Where to Stay When you First Arrive in London

Finding a place to live in London is not easy! We recommend considering short-term accommodation, as this way you can avoid committing to a year in a room only to find out that your commute is 2 hours long or the rent is more than you can afford!

Finding accommodation is one of the main challenges you will have to succeed at before you feel properly settled here in the UK. In fact, it is likely the most difficult simply because there are so many options to consider; who, what, where etc!

What we recommend at BritBound is that you start with something we call ‘Bridging the Gap’ accommodation. This is essentially anything that 'bridges the gap' between a couple nights in a hotel / hostel and signing a longer term lease. It could come in the form of:

  • Sublet - this is typically where you would rent a room from someone whilst they are on holiday or away for a few months.
  • Longer-term Air BnB (month long arrangements)
  • Short-term leases - this would be where you find an agency or landlord who offers accommodation with a shorter minimum term, say one, two or three month leases. Also one where you can rent month to month, so you are not tied into a long term arrangement.

Doing this will give you time to understand the layout of your new city, decide on the areas you would like to live, time to meet people to potentially live with and most important of all, time to work out what you can afford based on the job you are doing.

Why Bridging the Gap?

What you want to avoid is making a rash decision. There are sadly many scams in the area of accommodation, particularly in the form of unscrupulous people taking advantage of your trust and inexperience. This is on top of the regular challenges inherent in flat hunting like finding the right neighbourhood, room and flatmates!

While the default option when you first arrive is to organise a week or so in a hostel or Air BnB, there is also another option to consider! We work with a couple of accommodation partners that offer short-term leases which allow you to commit to 1, 2, 3 or more months. These give you the time to get to know the city, figure out where you’re going to be working as well as really take the time to find the right neighbourhood for you. Essentially it will remove the pressure, allowing you to go to interviews and not be living out of your suitcase!

Organising Pre-Arrival

Securing a room before you leave is a great option for anyone who doesn't like the idea of staying in a hostel and it also removes the immediate pressure of having to find a place to live. So definitely the way to go if you can do it! Whilst it’s a good idea to arrange something before you leave, be aware that there are many dishonest individuals and listings out there. We’re writing about partners we’ve worked with for many years so you don’t have to worry about them being scams. But if you opt for a different option, just be cautious, very cautious!

Many of the accommodation listings you'll see will be fairly basic. It's important to note that basic accommodation here may be very different to what you would define 'basic' to be back home. The average rental property in London is at least 50 years old and often older!

We have a couple partners we recommend (and we have known for many years) – that specialise in short term leases. You rent a room in a shared house – so private room with shared kitchen and bathroom - and you can often choose between singles, doubles and twins. Their rates are fully inclusive of all bills (including wifi) so you don't have to worry about figuring out pesky things like council tax and TV licences. Allowing you to then make a more informed decision about where you want to live and with whom.

Common FAQs

  • Can I stay longer? - Absolutely! You can extend the lease for as long as you would like to stay.
  • How many people do I live with? - This is entirely dependent upon the property but it is rarely less than 3 or more than 8.
  • Are the rooms furnished? - Yes! All furniture, cutlery and crockery is provided. Some will provide bed linen and others will not. You will not want to bring this over with you so just leave a bit of room in your budget.
  • What is included in the rent? - All bills - council tax, electric, gas, water, tv and tv licence and the internet.
  • Are there fees for using these companies? - No, there are no fees or hidden charges.
  • Do I need to pay a deposit - Yes, a deposit of the equivalent of 1 months rent is required.
  • Can I arrange a taxi from the airport to the property? - BritBound can organise you an airport transfer direct from the airport to the property.
  • Will I be able to use this address for my UK Bank Account and National Insurance Number? - You can opt to do this if you like. However if you are only intending to stay there in the short term you might be better off to opt to use our secure address so as not to miss any important mail correspondence in the future.
  • Do they rent to couples? - Yes, make sure to mention you're looking as a couple when you send your enquiry