The London rental game is a competitive minefield, but if you dedicate some time, you’ll be able to find a flat (especially as an Aussie or a Kiwi). If you’re just moving to London as a single person, your best option is finding a room in an existing flatshare. London flatshares typically come furnished, and if you move into a room of a flat with people who’ve been living there for a while, you won’t have to worry about anything except making your own bed.
The best site to find a room in London is Spareroom. You can search by location, size, gender of flatmates, etc. There are heaps of properties to look through, so you definitely want to narrow down by your preferences, and keep an eye on the site every few days for new listings.
If you’re Aussie or Kiwi, you will also want to join the Facebook groups – Aussies in London and Kiwis in London. Whether you’re from Australia or New Zealand you should join both groups, as they’re both useful resources. People will often post ads for spare rooms there, so if you’re hunting for an Aussie/Kiwi house that’ll truly make you feel at home, look no further.
Which areas are best to live in in London?
London is really well connected because of the tubes, but it’s also a massive city and takes time to get anywhere, so you’ll want to think about where you’re living. My advice would be to find a flat within 15 minutes walk of one tube station, or if possible two different tube stations. You’ll enjoy London a lot more if you can get around easily. If not, you’ll find you turn down invitations to late night events more because you’ll be worried about getting home.
Try to find a flat on the Central, Northern, Victoria or Jubilee lines, as these are (kinda) reliable, quick main arterial tube lines, and offer night tube services. I’d also advise you to try to find a flat within Zone 2 of London. If you go out further to Zone 3 you’ll find cheaper properties, but because you’re further out it’ll be a longer (and more expensive) trip home every day.
I lived in Shepherd’s Bush, so I’ve got a bit of a soft spot for it. Well connected on the Central Line and Hammersmith and City Line, you can get into Central London quickly, you’re right near Westfield for all you shopping fiends. Notting Hill is right around the corner for your Saturday morning wanderings. If you’re looking for cheaper flats, head to Acton. The downside of West London is it’s not well connected to London’s nightlife.
You’ll find bucketloads of Aussies in Clapham. Right next to Brixton, it’s perfect if you’re a bit of a party animal. There’s also gorgeous streets around here, full of cute cafes and brunch spots, and a lovely park. However Clapham is not very well connected to central London, and Southern Rail is notoriously bad.
The gritty, wild and artistic Londoners head to Camden to find a flatshare, so if you’d fit in with their edgy style, find a flat at Camden. You’ll have great nightlife on your doorstep, and good connections into central London, with Kings Cross right on your doorstep.
If the hipster area of Shoreditch takes your fancy, or if you’re planning to join the wanker bankers and work in the City, you’ll want to find a flat on the central line in East London. You’ll have the best restaurants and bars on your doorstep, so you can roll from your fancy high rise office to the Queen of Hoxton bar every Thursday.
When you find a flat on Facebook or Spareroom that you love, message the ad poster with a brief paragraph describing what kind of flatmate you are. This person wants to find a cool person to live with, so show them that you’re interesting and fun. Let them know what you expect from the flat – whether you’re a neat freak or you don’t care, and whether you hate parties or plan to host one every weekend.
If the ad poster gets back to you, organise a viewing as soon as you possibly can. If you’re searching for a flat, you’ll want to keep your evenings free so you can see one or two flats after work. If you view a flat and you like it and you get along with the flatmates currently there, tell them straight away that you want it. They’re probably interviewing a few people, so it’s important to express that you’re ready to take it on the spot.
How much should you be paying for a flat in London?
London is notoriously expensive. I’m guessing you didn’t move to London to save money. Expect to spend a very large chunk of your pay cheque on rent every month – more than you would in other countries. Most young people in a share flat in Zone 2 of London probably pay about 500 – 700 pounds per month, not including bills. Luckily, most flats come with furniture, so you shouldn’t have to buy anything except your bedding, stuff for the kitchen, and maybe a TV (if your new flatmates don’t already have one).
Have any questions about moving to London or finding a flat? Write a comment and I’ll be able to help with your question!
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