Moving to London is a big deal and a monumental moment in a person’s life. But one thing that comes with the move is finding accommodation, which is one of the most frustrating aspects of living in London. Today, we’ll show you everything you need to know about finding housing in London.

This article is brought to you by Spotahome. Spotahome is an online rental platform, focusing on providing mid to long-term housing. What makes them unique is their approach to finding accommodation from the comfort of your home - they do the visit for you, answer your questions, and film every part of the process!


Spotahome’s quick flat hunting tips:

  • Act fast - don’t wait too long after you find your right place as it might be rented out before you make your first move.
  • What kind of heating does the flat have? Is wi-fi installed? What kind of property is it? What appliances are available? - check the details!
  • Not all apartments are pet-friendly - always use the correct search filter.
  • Do a thorough research of the area and its transportation access before you move in.
  • “Save, save, save.” - advice from London’s own residents.


Flatshare vs living alone: Which one’s right for you?

  • Living in a flatshare

The number of flatshares in London is rising every single year. In fact, it’s often easier to rent a room than it is to rent an apartment.

Living in a flatshare allows you to meet new friends, enjoy a much cheaper rent, and being constantly surrounded by people. You’ll also most likely have a lower security deposit, and bills are often included in your rental contract.

There are also some disadvantages to flat sharing such as not knowing who you'll end up living with, having less privacy and more noise, and often dealing with too many flatmates.

Spotahome tip: Living with strangers might seem scary. Host a get-to-know dinner with your new flatmates during your first week!

  • Living alone

Living alone in London is a perfect choice for those who have a good number of friends in the city or have enough outside social circles, and the budget to do so.

The most significant advantage of living alone is having your own space and your own peace and quiet, which is extremely helpful for older professionals. On the other hand, you’ll be responsible for all your bills, including council tax. Your rent will likely be higher, which also means a higher security deposit.

Of course, deciding where you’ll live all depends on your personal needs, lifestyle needs and your budget, so make sure you take everything into consideration before making your final decision.

Spotahome tip: You can lower your bills by choosing an area with a low council tax fee. Click here for an interactive map on council tax prices in the UK.


A young female adult sitting on a chair with her legs crossed. She is smiling to the camera and wearing a denim jacket, loose trousers and converse


Where to live in London?

London has 32 combined administrative neighbourhoods, also known as boroughs. Each borough has its own council, appointed to work directly with its residents.

Here’s what you need to take into consideration when choosing your London neighbourhood:

  • Safety

When you’re moving to London for the first time, being safe is a crucial factor. Metropolitan Police has updated data on crime statistics on each London borough and their safety levels. Of course, no borough is perfect, and your decision shouldn’t be based solely on the crime rate.

  • Community

Who doesn’t want a tight community of friendly neighbours? Before you make your decision, make sure you do your research on the area you’ll live in. The majority of London boroughs come with their own website and a section dedicated to the community. Volunteering, societies, clubs, and social events are all essential factors to consider when choosing where to live.

Spotahome tip: For more information about your borough and its official website, check out the London Government Directory.


Affordability and commute to your workplace

London consists of nine zones, managed by Transport of London. This includes London Underground, National Rail, London Overground, and all other transportation services used and owned by the city. While living in zone 1 is complete luxury and ideal if you’re looking to spend less money on transportation, it also means your rent might be more expensive. Living in zone 9 might mean that your commute to your workplace will be significantly longer, but you’ll make up for it by having cheaper rent.

Spotahome tip: Before you secure your dream flat, check your nearest transportation services and calculate the cost of your monthly Oyster card - its price will vary depending on the zone you live in and the location of your daily commute.


Documents you’ll need to secure your accommodation

After you’ve selected your future accommodation and made contact through an agency or a renting website such as Spotahome, you’ll need to prepare a few documents. Here’s what you’ll likely be asked to provide before sign your rental contract:

  • UK bank account details
  • Passport or another form of identification
  • Information about your guarantor (only applies to students and expats who are unable to pay an upfront rental fee)
  • Proof of employment and earnings or proof of enrolment at university
  • References (optional)

We wish you the very best of luck with your move, and we’ll see you in the big smoke!

Guest post by Mandy Lutman, Spotahome blogger

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