UK ARRIVAL GUIDE | Finding accommodation on your own can be daunting and complicated but you can simplify your search by listening to some of our advice.
With so much flux, your experience of London will be greatly enhanced by finding a comfortable digs – it can be your still point or party central, depending on your needs.
Chiefly a British term: to sleep or bed down in a convenient place. If you are staying with a friend or sleeping on their couch you will be known as a ‘dosser’. You’ll have to be flexible as your bedroom is also the TV room, dining room and party room! Dossers have no rights in the house and they usually pay a small daily amount as thanks. Make sure you do your bit to help out and try not to overstay your welcome.
If you don’t mind sharing, staying in a hostel is the most flexible accommodation and there is a great social atmosphere. There are hundreds of hostels in London ranging in style and price: usually about £15 to £25 per night for a dorm room and cheaper if you ask for weekly rates. Hostels are also great in-betweeners once you’ve packed up your flat or when you’ve just arrived back from travelling and need a place to lay your head.
Long-term renting is the best value for money if you are planning to stay in the UK for a while. Be patient as flat hunting can be time consuming, although using the Internet can make it easier. Many people still advertise in the classifieds of free traveller publications, so pick them up or purchase a LOOT paper from a newsagent. You get many different types of rentals, these include:
- House/flatshares:This is the most popular option for travellers living in London. You can either reply to an advert for a room in an existing houseshare or get a few people together and find a vacant house or flat. Depending on size and location, rooms range from £300 to £500 per month. Couples or doubles should expect to pay a little more for the room. You’ll usually need to pay a deposit (bond) to the value of four to six weeks rent as well as four weeks rent in advance, and most rental agreements run for either six or 12 months.Before you sign the lease agreement, read it thoroughly and be sure of what bills are excluded. Never hand over your passport as security for your bond. If you are asked to do so, refuse and be wary of dealing with this person or company. Several companies offer antipodean accommodation in quality houses in various areas of London at very affordable rates.
- Bedsits: These are semi-self-contained rooms with a small kitchen and communal bathroom. Depending on the location they range from £85 to £250 per week.
- Studios: These are totally self-contained with a kitchen and bathroom. They are perfect if you like your privacy, but can be expensive at over £100 per week