“Hey, I’m a broke student who hasn’t yet finished her useless degree. I think I’ll go live in one of the most expensive cities in the world for a few months!”
My rental contract expires on the 15th. I’m sort of ambivilant about it: on the one hand, I love the neighborhood I’m living in (Kensington). On the other hand I’m in a double room with a girl I met a few days after arriving in London, and I’ve grown to dislike her. She’s perfectly nice as a person, just a terrible roommate.
So: we’re not renewing our contract. That means I’m trawling Gumtree and Loot.com, looking for someplace A) not an hour away from the office where I work in central London, and B) No more than 110 pounds per week. I’d also like to live with nice people who will not exclusively speak various eastern-European languages to each other thereby leaving me out, and who are not averse to an American (myself).
I’m not angry about it, but why the hell does London have to be so expensive? Also, why can’t someone just call me up and say, “Hey, I’m a really nice person, I’ve got a nice single room for you, ninety quid a week, no ridiculously huge bond, you can move in on the 15th, and by the way, it’s within walking distance of your office so you’ll save a crapload of time and money getting to and from work?”
I was shocked when I saw ads for houses while I was in London. I’m from the rural midwestern United States. You could buy a mansion in my area for the amount they were asking for a house I wouldn’t even call a “starter home.”
I’ll admit, living out in the sticks has probably spoiled me for cheap land, but I just couldn’t believe it.
London is expensive. If you want a good deal you will have to lower your standards.
If you want to live central I would suggest a hostel My first 6 months here (I’m a canadian) were made much easier by living in a hostel full of 80% americans, 10% canucks and 10% “other” (germans, aussies, kiwi). The problem most of my american friends had was that most places demand large deposits and a min. 6 month lease which is unsuitable for people here for a max. 6 month visa. They had no time to save for a deposit as all their funds go on surviving until they sort a job.
The downside to hostel living is that you experience less of a brit experience. I was grateful for the dorm like environment it provided but I didn’t really feel like I living a life here until I moved into my first flat in clapham.
If hostel living isn’t for you then maybe you need to rethink the commuting issue. If you can get a flat near a good train link you should be fine. I’m in Greenwich at the moment (Clapham has gotten so pricey!) and it takes me 20 min. to get to my job near Waterloo Station. My rent including council tax is £400 month and I have my own double room in a 3 bed flat with 2 other professionals.
I can’t see you finding anything in your price range in central london unless you continue to roomshare. My ex lives in a house with 5 people near Victoria with his own room and bathroom but he pays almost £700 not inc. all his bills. And the place isn’t even that nice!
HOUND Gumtree. Check it every hour from work or net cafes and follow it up with immediate phone calls. Places go quick, especially the good ones.
Go for ads that ask for professionals only. It helps distinguish between the party houses.
Consider renting a whole flat not just a room (this is what I did sucessfully both times) and advertising for flatmates yourself. You get the best room and to pick your own roomies. Again, advertise for Professionals only.
Remember to ask if council tax and water/electricity/gas bills are included!!
It’s tough, I spent a few weeks in June hunting and got lucky because of persistance. Best of luck.
Also, which uni are you at? Most will have an accomodation office. They might not give you any help with regards to living in halls but they are highly likely to have a website for student accomodation. Contact them and find out.
(Also, you need to either pay more or move further out - £110 a week will get you very little and it’s going to be incredibly hard to find!)