Looking for a Place

While the team at Accommodation Services cannot find houses or flats for you, we are always happy to provide support, information and advice to help you search.

Looking for accommodation

You may find the idea of looking for a flat or house very daunting, especially if you are new to London, but don't worry - with a little advice and common sense you can find a wonderful home in the capital.

When to look

In London, very few landlords advertise their flats in advance. The whole process can take over a month so if you are starting a course in September we suggest coming to London in July or August to look for your accommodation.

How much will it cost? 

London is not cheap, and accommodation costs do take a big chunk out of Londoner's budgets. Before you start looking for accommodation you should calculate how much money you will have to live on and budget accordingly.

The London Student Housing Guide’s budget calculator may help you with working out how much you will need to spend on rent and basic expenses.

The Living Costs, Discounts, Budgeting & Debt Advice information provided by UAL’s Student Advice Service can help you with working out how much you will need to spend on rent and basic expenses.

When budgeting don't forget to allow for the following:

  • Utility bills (water, gas and electricity)
  • TV Licence
  • Internet Connection
  • Telephone Line

How to find a place

There are plenty of websites you can use to find suitable accommodation. We recommend:

  • Start with our list of approved landlords and agents, the ULHS accommodation database. Here you will find offers of rooms, flats and houses, advertised specifically for students.
  • If you are just looking for a room, we also recommend you keep an eye on the Student Flatshare Messaging Board and Commonplace.
  • Many landlords renting out houses and flats use lettings agents to advertise their properties and find tenants. You can find a list of agents on the ULHS pages.
  • When using lettings agents, always make sure the agents you are dealing with are a member of a Redress Scheme. We also recommend that you check they are a member of a professional organisation, such as ARLA.
  • If you are interested in private halls of residence you can use this useful overview of independent halls

Viewing properties

You should always view a property before deciding to move in.

Do not try and find accommodation from a distance. If you need temporary accommodation while looking for something permanent, try the Summer accommodation page or the ULHS website.

Do not agree to any contracts online, or pay any money without seeing the property first.

Here are some of the things you should look out for when viewing a property:

  • Cracks in walls, peeling paint, signs of damp and mould 
  • Is there adequate ventilation?
  • Check the furniture – is it in good condition and clean? Whose furniture is it?
  • Do the windows open and close ok?
  • Is there sufficient heating?
  • Check for any broken wires or loose electricity sockets
  • Is there decent sound insulation?
  • Is there a valid Gas Safety Certificate?

For examples of what can go wrong, watch these two videos produced by Shelter.

Do you want a check list to take with you? You can find these in the Private Housing Guide and also on the Shelter website.