London

Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
I might be moving to London after the summer.
Anyone care to tell me how flat/house/room contracts work?
Should I be looking for a place now and secure it for then, or is it a matter of finding a place up for rental and moving in immediately? Are the contracts usually on a monthly basis or on a yearly basis, as it is up here for students?

Any tips/advice/anything really, would be greatly appreciated!
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  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    you have to normally put down a months rent in advance and then a damage deposit which is normally another months rent.

    its best if you can move in within about 2 weeks of finding somewhere, someplaces will be available straight away, others may not be available for a month...but be prepared to move in quickly.

    Contracts for normally first for 6 months, and then can be renewed on a yearly basis, and you must give a months notice when you want to leave.

    Gumtree is a good place to look, but beware of scams because there are a few going around.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I tend to get annual contracts with a 6-month break clause, mostly because I'm a student, though. But they are pretty standard. You can often find house shares on findaproperty.com, which are about 1/3 of the price of a 1-bedroom flat (even studios are often expensive).

    You can find something at very short notice usually, I've had estate agents advise me not to even look until 3 weeks before I need to move. You need to be prepared to put 4-6 weeks' rent down as a deposit (and ask if they are putting it in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, which protects you) as well as 1 calendar month in advance.

    As TT says, there are a lot of scams on sites like Gumtree, so if anyone demands "proof that you can pay" before a viewing, rather than references or guarantors when you sign the contract, run a mile.

    Good luck!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Dear Wendy wrote: »
    I might be moving to London after the summer.
    Anyone care to tell me how flat/house/room contracts work?
    Should I be looking for a place now and secure it for then, or is it a matter of finding a place up for rental and moving in immediately? Are the contracts usually on a monthly basis or on a yearly basis, as it is up here for students?

    Any tips/advice/anything really, would be greatly appreciated!

    You will rarely (if ever) find a property that you are able to secure well in advance, unless you are moving into Student accommodation. You will most likely find property available anywhere from immediately through to 4 weeks, less often up to 6-8 weeks. Allow yourself plenty of viewing time as there is a lot of rubbish out there and estate agents are very skilled in making things look a lot nicer/bigger than they are. London is vast, and many areas are less than desirable - make sure you ask plenty of questions to people you might know in London.

    For example:

    My new place

    This is actually as nice as it looks, but it looks massive on the pictures. It's certainly not small, but definitely doesn't have the space it seems to in the pictures. I found that with approximately 3 weeks until it becomes available (and it had only just been advertised. It was sourced on thegumtree through an estate agent), with 6 weeks in advance for deposit, one calendar month in advance for rent. Check what the agent's fees are as some are extortionate.

    As suggested, check out www.thegumtree.com as I have found all of the properties I have lived in for the last 5 years on there.

    Contracts are generally as piccolo states. Yearly, with a 6 month break clause. One calendar month rent in advance and between 4 and 6 weeks rent down as a deposit.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I wouldnt start looking for an actual flat till about a month beforehand, but I would start looking at areas to help you narrow down your search.

    Being near-ish two tube lines is worth aiming for because then if one is down you can still get around.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    I wouldnt start looking for an actual flat till about a month beforehand, but I would start looking at areas to help you narrow down your search.

    Being near-ish two tube lines is worth aiming for because then if one is down you can still get around.

    Agreed.

    Narrow down the areas you want to live. This is most likely going to have to be a compromise between cost (as the prices vary wildly)/location (due to the previously mentioned differences between the areas and how big London is)/Transport (as Budda mentions. For example, if you're way out and your only tube line is down, you're fucked).

