Finding Cheap Student Accommodation in London

6th April 2022
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Secured a place at university? Looking for the best London student accommodation?

First, congratulations! London is an amazing place to be a student. Second, be prepared for some work ahead because finding the cheapest student accommodation suitable for human habitation is going to be tougher than you think!

Unless you stay with Sanctuary Students that is.

But this post isn’t about us. It’s about you. We’re here to help you with all aspects of student life.

In this article, we’ll be answering some key questions on student accommodation in London.

We’ll also share some tips and provide the information you need to make the most of your time in the capital.

So, let’s get on with it!

Private landlord, university or student accommodation provider?

First, let’s tackle one of the big questions. Should you rent privately, use a university owned property or use a student accommodation provider like us?

Private landlords offer much more variety in many different locations across London. They will often be located around universities and key areas so can be convenient for getting around.

However, the price and quality of private rented accommodation can vary massively. You wouldn’t keep animals in some we have seen. Others have had marble bathrooms and maid service.

University accommodation is more than just halls. Some universities also own private accommodation blocks you can rent after your first year.

These will be on or close to campus and often within the grounds. They will usually be of a higher quality than private accommodation and you’ll be with other students.

The downside is that they can provide something of an insular life that doesn’t give you the full London experience.

Student accommodation providers like Sanctuary Students are a middle ground. We’re a private landlord that caters specifically to students.

The experience is much like halls, but also has a wider social experience too. Quality is high, rents are low (for London) and you get everything included.

We are also based around campus or by Tube stations.

While we aren’t exactly unbiased, we think we offer the ideal balance of the cheapest student accommodation around with the quality you deserve.

Short-term accommodation vs. long-term let

Short-term accommodation is usually for term time only. Once the term ends, your contract ends and you have to move out.

This is a common occurrence for uni students as it means you’re not paying for accommodation you’re not using during summer.

The downside is all that moving in and out and managing contracts. You’re also not usually guaranteed your room back when you return unless you pay a holding deposit.

Long-term lets are rentals for the entire year. The upside is that you secure the accommodation for a whole year or more, without having to worry about getting the room back after the holiday.

The downside is you’re paying for student accommodation when you’re home for the holidays.

What type of accommodation should I get?

If you’re on the hunt for the best London student accommodation, you need to understand the different types out there.

Shared house or HMO – HMO, House of Multiple Occupancy is a house share in everyday language. You’ll rent a room in a house with others. You’ll usually have a communal lounge, kitchen and bathroom. Those others may be students or non-students.

University halls or accommodation – You’ll likely stay in halls your first year and perhaps your final year. It’s essentially a much larger HMO but with better conditions. You could be sharing it with hundreds of other students, which is good or bad depending on who you are. University accommodation is similar to halls but open to all years.

Private student studios or student rooms – This is what Sanctuary Students provides. It’s a large room all to yourself, often with ensuite. They are within private halls with security, social spaces, internet and all the comforts of home. You will have to do your own washing and ironing though!

Studio apartment or flat – If you have the budget, studio apartments are also useful for students. These are small flats where the bedroom and living room are one and you’ll have a small kitchenette and bathroom. They are private spaces, but you pay higher rents for them.

Where to find cheap accommodation for London students

You’ll find all across London. Ideally, you’ll want to live close to campus so travelling is kept to a minimum.

While transport is excellent and readily available, living close means not missing class when you oversleep or when there’s a Tube strike.

We recommend getting the map out once your place is confirmed. Check the area around your university to see where is close, where Tube stations are, where the bus stops are and what is walkable and what isn’t.

Then hit the internet to check out halls, private student accommodation providers and private landlords in the area.

Then check the Sanctuary Students website. We are confident we’ll offer something better, larger and/or cheaper than what you find elsewhere!

We are also close to many leading universities across London and transport links.

We have buildings in Mile End, E1, Whitechapel, Newington, Kings Cross, WC1 and N16.

Each is within a short distance of some leading universities including The London School of Economics, Queen Mary University, The University of London, University College London, City University of London and many more.

Where to live in London?

Where to live builds on the previous point about living as close to campus as possible. If it isn’t possible, most areas of London are safe for students as long as you take sensible precautions.

Say what you like about London but the public transport is excellent!

The Tube goes everywhere and runs like clockwork. Most universities are close to Tube stations and it’s a cheap, viable way to get around.

Buses are also plentiful and some routes run 24/7 so can get you home after a night out too.

Walking is obviously an option, while cycling is possible but only for the brave!

We would recommend living as close to class as possible, but if you can’t secure a place, it’s nothing to worry about. There is always a way to get around!

When should I book my accommodation?

The short answer is, if you’re looking for the best London student accommodation and find a spot, book it as early as you can.

Competition is fierce regardless of the type of accommodation you’re looking for. Start looking as soon as your place is confirmed and try to book something as soon as you can.

From our own experience, the earlier you can view your student accommodation and secure it, the more likely you are to get it. That’s even more important if you want to stay with friends!