London and Accommodation Dilemma

The single most painful thing in the butt for first timers (or maybe even londoners themselves) who decided to pack their bags and live in London is finding a suitable accommodation to rest those feet. Not that there isn't a lot on offer on the market. Talk about London, there's massive! But what concerns most of us are their ridiculous rental per week and our limited budget from our sponsor.

Big Ben at night captured in 2008

1 bedroom in zone 1 on average cost about £300 pw and believe me it can go as high as the eye can reach the horizon (Maybe even more! Pfftt). Not to mention for those of us who do not have guarantors have to break our piggy bank to fork out on 6 months deposits. I'd go mental. My sister used to spend most of her time finding a 2 bedroom apartment for 3 months she couldn't find any until today. So in the end she settled for a flat share with a local.

When I first arrived in London to do my Master degree it was 4 years ago. I was under a scholarship of £550 permonth and my hall of residence cost me £500 permonth just for a tiny ensuite room. It wasn't until the COLA increased a few months after that I was able to breathe and eat properly. And happily, my dad stop growing white hair.

Compare to my old apartment room back home, a hamster couldn't even have a partner in that same room.

Dad said "don't compare between 2 countries, learn to take things as it is and you'll will love it".

But that's the thing though, this case is only applicable to London. Outside London, it's like a whole different world all together. My friend in Holloway got a huge double bed room with enough space to fit 20 extra people in it. And the rent was 2 times lower. I blamed her for not hosting a raya event every year.

Love my housemates 2009

Ahhh...but in my case, what's not to love about London. The city, the events, the opportunity to obtain anything, the knowledges, the night life, the diversity and ohhhh the SHOPPING! The city I've lived in that has defined me to date. The city that has changed me in every possible way.

The city that teaches me to love my religion and my creator even more today. The city with no boundaries. I could go on forever. When I arrived here I'm merely naive, meet new friends, had fun, found love, graduated, traveled, learn a lot, met a handsome man who is my husband today and with anticipation is waiting for my first new born baby boy!!. Alhamdulillah. My mom is over the moon on becoming a Grandmama. I just couldn't understand.

I learn more here than I've learn anywhere in the world that I've traveled and lived in.

So here's a few tips on finding an accommodation for those who decided to join in the wagon.

1. Nag your future university accommodation helpdesk. Tell them your budget and all the details you're looking for. They are a great help! The official Uni accom may cost a fortune but they have dozens of affiliates under their roof that they can suggest you with that cost less than £700.

2. If you have a guarantor that's brilliant, otherwise be ready to cry a river and parted with 6 months deposits.

3. There's vast amount of websites to find accom like Gumtree, Findaproperty, Zoopla etc. But beware of scams! Don't believe something that is too good to be true. Someone who says they are out of town and trying to find somebody to take care of their apartment hence a payment through western union. Rent are cheaper it you deal directly with landlord rather than an agent.

4. Share a flat with the locals instead and meet new friends. Websites are the like in No. 3.

5. International students accommodation are everywhere around London like Londonmet, studenthousing, unitestudent etc. Try contacting them.

Final thing, if you have unlimited amount of funding, then forget about this post and go get yourself a nice apartment in the heart of London.

For us, once you've found a home for your next few years, you'll get over the hardship pretty easily and learn to love this city.

Good Luck!!


Lydiarahayu85 said...

thank you for sharing hana =)
 gonna be useful one day for me if suddenly dapat rezeki sambung study ke sana ;-)
 (mudah-mudahan...  =p )

Aiman Ariffin said...

For days I've been stressing myself out on how to find accommodation in London for my sister. This post of yours definitely is a JACKPOT! Do know that you've been such a great help for a dodo, noob, clueless person like myself lol Love to read your writing and hope you'll write more! :-)

just azura said...

ya, very good info, thanks hana. and  i doakan u success selalu.. hugs.

teringin nak sambung my phd there. :)

Ayu said...

Ahh, thanx for this post. Im going mental here trying to find a studio apartment for 2 (hub is tagging along), and my study will start early Oct. I feel like time is running out. Anyway, thank you thank you & thank you! : )

hanafedora said...

Thanks Aiman!! Hope u'll find ur kid sister a place soon

hanafedora said...


hanafedora said...

Good luck in finding a studio! I'm sure you'll find one.

Dy said...

Assalamualaikum. Thanks Hana for the useful tips and insight info. I'm sure it's very helpful for potential students. On the other hand, I was just wondering if you could also help with some good / useful tips on living in London (house/apartment hunting, cost of living, expenditures and all) for people who are trying to find a job in London. I love the city whenever I go down and visit. But with all the stories of survival (mainly ££$€££ wise!) it held me back a bit. Scared that I can't 'breathe' properly if I move and work in London. Thank you xxx

hanafedora said...

Wasalam, sure just email me and I'll try and help you. But let me give u the heads up and scare u first...haha u need at least £1200 permonth to survive in London. Honestly, not the best time to find a job here. They'll only take locals and you're gonna have a hard time. Most of my friend end up jobless n returning to msia after 2 years of finding a suitable job. Blame the economy crisis.

nurhidayah omar said...

salam, hai hana
i'm hidayah. still remember me? we met during the btn @ ulu sepri year 2007 kot if i'm not mistaken. what r u doing now? really miss u dear. 

Izzat Fahimuddin said...

Salam Hana, thanks a lot for your posting. I would like to ask you several questions and opinions.
I will continue my further in London this Autumn, and I am now searching accommodation for my 3 years future living in London. My budget will be 700 pcm including utilities and bills and it is ok if the property located area zone 2 or 3. (My uni will be King's and it is ok if distance from my house and uni around 30 mins). Do you have any ideas when and how should i find it? Plus, i am prefer living by myself because I am not confident to live with strangers ( please do not think bad about it, it just that i just do no want create problems with my future housemates). Thanks alot

hanafedora said...

Even if you're staying in a uni accommodation, it is still on your own. Kings have a few accommodation offer for students, email them or simply check their website. And I think it's best if you're here then it's easy for you to find a single studio or room if you want to stay in a private accom rather than a uni accom...