    As I said before, just make sure you have plenty of time to spend in London to make your viewings. Distances look a lot smaller on the map than they actually are and it can easily take a couple of hours to get from one end of London to the other.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Also don't discount buses and overland trains as a way of getting around as well - but your biggest problem is likely to be deciding the are to live - there are always places to rent
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Any areas to recommend? I'm in a similar position as I might be moving down for a new job (depends on where I get placed) which would be central London and I've got no idea where to start, and just feel a bit lost really. I won't be making plans until it's definite, but I want to keep my eyes open.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Greenwich / Blackheath

    (I am biased though but i am always amazed by how lovely it is)
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    g_angel wrote: »
    Distances look a lot smaller on the map than they actually are and it can easily take a couple of hours to get from one end of London to the other.

    too fucking right. I'm on my way home now but Ive been house hunting (unsuccessfully) in London for the past 2 days. I thought I would be able to fit loads of viewings in, but instead I have been traveling from place to place.

    Supposed to start work on Tuesday, so guess I'm going to have to come back better prepared.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for the advice guys. I am currently trying to figure out some specific locations to check out, which will be conviniently placed for commuting each day.

    Also, are rented flats usually furnished or not?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Dear Wendy wrote: »
    Thanks for the advice guys. I am currently trying to figure out some specific locations to check out, which will be conviniently placed for commuting each day.

    Also, are rented flats usually furnished or not?

    Varies.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Wyetry wrote: »
    Greenwich / Blackheath

    (I am biased though but i am always amazed by how lovely it is)

    Blackheath! That's in Kent isnt it, its hardly central.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Dear Wendy wrote: »
    Thanks for the advice guys. I am currently trying to figure out some specific locations to check out, which will be conviniently placed for commuting each day.

    Also, are rented flats usually furnished or not?

    Most house shares will be furnished, but if you are renting by yourself it tends to vary.

    The TFL website will tell you all you need to know about travel times - www.tfl.gov.uk
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    budda wrote: »
    Blackheath! That's in Kent isnt it, its hardly central.

    Its like two stops on the train from london bridge and it has a london postcode - its not like dartford or st mary cray or swanley.

    Also its possibly worth pointing out that if a flat is unfurnished it still comes with a fitted kitchen - unlike some other parts of europe
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Acrobat wrote: »
    Any areas to recommend? I'm in a similar position as I might be moving down for a new job (depends on where I get placed) which would be central London and I've got no idea where to start, and just feel a bit lost really. I won't be making plans until it's definite, but I want to keep my eyes open.
    Also, if you want to be reasonably central look south rather than north. You don't have to go far south for it to be quite cheap. London Bridge / Borough is cheaper than Camden / Kentish Town, for example.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    How far should up to 400 pounds a month per person in shared accomodation reach? Like what should one expect? Where?
    Is it completely impossible to get something decent for that amount?

    This is stresful!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Dear Wendy wrote: »
    How far should up to 400 pounds a month per person in shared accomodation reach? Like what should one expect? Where?
    Is it completely impossible to get something decent for that amount?

    This is stresful!

    Depends what you want and where. I have just come back initially with a budget of £500 not including bills, but realised I'm going to have to increase that to £600
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Whoa, as a student I deffo wont be able to afford 600 pounds a month excluding bills.
    It's tricky, cause on one hand I don't wanna live too far away from central London, as it'll be a bitch commuting every day... and what's the point?
    On the other hand I really really can't afford paying way more than 400 pounds a month.
    Is it possible to do it?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If your looking for student accommodation then there will be something for you, just gotta look hard.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Are you going to be part of the University of London? They have a good housing list, if you Google for it.

    I am paying around £500 pcm to share a room in a 1-bedroom flat in Kings X, but I did live in a 3-bedroom flat a while ago for just under £400 including water. So it's possible but tricky to find in the more central areas. Estate agents will tell you it's not possible - but they would...

    A lot of my friends live out in Wood Green which is not too expensive but bear in mind that you'll add at least £20 p/w for travel the further away from uni you live.

    Where abouts will you be studying?
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    piccolo wrote: »

    Where abouts will you be studying?

    Important question :yes:
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    £400/month in zone 1-4 is a tough ask if you want anything bigger than a cardboard box, or don't mind living on ex council estate......i'm paying £450 all in for a place in clapham but that is dirt cheap, same flats in other blocks on the same estate going for £650+.......you should be able to find something decent for £500-550 if you hunt around.

