girl with a restless soul, let’s get you a room.

Websites

  • Spareroom: perhaps the most reliable, comprehensive and safest site to find accommodation, Spareroom is also plagued with agency ads. Newsflash: those pictures are more retouched than Kate Winslet on the cover of GQ, or even Cher, just in general. Oh I do apologise to the millennials in the room. By Cher, I mean Kylie Jenner, or her father, for that matter.
  • Gumtree: you might find the best deals on this site, but to me finding accommodation on Gumtree is like buying a Samsung smartphone because of its photographic features. It might seem a better bargain than an iPhone, but you never know when it’s going to blow up in your face.
  • Easyroommate: although this site offers some decent options, a name change is in order. While easyroommate might seem fairly “easy” to use, it’s actually the biggest tease ever. Every now and then you find the one of your dreams – perfectly equipped, ideal proportions, absolutely gorgeous, great personality and at the right price – but you can only contact the advertiser if you have a premium account. I mean, I’m looking for a bargain, so of course I don’t feel like paying extra for a site to find a room. Hobo here! Hello!

Crazy Landlords

If you meet the landlord and he/she strikes you as a bit dodgy, racist, slimy, creepy or temperamental, just you wait until you move in. It is a truth universally acknowledged, that landlords can only keep the psycho down till they’ve been given the deposit. My advice is that you shouldn’t let them intimidate you. They might have your money, but you, my friend, have access to the inside of their homes… Just a thought. Yeah, too many films come to mind. I would list them below but I had the intention of keeping this post clean and legal; I’ll settle for the latter.

Agencies

What I love about agencies is their expertise and that you probably won’t end up sharing a flat with a real estate agent – one can only hope for the best. Although most agencies don’t rent rooms, the ones that do have numerous options at your disposal so you can rent a tailor-made room just for you. As they have a large database of rooms, you just have to let them know your budget, the area you want to live in and the kind of room you’re looking for; within a matter of seconds, they’ll show you a list and even take you to view the shortlisted properties. What’s most relevant, however, is that the real estate agents aren’t going to come up with some dumb excuse to keep your deposit or give you four days of notice to pack your bags and leave.

The downside of agencies is that they’ll probably bleed you dry. Most of them require you to settle up with them for massive agency fees on top of rent and deposit upon moving in. While there’s a new law in the making that bans these agency fees, at the time of writing this article, it hasn’t been passed yet.

Flatmates

If you want to circumvent the live-in landlord and the invasive/bloodsucking agency, the way forward is to rent a whole property along with your friends because if someone is going to harvest your organs, you might as well profit from it. What’s more, renting the whole property with your friends is relatively cheaper than renting a single room on your own, and you don’t have to hide in your “chamber” all day. Instead, friends get together in the living room to chat or watch TV, or in the kitchen to cook dinner.

Couples

To me, the only valid reason to get married is for tax purposes. Romantic, I know. But it’s very practical. As a matter of fact, your rent in London will be considerably cheaper if you share a room/flat with your significant other. For instance, my friend used to share a flat with her boyfriend. They both paid £680pcm for a flat near Mile End station (Central Line) and they even had a living room. I didn’t even know living rooms existed in London!

That’s why, on my quest to save money on rent, I downloaded Tinder. The plan was simple: find someone I might end up moving in with before renting a room. Of course my friends advised me otherwise, just like they do every other time I come up with a stupid scheme. My dear friend George, for instance, told me: “Claudia, you are using the wrong app. You can’t go room hunting on Tinder.” Then I applied all the philosophical perspectives and wisdom I’ve gathered from all those years of watching YouTube and replied: “Of course you can. Have you never seen The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills? You have the wrong mindset on property, George. You are not supposed to find accommodation and then a boyfriend, but the other way around.”

Location

A useful rule of thumb is to find accommodation that is well connected to your workplace in terms of transport. You don’t want to spend half your life on the tube, particularly over the summer; those gases are nocive: some people don’t wear deodorant because they are avoiding cancer. How selfish! **By the way, there’s no “clear” link between parabens or aluminium and cancer.**

Although you might find cheap rooms in Western districts like Shepherd’s Bush, I think that area is quite boring. That’s, nonetheless, my humble opinion.

The East End is full of quirky coffee shops, fun weekend markets, art, trendy stores and events. What once was a cheap area to live in is fast becoming one of the most expensive ones, but if hipsters can afford organic meals, avocado and artisan coffee, then they probably won’t be left without a roof over their heads, unless they travel to Thailand, and somehow end up sitting on the streets and begging for money.

Historically marginalised in favour of North London, I believe South London is a very up-and-coming area. You are more likely to get better accommodation in better locations – cleaner and quieter – at better prices there.

The farther you go down south, the further you’ll be from the city’s pollution, hustle and bustle, overpriced goods, dirty streets and tourists. What’s more, hipsters are scared of crossing the river Thames, so no more man buns, long beards, obnoxious glasses and individual thoughts #winning

Just keep moving further and further from the city until you are not in London anymore, then pat yourself on the back because at least you tried.

Do you agree with my list? Would you like to share some advice? Let us know in the comments below!

Claudia @IndieRoad

 


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