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Your journey to success in the Great Britain

Cheap accommodation in London

99% of my clients in London first try living in a share house. Share houses are typically detached houses, where you can find two- or three-bedded rooms and common spaces (a bathroom, kitchen, garden, living room, etc.) that you share with other tenants.

Rooms are commonly two- or three-bedded. Single rooms are only exceptional. You can find the accommodation contacting the agencies that often provide this type of accommodation, or it is also possible to contact private owners, who offers there services directly.

It is common that the house is all rented (bought) by the agency and the rest of tenants came to the UK to work the same as you. Some share houses are mixed having Czechs, Slovaks and foreigners too. Sometimes, these are only Czechs and Slovaks living in the house provided by Czech or Slovak agency.

It is quite similar with the private owners. From time to time, you can find people who are living in the house with their family and letting out only one or two rooms. Others have two or three houses, where they offer rooms for rent

12 points, before you pay the first rent

  1. In most cases, you pay the rent for four weeks (28 days, not the whole month). At the beginning, it is worth finding out for how long the rent is paid, a month or four weeks – a month/four weeks. This way, you can avoid unnecessary fees for overdue rents.
  2. It is common that that the bill usually includes fees for utilities (water, gas, electricity, council tax). Internet is sometimes included and sometimes it is not – you need to ask.
  3. In exceptional cases, there are also other services included in the price:
    1. Weekly or monthly cleaning (rarely).
    2. Reimbursement of detergents (e.g. £10 per month and house)
    3. Blanket, pillow and bed linen (however, this service might be charged at the end of your stay from the deposit, the so-called non-refundable part of the deposit)
  4. Notice period lasts from 10 days (majority of agencies) up to a month (private owners). In some cases, you sign up for a period of half a year (if you rent your own house or flat).
    Make sure you know when and how you can give the notice. For example, if you wanted to leave after the first day and you had another person instead of you, would that be possible?
  5. Most landlords do not return the first rent (if you decide to leave after a week, or decide that you move to another place or simply move out, you can probably only get your deposit back).
    Sometimes, you don’t even have to get the whole of deposit back. For example, in case of giving the notice at the end of the third week. In such a situation, you pay for another week of the stay, as it is included in your two-week-long notice period.
  6. In contrast to the Czech Republic, where you pay for the following month in the middle of the renting period, in the UK it is common to pay on the last day of your renting period (or just a few days before), if not agreed otherwise. Nevertheless, if the rent is not settled, you risk paying a fee for overdue payment that is charged for every new night.
  7. After the first rental period, it is usually possible to send the rent in weekly payments. Be aware that the amount is often not the same as you paid at once. The weekly payments tend to be from 10 to 15 pounds more expensive. Therefore, paying in weekly instalments means to pay from £40 to 60 more each month.
  8. Deposit or the so-called CHECK-IN fee. You pay it at the arrival. The prices differ from £100 to 200, or half of the monthly rent (occasionally, it could be the whole of monthly rent). The deposit is normally refundable, on certain conditions (such as early notice period, no damage, no anti-social behaviour, no violations of the accommodation rules, etc.).
    However, in some cases parts are still charged (from 40 % to 70 % of the amount). Some landlords include the bed linen that you get for free at the beginning, or detergents, etc.
    Finally, in rare cases all of the deposit could be charged as the so-called ‘amortisation’, meaning:
    1. The deposit goes to maintenance of the house.
    2. The deposit includes fees to owner or agency that is renting the house.
    3. Empty-days during the winter period are covered from the deposit. The owner still has to pay for the house that is usually half-empty .
    4. Unexpected expenses that must be paid by the owner (refurbishment, etc.)
    Make sure that you know, if the deposit/CHECK-IN fee is paid back fully or only partly and on what cause.
  9. Equipment of the room and house:
    1. In your room, there is a bed (or a bunk bed), a wardrobe and shelves for stuff
    2. In the kitchen, there tends to be a microwave oven, a toaster, a kettle, an over, a washing machine, a fridge (if more than 8 people usually two fridges, even if this is not a general rule), dishes (pots, cutlery, a chopping board, pans, etc.)
    3. Moreover, in the house there should be a dining table, chairs, an ironing board, an iron, etc.
    4. Other gadgets, such as coffee makers, ice makers or others go above the standard and it is up to the owner, if he or she would provide them.
  10. Repairs:
    1. Usually, the owner has some kind of trick in the agreement that he is not restricted by the time to realise the repairs of the house. It is due to the reason, when something goes wrong (e.g. broken boiler, leaking shower, broken washing machine, Internet out of order, etc.), the owner must have enough time to call the maintenance.
      It is in the interest of every landlord to conduct all repairs over reasonable time period.
      Not every damage requires a discount from the rent. Every piece of equipment has its own expiry date. Therefore, for example if a washing machine is used every day, sooner or later it gets broken. The same goes for oven and other gadgets.
    2. It is important to report all damages and problems, even first signs of them, via email adding pictures. After that, you can be sure that you reported the issue correctly and you have a proof for potential rent discount, in case of long problems.
  11. Insect and others:
    One of the biggest nightmares of both landlords and their clients. As soon as there is a risk, it is essential to immediately inform the lesser to start solving the problem from the day 1. There are three groups of problems:
    1. Bedbugs:
      The appearance of bedbugs is not connected to the hygiene of the affected house. Bedbugs can appear in all types of accommodation from the cheapest to the most expensive hotels, houses of all social classes . Unfortunately, it is possible to bring bedbugs from anywhere – holidays, trips, Underground, taxi, bus, train, plane or from unexpected visitors. It is sufficient to have a single bedbug at yours and you can easily spread the infection all around the house in a minute.

