Shared flat or house
This is probably the most popular option among LSE students who stay in private housing. The best way to find this type of accommodation is for two to five friends to locate a vacant flat/house or perhaps join an existing group.
Primarily, because of the number of graduate and international students at LSE it is very common for students to arrive without knowing anybody in London or at LSE. An excellent way to meet potential flatmates is to stay in one of the LSE residences during
September, or to come along to the Private Accommodation Office, which many students will use as a base from which to search for accommodation. However, if you would like to make contact with other students before arriving in London, the notice-board on NetLetLSE is a very effective way to find flatmates. You can also try the 'Find a flatmate' page of the University of London Housing Services website.
Agencies and newspapers advertise a large number of flat and house shares, but there is a good deal of competition for every place that comes on the market. Rents mostly vary between £130 - £140 per person, per week excluding bills.
Studios and bedsits
A studio or bedsit usually denotes one self-contained room in which you eat, study and sleep. A studio will usually have its own private bathroom and kitchen, while they may be shared in a bedsit.
There are usually several bedsitters or studios in a house and the owner may be living on the premises, although studios will sometimes have private entrances and should feel more detached from other residents.
Prices will depend on the size and quality of the room, the area in which it is located and how it is heated. Prices, generally, will start at around £150 for a studio, and £120 for a bedsit, although prices can be much higher, particularly for properties close to LSE.
Room in a family home via homestay
There are advantages to living in a family home. Often the accommodation is situated in a suburban area; and some families provide meals and offer you the use of facilities other than a room of your own. For some, there are the added benefits of a washing machine, television and extra space such as a garden, although living in a family home does require particular consideration for other people's needs and way of life.
Generally, the price of this accommodation is £80 to £150, sometimes with meals included. These prices typically include heating and other bills. Occasionally, there are offers of housing at a lower rent in exchange for services such as helping in the house and/or collecting the children from school. Although this can be a convenient arrangement, be sure that you have time to spare before you commit yourself.
The University of London Housing Services specialises in this type of accommodation so check there first. HFS London is a British Council registered homestay organisation, for further information please visit hfslondon.com.
Independent halls and hostels
There are many private hostels/halls in London which are run by a variety of organisations and charities. Costs tend to vary greatly according to location, size and facilities offered. Hostels in particular have few single rooms and you should expect to share at least initially.
To give a rough idea, you should expect to pay, at least, £70 per week, although for newer residences in more desirable neighbourhoods, £120 to £200 is usual. It is worth bearing in mind that private residences which are run as a business (not as a charity) are a more expensive housing option.
When you are making enquiries, you should ask whether an increase is proposed (and when); whether the charge includes electricity, heating, lighting, meals, baths and VAT; and whether there are any extras you will be asked to pay for. Some hostels/halls charge less after your first four weeks as a resident because VAT is only payable for the first four weeks. If the hostel/hall has non-student residents you should check to see whether you will have to pay some council tax as well.
For some of these hostels/halls you will need to complete an application form and/or attend an interview so contact them well in advance of your arrival in London to find out their acceptance procedure and booking details.