Flats in London

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by rhsgolfer33, Sep 28, 2008.

  1. rhsgolfer33 macrumors 6502a

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    Jan 6, 2006
    #1
    I'm currently an accounting student at a small university in the US. In the next year I will be applying to MS in Accounting programs at about 10 US universities, but I'm thinking about applying for the MSc in Accounting and Finance at London School of Economics as well. I'm hoping to get into LSE's residence halls, but in case I am unable to get a spot there I'd like to determine a little about the cost to live in London for 10 months before I make a decision to apply.

    I've been searching the internet looking at flats in London, they've ranged from about £200 or less for a bed-sit to £1000 for a flat in the city center area (per month). My question is this: where should I be looking for a flat? What are some decent areas? I'm a student, so some nightlife close would be enjoyable (not necessary), access to the Tube is preferable as well. I guess I'd prefer a moderate income area that is fairly safe. I'd like to keep it around £700 (per month) or less for a small studio with en-suite shower and bathroom, and a small hot plate and refrigerator. I know it can be done, I'm just not really sure what neighborhoods or areas are good ones to look into. Any good sites to search for flats on as well?

    Also, what other costs should I expect to incur in the flat renting process? How about Tube cards? What does a TV license cost? How about internet access?

    Thanks for any help!
     
  2. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #2
    Areas can go from bad to good in a matter of a few streets distance, so it's difficult to say for certain without just generalising. I'm not sure where that school or how close you want to be to it. OnOneMap.com is a good place to start, it uses googlemaps and will mark places for rent according to your search criteria.

    You'll almost definitely have to pay for your utilities, which will be considerably higher than anything you've paid in the US, just for a shock warning. Council tax will run you about £120 per month, depending in the size of the flat you rent. TV license is about £130 per year. Your tavel card or Oyster Card will probably be discounted if you are a student, I am not sure what that charge would be but here's a link, have a look around that site for info.

    There's a lot about London that is a pain in the ass but it's a fun city with a lot of quirks. :)
     
  3. iGav macrumors G3

    Joined:
    Mar 9, 2002
    #3
    My suggestions.

    You'll want to try and stay north of the river. ;) Better transport infrastructure for one. More to do too.

    if you must venture southside, the rule of thumb is to try and stick as close to the river as possible, as the quality of life declines, and the possibility of death increases with every further metre you stray... until you reach suburbia, which is terribly dull, and potentially a greater killer of under 40's than Brixton for example. ;) :p

    Seriously, given the current economic conditions, you could do well to lodge with a couple/family, rather than rent on your own. There's a lot of people/couples/families that are struggling at the moment, and if they have a spare room, there appears to be an increasing popularity in getting a lodging in, and procuring additional income to cover the rising costs that way. You should be able to find a room in a house in the general Islington area without much difficulty though.
     
  4. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    Location:
    London
    #4
    This is very true. The old stereotype about taxi drives not venturing south of the river after dark is not for no reason...
     
  5. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #5
    ^ Snobs! :p

    There's a few spots south of the river that are plenty lovely, but because of the spotty transport and random variation in which of those areas are good, I couldn't mention it with any confidence.

    I just have a soft spot for Greenwich, <3 but then that is just barely south of the river. ;)
     
  6. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

    Joined:
    Jul 24, 2002
    Location:
    London
    #6
    The south-east has a few nice bits (Blackheath is also lovely, but Lewisham just beside it is very nasty). More centrally I find that as soon as you stray from the river bank it's pretty nasty. Even the bits lots of people seem to like (Clapham I'm looking at you) are actually pretty crap. Transport is poor. Traffic is immense. Often you are looking at a single train connection that runs every 20-30 minutes to get you anywhere. And that's in zone 2/3...
     
  7. geese macrumors 6502a

    geese

    Joined:
    Oct 23, 2003
    Location:
    London, UK
    #7
    In defence of South East London (and as a resident of New Cross) - it really isnt as bad as people make it out to be. Sure its a bit grimey in places, but there is a good music scene where I live, and its cheap.

    Look at www.moveflat.co.uk for flats and discussion of.
     
  8. Queso macrumors G4

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #8
    The closest Tube stations to the LSE campus are Temple (on the District Line) and Holborn (on the Piccadilly and Central Lines). As such you have a huge area to choose from, even without taking into account that decent areas such as Islington and Bloomsbury are just up the road. If I were you I'd push for a Hall place until you find your feet (avoid the Butlers Wharf one, it's much further out than the others). Failing that go for a short term let somewhere up near the University of London colleges in Bloomsbury, since there are multiple venues run for the students and it's very convenient for Soho, Covent Garden etc. Once you're actually here it's much easier to find what you really want.
     
  9. rhsgolfer33 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #9
    Awesome, thanks so much! I'm hoping that I'll be able to avoid some of the council tax, according to the LSE website full time students can get an exemption. Whether that is actually true or plausible, I haven't the faintest.

    After hearing you guys I will be sure that I'm north of the river. I've only ever visited London for a few days and didn't really make to far South of the river. Thanks for the tip!

    Thats the one great thing about London, the Tube is great (well anything is better than here in California). I'd love to be in Bloomsbury or Islington, it is just somewhat difficult to find studios in my price range, although I'm sure a room in a house could be found.

    I am definetly shooting for the Halls, that is the ideal situation, but it is far from guaranteed. I imagine it will be far easier if I actually make it over there, being able to see the area and the flats will make a difference I'm sure.

    Thank you for all the info guys, it will definitely help me to make a decision to apply and where to live provided I get in. Thanks again! I imagine I should invest in a good umbrella as well, the whether is a little different there than the 10 days of rain a year we get down here in Southern California.
     
