In this article:


What are the best ways of finding accommodation?
If you’re looking for accommodation in the private renting sector (i.e. not a student halls of residence) a good starting point for searching is to register to use the University of London Housing Services’ database. They have registered landlords and letting agents advertising properties, and they are looking specifically for student tenants.

Properties for the next academic year are advertised on here from May onwards. Access to the database is restricted, so you will need to provide your student ID number.

We also suggest looking at the Private Housing Guide, produced by the University of London Housing Services, is also packed with really useful information about renting privately in London.

We have compiled a list of several popular online search sites where you can filter searches by price per week/month, and location – just visit Where to look.


Important to know:

  • We do not endorse any of these sites, and they are listed for informational purposes only.
  • Unfortunately, students looking for accommodation are often targeted by scams. Take a look at our article Are there any accommodation scams I should be aware of? so that you can remain vigilant during your housing search.

We also advise you to check out our online learning module Looking for Housing.

When should I book private accommodation?
The London housing market is vast and fluid, and it is common for tenants to start looking 4-6 weeks before needing to move in.  We advise that you carefully consider your housing needs for next year and when you can realistically move in, before committing yourself to a housing contract.
 
If you have any concerns about your options and would just like to talk through your situation please do not hesitate to call the KCL Student Advice Line and speak to one of the Housing Advisers.


How can I find a house share with other King’s students?
There is a King’s Flatmate Finder group on Facebook that is open to current and prospective King’s students. The group is in place to provide a forum for students to find other students looking for accommodation and flatmates.
Important to know: We do not endorse any property or room. You need to exercise the same caution as you would if you found an ad on another website/group.

To join the group you will need to complete the KCL Flatmate Finder Group Joining Form and also send a request through Facebook by clicking on the link at the bottom of the form.

Where should I live in London?
To help you decide where you might want to live in London we suggest visiting Commonplace, which is a useful website with information about the different areas of London from a student perspective.

To help you find areas that are within your budget visit the London Assembly website, which compares average rents in London.

What should I check for when I'm house hunting?
This checklist is designed to help you think about which questions to ask and what to look for when viewing properties. This list is by no means exhaustive but should give you a starting point.
 
 

Before you look

  • How many rooms?

  • Maximum weekly/monthly rent?

  • Maximum bills?

  • Personal preferences (e.g. want a double room) Location (travel costs vs rent)

 

 

Viewing inside the property

  • Are the facilities adequate for the number of occupants?

  • Are there adequate washing and toilet facilities?

  • Is there a shower installed?

  • Is the kitchen big enough? (Enough storage space, fridge size etc)

  • How is the water heated?

  • Is your room sufficient for your needs?

  • What furniture does the Landlord supply?

  • Is there sufficient heating, lighting and ventilation?

  • How many electrical sockets are there?

  • Are the communal areas sufficient for your needs?

  • Is there a lounge or somewhere for everyone to sit and eat together?

  • Is there an Internet connection?

  • Are you happy with the overall state of repair and decoration?

  • If not, is the Landlord willing to carry out improvements before you move in? (Get any agreements in writing before committing to anything).

  • Is the house clean? If not, will it be cleaned before you move in? Is there a vacuum cleaner and does it work? Though the Landlord is not obliged to provide this or other domestic appliances, it is useful if they are supplied.

  • Will it be relatively easy and economical to keep the house warm in winter? Ask for an Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) if one has not been offered. Ask the current tenants about the heating bills.

  • Does the property suffer from any damp? Attic bedrooms and ground floor rooms are the most susceptible. Feel any outward facing walls/under windows and look behind furniture.

 

 

Gas, electrical, fire safety & security

  • Are the gas appliances safe? The Landlord is legally obliged to produce a Gas Safety Certificate every 12 Months.

  • Is the electrical wiring safe? Ask the Landlord when the electrical wiring was last checked (broken or old type sockets and loose wiring can often be a bad sign) and ask to see some electrical certification.

  • Is the upholstered furniture fire resistant? The Landlord is legally obliged to ensure all upholstered furniture comply with the Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations. The furniture should have labels attached to show this.

  • Are you satisfied that the property is safe in the event of fire?

  • Are there fire doors?

  • How many exits are there from the property?

  • Are there smoke alarms?

  • Is there a fire blanket in the kitchen?

  • Does the Landlord require an HMO License (House of Multiple Occupation)? If you are unsure, seek advice.

  • Is the property reasonably secure?

  • Are there solid external doors?

  • Who has keys to the property?

  • Are there good locks? The best locks have a British Standard ‘kite mark’.

  • Are there window locks on ground floor and accessible upper floor windows?

  • Has the property been burgled recently?

 

 

Viewing the outside of the property

  • Is the exterior of the property in good condition?

  • Are there any loose/missing slates on the roof?

  • Are any of the gutters or down pipes blocked?

  • What is the condition of the window frames?

  • Who is responsible for garden maintenance?

  • Is there safe access to the property?

  • At night, is there adequate street lighting?

  • Is there an outside security light?

  • Is there a night bus?

  • Try walking the route from public transport to the front door at night, bring someone with you!

  • Is the area safe after dark?

 

 

Management of the property & contract

  • Are you happy with the Landlord’s arrangements for doing repairs?

  • What happens if there is an emergency?

  • Who will manage the property - the Landlord or their agent?

  • Have you read and understood your contract? Student Advice and ULHS offer contract checks.

  • Are you clear about the rent, what it includes and when it is due? This should be contained in the contract.

  • How much is the deposit?

  • Have you been informed which tenancy deposit scheme the Landlord is using? If not, ask your Landlord for details. If you don’t receive this information within 30 days of paying the deposit, seek advice as soon as possible.

 

 

Before you move in

  • Will the rent be split evenly?

  • Who is responsible for each bill? Gas/Electricity/Water/TV Licence/Phone & Cable/Internet/Other

  • How will you pay and what arrangements have been made to split the bills fairly? There are apps which make this hassle free (eg. Splitwise, Venmo).


What other support can I get to help me find somewhere to live?
Finding somewhere to live when you’re a student can be very exciting but understanding the private housing sector can be challenge, especially in London.

Our Money & Housing Advice team have put together lots of resources to help you in your search.


If you get stuck at any time, you can always get in touch with the Money & Housing Advice team through the Adviceline or online enquiry form, or you can always log a case and we’ll guide you to the information you need.