    ETA: east london is definitely cheaper than west from experience, of course it varies by area...and if you go through most lettings agents you can expect to pay a premium on top i.e. get ripped off.
  • **helen****helen** Mod malarkist Posts: 9,236 Boards Champion
    £400/month in zone 1-4 is a tough ask if you want anything bigger than a cardboard box, or don't mind living on ex council estate

    :yes: ex council estates are often full of students paying approx £400-£450 per month - I saw a few places round the Caledonian road area that I would probably be quite happy to live in if I was still a student. Wood Green is also cheap but as Piccolo says you end up paying extra for travel. Part of the trick to finding a place is to just throw yourself into it, have a look at different areas and view as much as you can in the time you have.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Thanks for the input guys, appreciate it.

    I really don't wanna jinx anything, but if everything works out gradewise then I'll be in either LSE or King's. So couldn't really ask for anything more central.
    I wrote the accomodation officer who mentioned that popular student areas are Camden, Finsbury Park, Arsenal, Highbury, Mile End, Bethnal Green and Bow.
    As someone who's never spent any longer than a week at a time in London, I have no clue what these areas are like, living-wise and cost-wise.

    As said there are two arguments floating in my head: I don't wanna miss out on anything cause I live too far away, but I don't wanna miss out anything cause I can't afford to breathe after rent has been paid.

    :(
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    I would say, rule out Camden in your search if you're aiming for <£400, even the ex-local authority properties there are more than that.

    All the areas you mention are about the same, safety-wise and distance from LSE/King's. You might find that Mile End and Bethnal Green are slightly cheaper as a rule.

    Living too far away shouldn't stop you missing out on anything as long as there is a night bus or a 24-hour service. I don't live on a tube line but I have 2 night buses from Uni or Soho and it's really easy to get home.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Yeah, the night transport in London is excellent. I wouldn't worry too much about missing out on anything!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    If I add another 100 pounds to that amount, will that make a big difference in what I can get?
    How far away do you guys reckon is still decent distance to live from the school? Not only for transport links but also time-wise? I know it's 'all relative', but as London residents you probably have more of a clue than me :)

    Thanks!
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    It's by no means the cheapest way to find a place to live but http://www.findaproperty.com gives a pretty good benchmark of what estate agents are charging for rented accomodation - it also lets you search by areas of London and the map helps to see where places are if you don't know London that well.

    As I said in Cal's thread I live Highbury, Finsbury Park way and I like it a lot - one of the best areas I've ever lived... well apart from all the bloody students :P

    I think £400 should be doable - especially if you've got the chance to find other students to go in with - but it may take some looking. Camden probably not though - always been pretty expensive to live there and it's pretty much at its peak right now.

    As to travel - well for getting to somewhere in the morning, hell pretty much anywhere in London is fine - travel isn't too expensive compared to the rest of the country and you can get in from places as far from Ealing in, what, an hour top, to central London.

    Main thing is probably to look at finding somewhere close to a good trainline or the tube the further out you go. As to getting back at night, long as you don't mind a long bus ride then travel is available literally 24 hours a day, everyday of the year.
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Here's the searches for Finsbury Park/Highbury - as you can see 400 - 450 a month is available. The more you can spend the nicer you'll get obviously and you'll need to look around, some will be really nice and some will basically put prisons to shame...

    http://www.findaproperty.com/searchresults.aspx?edid=00&salerent=1&al=67266762
  • Former MemberFormer Member Posts: 1,876,329 The Mix Honorary Guru
    Hi everyone, I'll be moving to London as well for studying, and this thread is very helpful! The course starts beginning of october, but I can't be in London before 20ish September. I'd really prefer to be settled by the time the course begins, does that leave me too little time to find a place?

    I'll be studying at the Institute of Education, near Russell Square btw so I'm looking for something central too. I had thought 500 pounds top per month.
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