For those who want to spend some time in London whether working or studying, one of the first things that come to their minds is: where to stay. London offers several types of accommodation and prices.
You should bear in mind that London is a big city so the best thing to do is to try to find somewhere close to your college, university or work so that your door-to-door commute ranges no longer than 45 minutes. The farther away from the city centre, cheaper the rent. However, remember you might pay extra more on travel.
Commuting in London
London is divided into zones. Zone 1 is considered the central zone. This means that zone 5 could be considered the suburbs. If you live in zone 5 and work or study in zone 1, you’re commuting by Tube, you’ll have to pay for zones 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5.
If you’re commuting by bus, you’ll pay a fixed price. No matter if you’re travelling from zone 5 to zone 1 or zone 1 to zone 1, the price it will be the same.Travelling by bus is the most economical way, however, it can take much longer because traffic is a real thing in London.
If you’re planning to study for more than 6 months, the best thing is to look for a house share. There are several estate agencies and private landlords offering this service. The more people you live with, cheaper the rent (probably) will be. If you are a quiet, reserved person, sharing a house with a maximum of 2 people would be a good choice but remember that it could be a bit more expensive than sharing with more people. Also, renting a room is cheaper than renting an entire flat. Here are tips to help if you’re renting in London.
If you’re renting a flat, estate agencies request at least 2 weeks deposit + 1-month rent in advance (6 weeks total). But this could change if you’re renting a flat with a private landlord or if you are renting a room. The latter, usually you’ll have to pay 2 weeks in advance.
According to the government program Shelter, “You pay a tenancy deposit to give your landlord protection in case you leave without paying the rent or cause damage to the property or its contents. Your landlord should confirm in writing what the deposit covers. This may be set out in your tenancy agreement or your landlord may give you a separate document that’s signed by both you and your landlord.”
Washing machine and dryer
Many houses only have a washing machine. If you’re living in a flat, you’ll soon realize that if you want to dry your clothing, either you’ll need to bring your clothes to the nearest launderette or, commonly, you’ll dry your clothes, bed linen and table cloths in the living room or your bedroom, with a little help from your clothes drying rack.
Also, do not forget to ask if you must pay to use the machine. In some shared houses, the washing machine only works if you insert some money.
Is Council tax included?
The Council Tax is a tax created by the authorities of England, Scotland and Wales for citizens to pay for local services such as garbage collection, policing, lighting, street maintenance, etc. The tax is based on the value of the house. The amount varies from house to house. You can find the value through the CouncilTax website. Usually, if you are sharing a house, Council Tax is already included in the rent. However, make it clear before you sign a tenancy agreement and move to a property.
Are bills included?
It should work here the same way. Make it clear before you sign a tenancy agreement and move to a property. Ask the landlord to itemise what bills are included. It can be ambiguous sometimes. Some landlords are not literate yet about Internet bills and so it can be excluded.
Usually when you are renting a room, utility bills (gas, electricity and water), TV License and internet are included but, once again, make sure to ask this.
Does the house have household items like microwaves, cutlery and pots?
All houses have refrigerator, freezer and cooker. Often as the first tenancy, landlords usually don’t buy houseware, home electricals like vacuum cleaner, microwave and kettle. If this is your case, you can ask your landlord (before signing the contract) if he would be able to buy this for the flat. If the answer is no, you’ll probably have to buy the items on your own.
Living abroad, in a different culture is a life changing experience, so make sure you get as more information as possible when renting a flat.
There are also many apps that will help to make your life easier while you’re living in London, including finding a room, studio or flat. Find more about these apps here.