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Guide to Accommodation in London and Renting in London

Piccadilly Circus, LondonLondon Area Guide and Accommodation Advice

AUGUST 2010

Arriving in a new country can be bewildering to say the least. Looking for a place to live in a new city can be fun but it can also become very tiresome.

There are so many factors to take into account when re-locating to a new city. London is a huge metropolis with some very distinct areas. The London area guide below should help you decide where to start looking.

We have also included some vital information information regarding the legal side of accommodation in London and the UK.

accommodationUseful links for London accommodation & renting

There are a number of useful web sites that can assist in the search for a room in London and around the UK.

 

> Easyroommate / flatmateworld - up to 190,000 ads at anyone time.

> House pals - UK web site for finding somewhere to live and flatmates



When you first arrive in London and looking for somewhere

The choice of accommodation in London alone is immense. From squats to Penthouses overlooking the River Thames, the choice is yours!

Below is a list of options to help you decide what is right for you.

Starting with the cheapest we have DOSSING. Charges can range from free (if you are lucky and have understanding friends) to about £5 - £10 a night. Dossing is not only the cheapest option but also the most flexible. You can find your feet, maybe get a job and then look for something more permanent (and comfortable!). Be careful not to out stay your welcome though!

The next option is of course to RENT somewhere. The cheapest option here is to share a room in a shared house. Typically you would look at paying £50 a week each for a shared room. To have your own single room you would be looking more towards £70.00 per week and for your own double it would be more like £100.

These figures are very rough and can go up and down dramatically depending on location, condition and the state of the current rental market. These prices would be in a typical Zone 2/3/4 area of London. You would expect to pay more in Zone 1 and less outside of Zone 5 and beyond.

Bedsits and studios would be the next option if you are looking for self-containment. Be careful though, unless it is specified 'self-contained' then chances are you will be sharing communal facilities like the kitchen and bathroom. You'll pretty much be in the same position as someone renting in a shared house, but paying a bit more.

Self contained bedsits and studios (normally one room with a small kitchen area and a separate bath/shower room) start from £100 a week in London again depending on where you wish to live.

One bedroom flats where you would expect a operate lounge and bedroom is the more expensive option but can work out as good value if you are sharing with another person. Typically one bedroom flats start from £150.00 a week at the cheaper end.

In most renting cases you would be expected to pay one month in advance and one month's deposit. This can be an expensive introduction to living in the UK especially if you have not started to work and your local currency is weak against the pound. Of course soon as you land that first job you'll be fine!

London Area Guide - Guide to where to live in London

Most travellers and working holiday visas will commence their trip in London. Many of course stay on and will use London as their European base. The high wages of London are matched by the high cost of living. Choosing an area to live can have a huge impact on how much money is left in your pocket at the end of the month.

West and South London

> Guide to the Northern Line (South) Morden to Tooting Broadway

> Living in Clapham South, Balham and Tooting Bec

> Living in Clapham North, Clapham Common and Stockwell

Shepherds Bush, Acton, Chiswick, Hammermith and Ealing - Traditional stomping grounds of working holiday makers in London. Links into Central London are good with several underground lines and good buses. There is plenty of affordable (and not so affordable!) rooms to rent and some of the nightlife is excellent and aimed at travellers.

Fulham, Putney, Earl's Court, Wimbledon - these again are becoming popular areas with travellers. They are generally a bit more expensive and pleasant places to live. Fulham has a lively pub scene. Earls Court is where everyone headed first as there are many hostels in the area for instance. It has become expensive and out of reach of most travellers budgets though. Putney, Southfields and Wimbledon are a bit further out and feel less congested.

Clapham, Brixton, Battersea, Balham, Tooting, Colliers Wood - Ideally situated for central London these are all lively areas with good transport links and a wide range of accommodation. Some areas can be very trendy and therefore expensive.

North and North West and East London

Willesden Green and Kilburn - these areas are rapidly becoming popular areas with Antipodeans. They are generally cheaper, slightly scruffier but offer good transport links.

Highgate, Archway, Finsbury Park - Very mixed areas containing vast council estates, lovely open spaces and a cosmopolitan feel. Again they are blessed with good transport links and offer a wide variety in quality and prices.

East London is traditionally the poorer part of London and therefore contain the cheaper areas. Areas on the Central Line such as Stratford, Mile End and Leyton are all seeing a big change as smart flats and excellent new transport infrastructure are increasing interest. The London Olympics in 2012 is centered on this area and will help with it's regeneration.

Areas to look at are Leyton and Leytonstone. These are starting to become popular with travellers despite being a distance from the antipodean traditional areas of West London. Some decent nightlife is starting to emerge and prices for shared houses still remain low compared to the rest of London.

Taxes, Landlord and Legal Stuff

Increasingly room rents are including all bills. Obviously the price will reflect this but it can be a lot less hassle not to have to worry about bills. If you do have to pay bills you will probably have to put your name down as well as the date you moved in.

Council tax is applicable to all properties and are levied for the services that are provided by the local authority. They can vary a lot depending in which borough you live. For instance Wandsworth (covering such areas as Putney, Clapham Junction) is approximately £500 a year where as Camden is nearer £1200 a year! Quite a difference especially if the bills are split among only a few.

Utility bills include water, gas, electricity and telephone and are generally paid quarterly. It is important that when you move into a new property you ensure that all these bills have been paid by the previous tenant.

It is also wise to have a legal tenancy contract with the landlord, especially if you havehanded over a large deposit. Without a contract you as a tenant have no legal rights and could find yourself out of pocket or on the street! The contract also protects the landlord as well.

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