If you’ve landed on this page you are probably looking for a roof to put above your head. We know that the whole process of finding a place to stay in London can be daunting and stressful, especially if you are new to the city but even those of us who have been here for a few years can find it difficult too. Don’t panic! Below is a list of people,places and services dedicated to supporting you while you look, as well as a list of useful resources
The University of London Housing Service (ULHS)
If you are a SOAS student, as a member of the University of London you have access to the wonderful University of London Housing Service (ULHS). The ULHS is funded by the University of London to provide advise, guidance and support to students looking to live in private rented accommodation.
Their website is full of very useful resources: there is a very useful database of accommodation offers that is updated weekly, a list of letting agents organised by area and a list of private halls of residence (ie halls of residence which are not owned neither by SOAS nor by the University of London). They also have a number of properties available to SOAS and Kings students which they rent directly from the landlords and then sublet to students. For more information about these properties email email@example.com.
Take a look at their comprehensive guide to accommodation in London, which will guide you through the process step by step, from looking for a place right through the end of a tenancy agreement. We strongly advise you take a careful look at it, it does answer most questions you might have and includes links to many other websites where you can find accommodation offers.
SOAS Accommodation Officer
As your Accommodation Officer I will be around to answer any of your concerns, complaints and questions regarding housing and halls as well as offer support and guidance to those looking. Drop me an email and I can see what I can do to help you, or come and see me in the SU Office during the first 3 weeks of term. During Freshers week I will be available at the following times:
Our very own top tips…
If you didn’t make it into halls of residence, don’t despair! There are still plenty of options available and even if the housing market in London is a little crazy at the moment, you will find a place to rent, with a little perseverance.
- Work out a budget: decide how much you can spend per week/per month, and remember to factor in hidden costs like bills and internet, which are often not included in the rent.
- Decide which area you’d prefer to live in: North, South, East, West, all options are open! As long as there is a tube connection, you will always be within 30/40 minutes of travel from SOAS, even if you decide to rent a house in zone 3. Obviously, the further you go from the centre, the cheaper it will be! TOP TIP: Russell Square is the nearest tube stop to SOAS, on the Picadilly Line
- Try and buddy up with other students who are also looking: having a group to look with makes the process easier and less stressful. Smaller groups of 3 or 4 people will work better than big groups of 6 / 7 people, because big properties are harder to come by. If you are starting in September 2012, join the SOAS Accommodation Facebook Page, to meet other people who are looking. Many students advertise rooms on this page throughout the year too.
- Register your details and the type of property you are looking for with as many estate agents as possible: they will usually get back to you as soon as anything matching your criteria comes up on the market. Beware: they don’t work for free! If you sign a contract with them, you’ll usually have to pay handling fees (around £100 per person).
- As well as estate agents, there is another long established techniques that many students adopt to look for housing: find an area that you like, and then go round all the off-licenses and newsagents in the area and ask them whether they know of any property or flat going in the area, or whether their landlord has other properties to rent. Many newsagents and off licenses have been established for so long that they basically work as informal estate agents, it’s always worth a try!
Again, always refer back to the ULHS website for resources, information and advice. If you have any questions, doubt or request for help, please feel free to get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org – or pop down our office, just off the JCR in the Russel Square campus. If you are really desperate for a bed for the night, we are probably gonna be able to help!
University of London Housing Service: http://housing.london.ac.uk/cms/
List of external database of accommodation: http://housing.london.ac.uk/cms/housing-links.html#c269
List of letting agents: http://housing.london.ac.uk/cms/links-to-registered-letting-agents.html
List of private halls of residence: http://housing.london.ac.uk/cms/links-to-registered-private-halls-of-residence.html
Spareroom.co.uk - a very useful website to find flatshares and, as the name suggests, spare rooms!