Renting accommodation in the UK
Renting accommodation can be a difficult and frustrating experience. Generally, most international students will be offered accommodation on campus.
However, for those who decide to rent we asked LOOT for some tips on forward planning and advice on how to make the task of finding somewhere to live a lot easier.
The newspaper: LOOT has been in the classified business for many years and has learnt the best method of finding accommodation and what to look out for. In London and many other major cities LOOT is the most popular choice for finding rented accommodation.
LOOT is on-line at loot.com so you can look at what is available before you get here. Loot.com has between 12 and 14,000 properties available and updates every 24 hours, vital to get ahead in rental market. One of the first things you need to check is your visa. You may think that the educational establishment that is sending you over will do all the required paper work, but check as this may not be the case.
There are other documents that it would be a good idea to sort out. You will need references to rent accommodation, including a bank reference, character references, a letter from your college or university confirming that you will be studying with them and for how long, and if possible a reference from a previous landlord and a previous employer.
Before you start looking for houses or rooms it’s a good idea to identify which areas you need to be looking in. The college or university that you are going to study in should be able to give you a list of areas that are close to where you are going to study. They may even have lists of landlords that deal especially with foreign students. This is often the best way to get accommodation, as overseas students very often get the nicest houses.
Other options are that you could phone a few letting agencies or look through a website such as loot.com to give yourself some idea of the types of accommodation and the prices in those areas.
Please don’t be shocked at the rent being charged, especially if you are looking in London.
Barbara Lamb a US student coming over to study in London said: “ I was horrified at the prices. When I went to look at some of the places available they were charging between £300 -£400 and they were complete dumps. You have to be really determined and just keep looking.”
The rental market is extremely fast moving in some areas. It is therefore important to act quickly when answering an ad in LOOT. Rental accommodation may go in a matter of hours, so you need to be prepared and act quickly. It is however not much good looking too far in advance as most landlords and agents will want someone within a month.
Another US student Mike Upchurch when asked what advice he would give students coming to the UK, said: “ You need to get a mobile phone or have lots of change. Get the paper as early as possible and get a good map of the city and a pair of comfortable shoes. Just keep at it until you find somewhere”.
If this sounds like too much hard work, there are ways of reducing the amount of shoe leather you use up. This involves using an agent to find a place to live. They will charge between £80 and £120 for this service. There are two types of property agencies that you can use: letting and accommodation.