Finding a Flat in London

Flat hunting in London

So you’re in the market for a flatshare in London, England? I’ve been told that you’ve got roughly a 1 in 6 chance of getting a place that you view. There are way more people looking for rooms than there are rooms to accommodate them! Don’t worry, you’ll find the right fit for you, but not without a little effort!

Here are a few things to keep in mind when you’re looking to join a flatshare in London.

1.  The best place to start is on websites like Spare Room and Gumtree. While I must admit that Gumtree has found me a flat and a job, it is said to have a few scams, so beware! Shop smart. I prefer to use Spare Room, as it’s just for finding places to live. You can create a profile, then contact people trying to rent out rooms based on their profiles. They will usually put up all the  information that you could need, from photos to bill costs to house rules. Make sure you read through everything before you waste your time (and theirs!) seeing a flat you don’t want.

2.  Be on time for your viewing. I can’t say people did this for me when I was the one looking for a replacement, but it does help. If they want to meet each prospective flatmate individually, your coming late could mess up the schedule and hurt your chances to get to know them.

3.  That brings me to my third point: get to know them! Show an interest in these potential new best friends. Ask about their daily routines, the bathroom schedule, and how often they spend in common areas. And ask about their day jobs! With people seeing at least 15 other potential renters, you’re not going to stick out if you act quiet and moody.

4.  Get a full picture of how much living in the flat is going to cost you. Sometimes people put the base rent on the site, sometimes they break it down with bills. These things can add up, sometimes bringing your monthly costs up by 15-20%. If you’re not prepared to pay that, you want to know before you’re locked in to anything. Also ask about paying the deposit, and if it’s being placed in a secure deposit scheme (that’s a good thing). Don’t get caught!

5.  While you do want to make a good impression so that they pick you, make sure you pay attention to them as well. Are these the type of people you hang out with? If not, do you think you could coexist happily? If there are things that drive you crazy the minute you walk in the door, do yourself a favour and back out of the race. Sometimes homeless is better than miserable.

How long did it take you to find a place to live in London? How many places did you have to visit before you secured one?

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