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Antonia Jennings, a postgrad student at LSE, explains the best ways to find private accommodation in London.
Coming to study at the LSE doesn’t mean you have to live in LSE accommodation! Away from LSE halls there are plenty of privately-rented rooms and houses, all across the city. If that’s something you’d like to do, read on for a few pointers on starting your search.
Where to look
You should start your search online. The most popular website for finding an available room in a house is www.spareroom.co.uk. Others include www.gumtree.com/london/room+to+rent, uk.easyroommate.com and www.roombuddies.co.uk. There are loads more that a quick Google search will give you, but these are the main websites used by students.
These websites will give you details on the specifics of the room, the location of the property, and the current other occupants of the flat/house. It’s worth trying to meet your future housemates before you move in together, to have a sort of mutual interview. If you can’t do this, then a Skype interview might be a good idea! You can then get a better idea of whether your lifestyles will be a good housemate fit.
Once you’ve found a place you like, make sure you read your contract. Find out how long you are committed to the room for, whether bills are included, how much the deposit is, and what you will have to do if you want to leave the property. Unfortunately, London landlords are notorious for bad behaviour, so make sure you know exactly what your rights are from the beginning! Renters Rights London (http://www.rentersrightslondon.org/) are a great resource for what you are entitled to as a renter in London.
London is sooo big, it can be a bit overwhelming to know where you should be living! Students truly live all over the city. As a general rule, price of accommodation is highest in zone 1, with each subsequent zone a little cheaper. The ‘zone’ system in London is primarily used to calculate transport fares, but it also provides a good indicator of distance from LSE and price. You can see the zones in the underground map below, in the white and grey shading.
Transport costs are something to factor into your property search. While you might find an extremely cheap property in zone 3, be aware that the cost of travelling to and from campus every day will be high, and you might actually be financially better off in zone 2! As an LSE student, you are eligible for a student oyster (travel) card. Make sure you get one as this will save you 30% on all London transport! Transport for London (TfL) has a list of student fares here:
In terms of specific areas, Hackney, Shoreditch, Southwark and Camden are all areas with particularly high numbers of students. To know exactly where to go, looking up local attractions, online reviews of areas and speaking to anyone you know who’s been to London is a good place to start. Spareroom has a ‘Where to live wizard’ which can help you too: http://www.spareroom.co.uk/flatshare/where_to_live_wizard.pl
This is by no means a comprehensive outline of where to live in London, but hopefully it will give you a good idea of where to start. Please add your own tips and suggestions below in the comments!
And finally, GOOD LUCK!
Antonia Jennings, a current postgrad at LSE, shares unbiased knowledge of LSE’s postgraduate halls, their characteristics, advantages and disadvantages.
Overview: A modern halls of residence, Butler’s Wharf is made up of 46 self-contained flats, each with their own shared kitchen, living room, bathroom, showers and toilets. In your room you’ll get a personal washbasin, and you will share a flat with five other people (six of you in total).
Why? Price. Butler’s Wharf is the cheapest postgraduate hall, with single rooms starting at £134 a week. Still not that cheap, but what did you expect from living in London? You can also stay at Butler’s Wharf throughout the summer, which is something to consider if you’d like to do a full 12 months in London. Other halls use the summer to house summer schools and conferences.
Why not? If you like your privacy, there is no option to have your own en-suite bathroom at Butler’s Wharf. The room sizes are some of the smallest you’ll get at the LSE, and you’ll have to get the tube (subway/underground for you international students!) to the LSE if you want your journey to be under half an hour. Walking, it’s around 45 minutes from door to door.
Overview: A beautiful old Victorian building, Grosvenor House offers a range of accommodation minutes walk from campus. All the rooms are self-contained, with a private toilet, shower facilities and a mini-kitchen in each. In the middle of central London, Grosvenor House is close to Oxford Street, Coven Garden, Soho and Leister Square.
Why? It’s beautiful, you get your own shower and you can wake up fifteen minutes before your lecture (and pop into some shops along the way!). There are a range of room types and prices, depending on whether you’d like a room to yourself, you’re in a couple or would like to have a roommate. The rooms are comparatively large, but bear in mind you’ve got a mini-kitchen in there with you!
Why not? The location might not be for everyone. You can’t live more centrally in London, and escape from the hustle and bustle of the city is near impossible. You’re also paying a lot for the location too, single studios starting at £266 per week, climbing steeply upwards to one bed flats for couples at £509 per week.
Overview: Lilian Knowles is situated in trendy East London, close to many bars, boutiques and fancy food markets. It’s got a range of room types, with some single studios/one bedroom flats but the majority of rooms grouped into flats very similar to those in Butler’s Wharf. It’s well connected with Liverpool St station having trains that run out of the city every few minutes.
Why? If you are a fan of craft beer and alternative music nights, East London is the place for you. Home to some of the best clubs and bars in London, Shoreditch is a whirlwind of independent record shops, artisan cafes and outrageous hairstyles. It’s a little further from campus than some of the other halls, but you can still walk to the LSE in about 30-40 minutes. The rooms are on the cheaper end of the spectrum too.
Why not? The room sizes vary, a lot. You also can’t really be sure whether you’ll end up with a bigger or smaller room, as price is depends on factors such as location within the building, available natural light, or how close it is to shared facilities. A single room can be as small as 8 square meters, which for £147 a week is around £18 per square meter!
Overview: Located near Borough market (pronounced buh-ruh) on the south side of the Thames, Sidney Webb is a fairly new accommodation that houses flats with between six to eight rooms. The flats share a kitchen/dining room, with each room having a private toilet and shower. It’s one of the biggest LSE has to offer, housing 454 graduate students.
Why? Sidney Webb is a social hall which has many communal events and nights. You have the option of extending your contract through summer here, and are automatically covered for Easter and Christmas vacations. Borough market is a foodie’s paradise, with freshly baked goods, meat and dairy available daily. If you walk quickly, you can get to LSE on foot in under half an hour.
Why not? There’s no option to share a room at Sidney Webb. Also, while the active sociable lifestyle might be fine for some, if you’re less social butterfly and more study mad Sidney Webb might not be for you. Also, while Borough market is full of deliciousness, it’s pretty pricey and can be a horrible unaffordable temptation right on your doorstep!
LSE Students’ Union unequivocally condemns the recent proposals by Home Secretary Theresa May and the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and
Skills, Sajid Javid, to ban foreign students from working in the UK, and forcing them to
leave as soon as they finish their studies.
The majority of our students are
international and we proudly represent over 150 countries on campus. Our Union
stands in solidarity with our international students and we will resist the
government’s proposals together this year.
This is the latest in a long line
of attacks on students’ and migrants’ rights in the UK. The Government has
projected that the number of international students coming to the UK will
increase annually by 6% over the next five years. In the face of the
ruthless attacks to international students’ rights including, but not limited
to: scrapping the post-study work visa; charging for the NHS; introduction of
biometric identity cards; landlord checks and now scrapping the right to work
for further education students, it is unlikely that this will materialise.
LSE’s international fees are
already extortionate, and the lack of job prospects in the UK after attending
university is even more discriminatory and contradicts the main reason why
student’s come to study here. In 2014, the University
College Union made clear that there
was already a drop in international students, and an NUS survey further confirms this as 50.7% of non-EU
students surveyed think that the Government is either not welcoming or not at
all welcoming towards international students. These alarming statistics will
only continue to rise with these proposals which directly threaten the makeup
of our school and our community.
Make sure you join the
international students’ campaign this year to fight with us for equal rights.
Yours, LSESU Sabbatical Officer Team
and LSESU International Students’ OfficerNona, Aysha, Jon, Katie and Damien
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