Finding a place to rent can be a bit of a nightmare.
Finding a room to rent in London is on another level.
It’s definitely stressful and it’s definitely fast-paced, so almost a year after moving I thought I’d try to share some tips.
- There are places out there. It can be very easy to panic as places move quickly and the process can be overwhelming, but people are always on the move and there are options out there if you keep calm and look properly.
- Know what you want. Do you want an extension of university life, living with people who are also going to be your friends, or do you want a quiet place you can head home to after work or socialising? Think carefully about the type of environment you want to be in.
- Visit multiple places. So many places look ok online, but the reality can be a different story. I saw places that looked about triple the size online, I went to a house where the other three occupants smoked and left beer bottles everywhere, I went to one house that was hidden away down a creepy alleyway I wouldn’t have felt safe in alone.
- Know what you’re getting yourself into. What’s the agreement with the landlord? Are bills included? What’s the minimum time you have to agree to live there for, and what’s the notice period if you want to leave?
- Live-in landlord or not? This is something I will write more about in the future, but you might want to consider this one carefully. If they do live there, you can be sure issues with the place will be fixed quickly as they live there, but you might feel like you’re invading their space, rather than living in a place on equal footing.
- Check out the area. Think logically about where the house is based. Will you feel safe heading home alone at night? Is your commute to work doable and affordable? Are there shops and other conveniences within easy reach?
- Use multiple sites. Don’t restrict your search – cast a wide net so you can choose the best options of everything.
- Set up your own advert. On a lot of sites there’s the option to set up your own advert as well as browsing through room adverts. I did this and the best places I saw were through people contacting me rather than the other way round. I found these people were being a bit more picky about the types of people they wanted to live with, so both sides knew it was quite a good match before I even went to see the room.
- Budget carefully. Think very honestly about what you can afford to spend on rent. Take into account bills and travel expenses, then add on any socialising. London is an expensive city, and you need to try and strike that balance of living somewhere that meets your needs but isn’t swallowing up every penny of your budget every month.
- Keep calm. It’s hard, and I definitely didn’t keep as calm as I should have done. Know that it’s a stressful process but it’s doable and you will find something that meets your needs.