London is a beautiful city with a lot to offer, and this is especially true for students living in the capital. There are few other places in the world where you'll be surrounded by so much excitement and culture. At any time of day, you can find somewhere to explore, something new to learn, and something to titillate your senses. And it's home to some of the finest universities in the world.Sadly, though, London is also home to rogue landlords looking to take advantage of students, especially those who aren't familiar with the city. We've written this blog as a primer for prospective students looking to move to the capital, to help them avoid the pitfalls of finding student accommodation in London.
How to avoid bad student accommodation in London
There are plenty of horror stories about lousy student housing in London. Rooms so small you can barely stand in them, let alone make yourself at home. Definitions of 'studio flat' taken to such ridiculous extremes that your oven, toilet, sofa, and bed are all in the same space - meaning no privacy and no separating the different parts of your day. Issues with property conditions are notorious, too. Patches of dangerous damp and mould that can cause respiratory conditions. Showers and toilets that don't work properly, and landlords who do anything in their power to shift the blame, transfer repair costs to tenants, or even flat-out refuse to acknowledge there's a problem.
And the icing on the cake? The rent for such properties is often exorbitant.Thankfully though, there are a lot of resources and methods of recourse for tenants in London. And while there will always be bad eggs, a lot more attention is being given to stopping rogue landlords and their practices from ruining students' lives.
Your first port of call is the Government's Rogue Landlord Checker. This is an extensive database of landlords who have received one or more fines or prosecutions for violating the law. You can search for your landlord name or the rental property address to see whether there are previous issues to be aware of. The Citizens Advice Bureau also publish extensive advice for students, including outlining your rights, and running through almost every aspect of finding, moving into, living at, and moving out of a student rental property.
What to look for when choosing private accommodation
It's not all bad, by any means. While there are horror stories, the majority of student housing in London is legitimate. There is some truly beautiful accommodation to be found in the capital, thanks to the medley of architectural styles and cultural backdrops throughout the city. So here's what to look for when finding a place to live as a student.
London is a vast city with an extensive and easy-to-use transport network. With tubes, trains, the overground, buses, Boris Bikes and more, you're never at risk of not being able to get where you want to go. And so, deciding where to live comes down to deciding how close you want to be to your university. If you're happy with a 30-40 minute journey to and from uni, you cast a wider net for where to live. If you'd rather live a couple of minutes walk away, then you'll need to look closer to campus.
Condition of the accommodation
As we've said earlier, some landlords try to peddle accommodation that is not fit for purpose. This means that viewings are absolutely essential when moving to the capital. Visiting before moving in means you can identify any issues, discuss them with the landlord, and properly evaluate whether you're happy with the property and the price. We highly recommend viewing with somebody who knows what to look out for. There are plenty of tricks that landlords use to hide issues: A sofa moved in front of a mould patch on a wall, for example.
The surrounding area
London has some incredibly vibrant neighbourhoods, packed with culture, excitement, and things to see. It also has some areas with nightclubs thumping until the early hours of the morning, every single day. In a city this vast and varied, it's essential to have a good grasp of the area you'll be living in. Do you want to be somewhere quiet and cosy, or do you want 24-hour excitement right outside your front door?
Taking the time to answer this question before moving in improves your chances of having a comfortable and enjoyable time in the city.
Value for money
It's no surprise that rents in London are higher than elsewhere in the UK. Housing is in higher demand, and the average income across the capital exceeds other parts of the country Rents vary wildly between areas, though, and it's still possible to get a good deal. We recommend researching average rents in the areas you're planning to live in, and cross-referencing these with the prices you're being offered. You don't want to pay over the odds, but at the same time, if a price looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Finding the right student accommodation in London involves research. It means investing time and effort before you move in, to make sure you don't get caught out. Weighing up the factors above is the best way to find a good deal. You want something where you feel safe, comfortable, and at home. Somewhere you can concentrate when it's time to work and relax when it's time to rest. A good base for your student life in this fantastic city.
Dolphin Square is perfectly positioned for students in London. Our flats and apartments for rent are beautifully furnished, professionally managed, and situated in Pimlico - right in the heart of the city. You'll find excellent transport links, fantastic quality accommodation, and a rich and rewarding local area - all for great value for money. Get in touch with us if you'd like to learn more!