Are you trying to find the best postgraduate student accommodation in London but to no avail? From halls of residence to private student accommodation and everything else in between, check out our top tips and tricks to help you find the perfect home from home...
Where to Start Before starting the hunt you need to be clear on your search criteria. One bedroom? Two bedroom? Central London? Shared accommodation? Close to the tube?
If you're a London newbie then the best thing you can do is follow your instincts. Don't hang about. Listings go out of date very quickly. If you spot a property you like the look of, phone straight away.
Location, Location, Location There is a wide variety of postgraduate student accommodation available in both central London and the suburbs. Listen to friends' advice regarding which neighbourhoods are worth checking out and which to avoid. If possible, and you have the cash, try to find something close to your university to cut travel costs.
Apart from the obvious, it's also a good idea to consider whether the area you're looking in has any nice places to eat and drink, as well as a lively nightlife (if that's what you're into).
Student living isn't just about the studying, after all. The trendier areas of London tend to be Notting Hill, the East End, Shoreditch and Hackney. Living near one of the big parks such as Hampstead Heath is also pleasant, and provides a welcome breath of fresh air when needing to wind down.
To find out more about an area you could always do a spot of investigatory work over at the Office of National Statistics, The Guardian's Crime Map, or the albeit more gruesome sounding, MurderMap.
Price Point In general the price point to follow is £100 - £150 a week for central London - this should get you additional perks such as a living room, working kitchen, and a nice neighbourhood.
Price can vary considerably between place to place so make sure you shop around if you're counting the pennies. Decide what budget you have to work with and stick to it! Also bear in mind that the charges levied on some accommodation – like that provided by Unite for example – includes utility bills, whereas with other accommodation you will have to pay for your bills in addition to your monthly rent charge.
Halls of Residence Though usually reserved for first years, some universities offer halls of residence to postgrads. Halls are great for meeting new people, secure and one of the most cost effective method of postgraduate accommodation for students. They also usually have a whole host of communal facilities. The downside, they can be pretty hectic if you're not very social or don't want to be surrounded by a bunch of first years.
University Accommodation Office Your university should have a dedicated student accommodation office that has their own list of trusted local landlords and letting agencies. If you get stuck, or aren't quite sure where to start, your uni accommodation office will help provide impartial advice to aid your search.
Privately-owned Student Accommodation There are lots of privately owned student accommodation providers that can also help you to find accommodation and it is important to make sure you have a good recommendation. Postgrad Solutions has recently partnered with Fresh Student Living – a company that provides privately managed purpose-built student accommodation – a great alternative to university halls and private housing.
Fresh Student Living is a company that provides privately managed purpose-built student accommodation that is both high quality and reasonably priced. It is an ideal alternative to university halls and private housing, and there are some fantastic accommodation options in London as well as nearby Kingston and Reading. Fresh Student Living has amazing student accommodation in prime locations all over London – from central urban locations such as Angel and Stockwell, to the greener pastures of Ealing in West London, or what about accommodation with its own private swimming pool and gym just south of the River Thames. Whatever you are looking for you will find it, and with bills included, CCTV and an Admissions Team on hand you are guaranteed to be well looked after.
Estate Agents and Private Accommodation Estate agents may have a bad reputation, but they can help guarantee against fraud ensuring you know exactly what you're getting from the word go. A good agent will listen to your requirements and save you heaps of time looking for the right property. Try RightMove, Find a Property, and PrimeLocation to see what's currently available. You should also try private student accommodation specialist Unite to see what they have available in your location and price range.
Flatshares If halls of residence aren't up your alley and going it alone is not financially viable, then flatsharing with other budget-busting students may be your only alternative. Flatsharing can be a great way to bag yourself a better flat in a quality location thanks to the split costs. Plus you actually get to pick who you live with.
Wondering what the best websites are for finding flatshares or rooms to rent? Give these sites a whirl:
Interim Options If you're looking for a place to crash, because timing has been less than perfect and you're having to move out of your current flat before you've been able to find your next one, fear not!
Ask you mate to store your stuff or for something a little more long term put it into storage. If you're trying to keep costs to a minimum, take a look at Couchsurfing or Crashpadder for cheap short term options. Chin up! Stick to our above advice and you'll find a place in no time.
Avoiding Housing Scams Above all, the best advice we can give is to keep your wits about you! If you stumble across an offer that seems too good to be true - it probably is. Fraudulent listings aimed at students are common, and more often than not, the unbelievable deal you've found is a flat that doesn't exist, is already occupied, or is really a hotel room. One of the biggest scam giveaways is the poorly written, unintelligible English answer you'll receive after requesting information.
If you do manage to find something that seems trustworthy, always err on the side of caution until you've seen the flat for yourself, met the landlord, and read the contract. Don't ever wire money without first carrying out the above.
Useful Links Reasons to do your postgrad study in London
Study in the UK
Tips for settling in: explore your local area
Fresh Student Living
Top 10 Things To Do As A Postgrad in London