  10. JW8725 macrumors 6502a

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    May 8, 2005
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    UK
    #10
    forget London mate, place is a panhole. If you want to study in England look towards the other cities.
     
  11. Iscariot macrumors 68030

    Iscariot

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    Toronteazy
    #11
    I like it.
     
  12. rhsgolfer33 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #12
    Any recommendations would be great.

    The main reason for going to school in London really isn't the city (although I've enjoyed the short time I've spent there). Its more about the school, LSE is one of the best in the world, and has a good reputation with Harvard, Yale, Princeton, etc over here. I would like to eventually move on to a Ph.D. program in the United States after the year long MS, so the school has to have a name that will be easily recognizable by top schools over here in the US. So, I could probably throw Oxford and Cambridge on to the list if they had the Accounting and Finance program, but unfortunately they exclude the Accounting (which will be my "focus" at LSE).
     
  13. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #13
    Ah, don't listen to him. :p London is a pain in the ass and it can get to you at times but overall it's a pretty cool place, very quirky. I like it here. (BTW, I'm a Los Angeles native too, I moved here a couple years ago)
     
  14. mouchoir macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 29, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #14
    Can you go into a bit more detail about why Clapham is crap?

    I live in Clapham North. 5 mins walk from the Northern line tube, 4 mins from overground, which goes to London Bridge in 15 mins. 10 min walk from Brixton tube (Victoria Line). Nice green space in Clapham common, the wonderful Battersea park very close. Absolutely spoilt for restaurants and bars. Two cinemas in walking distance.

    And if you are a student, it seems 90% of people are in their twenties!
     
  15. rhsgolfer33 thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2006
    #15
    It seems like an enjoyable place to live (as far as large cities go). I don't think I'd run out of things to see or do in the 10 months I'd be there, which is what I want. I'm looking for a city that is different from where I grew up and London definitely fits the bill. It will be hard to keep focused with all the museums to see and people to meet. I imagine my weekends will be filled up with Tate and the British Museum (at least they're free!) for a good few weeks.

    What did you find was the largest adjustment going from California to London? And how difficult did you find the Visa process to be? I know it shouldn't be horribly hard for a student, but how about a work visa? If I enjoy it there I might consider spending another year there before continuing on to a Ph.D.


    Any opinions of the Chiswick area? I've been seeing a few studios in there at about £700. I'd really consider renting a room in a house I suppose, it would give me a few more pounds to play with on the weekends. Only thing I'm not to thrilled about is sharing a bathroom (I'm an only child and unfortunately used to having my own).
     
  16. iBlue macrumors Core

    iBlue

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2005
    Location:
    London, England
    #16
    Sounds like you'll get what you want out of it then.

    I think the biggest adjustment, if you can believe it, is in the grocery stores. There's just stuff missing and the familiar things often come in unfamiliar packaging, and the prices are incredible. Then having the cashiers sitting down and having to pack the food yourself. It's just a bit bizarre.

    It's also strange to get used to the idea of not needing a car to get from place to place and having to share your personal space with so many strangers. The tube really quite scared me at first.

    I don't know a lot about the process for a work visa but I am to understand they are a bit more difficult to get, yes. With the way you're going though I imagine it would be slightly easier but I am not sure.
    My visa experience was a bit traumatic but that's a long story. I am married to an Englishman, which is why I'm here. :)
     
  17. Topher15 macrumors 6502a

    Topher15

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    Oct 22, 2007
    Location:
    London
    #17
    If you end up in Islington look at the Upper Street/Angel areas. Bit more expensive but far nicer. Lots of bars and restaurants there and great travel links.

    Wherever you go I'd recommend looking at a flat share with other students. You'll make friends and the bills/rent gets split. £200 p/w rent is a lot easier split three or four ways!

    You could try www.flatshare.com or check our the roommate section on LSE Facebook network.

    Yep... the tube or buses in rush hour is a complete nightmare. Beware. :D :mad:
     
  18. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    Location:
    London
    #18
    Vastly overpriced, over busy and full of pretentious *******s who think they are great.
     
  19. hank-b macrumors member

    hank-b

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #19
    Chiswick's quite a smart area - more 'leafy suburbs' than exciting night life though.

    I did two degrees at two different London colleges. I found the UL housing services people to be pretty helpful, so I'd recommend you get everything out of them that you can. They manage halls of residence and also liaise with private landlords for flats and rooms:

    http://housing.london.ac.uk/cms/

    - HB
     
  20. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #20
    I think you just described the whole of London TBH :D
     
  21. robbieduncan Moderator emeritus

    robbieduncan

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    Location:
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    #21
    There are degrees of it, but yes, I can see that :p
     
  22. Nickygoat macrumors 6502a

    Nickygoat

    Joined:
    Dec 11, 2004
    Location:
    London
    #22
    That's correct. If all the occupants are students then there's no council tax. If one occupant isn't a student then there's a 25% discount.

    If you live alone but aren't a student there's a 25% discount as well.

    Note that there are 33 separate districts in London and they all charge different amounts of council tax, and provide vastly differing levels of service.

    Like the others said - avoid south of the river :p
     
  23. hank-b macrumors member

    hank-b

    Joined:
    Apr 29, 2008
    #23
    Ignore what everyone says about avoiding south of the river - there is life south of the Thames and and it's worth considering as a place to live if you're going to LSE. For example, you could live reasonably cheaply in somewhere like Southwark and be in walking distance of LSE at Aldwych.

    HB
     
  24. Queso macrumors G4

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    Mar 4, 2006
    #24
    Rats and cockroaches mostly :D
     
  25. mouchoir macrumors 6502a

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    Apr 29, 2004
    Location:
    London, UK
    #25
    Looks like we agree on that then. :p

    It also is a pretty nice place to live if you keep an open mind.
     

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