      Disinfestation of a room might cost from £40 up to 70 and for a house of four rooms up to £300.
      If the house was not affected before, be aware that you might be asked to financially contribute to solving of the situation. For example, in case of having bedbugs in your room that was not affected before, the owner might ask you to cover the disinfestation process on your behalf.
    2. Cockroaches, clothes moth or similar:
      This kind of problem usually emerges in the kitchen or similar places with food around. It is best to prevent the situation by washing the dishes and not leaving the food in the kitchen (resp. rooms) for the insect.
      It is not cheap to get rid of the bugs and you might be asked to contribute as well.
    3. Rats:
      A common problem of share houses. As in the case of bugs, rats are often close to food and people.
      It is good not to leave food debris around the house, the dining hall, rooms, etc.
      If a problem comes, the owner commonly covers the traps or other tools to get rid of the rats.
      In case of bigger problem, it is the lesser who helps with solving the problem and providing special services. I am saying “help”, as it is usually the owner who gives a contact to a professional deratisator, but the tenants themselves must pay for the service.
      The price goes from £50 to 150, depending on the number of rooms.
  12. Agreements:
    All the above-stated facts (and many others) should be included in the contract. Before, you sign the agreement, you must read it carefully and ask about anything that comes to your mind or is not completely clear. The rent is expensive and you need to make sure that you understand everything well.

Prices of accommodation

There are not tariffs and the prices differ a lot

The price depends on the zone, where the housing is located, distance from the Underground or bus, number of people in the house, destination (centre, periphery, east or west), etc. What is more, every landlord has his/her own price.

Agencies and majority of the private owners

  1. Prices for two- and three-bedded rooms are the same for the first month.
    They oscillate between £300 – 350 per person in a room.
    For two people, it is between £600 – 700 per month.
  2. The prices for single room start from £400.
  3. After the first month, the prices might go down (especially in the three-bedded rooms), but ask about that! It is too much to pay £300 for a bed in such a room for all the time of your stay.
  4. The deposit or check-in fee tends to be between £100 and 180, up to £70 non-refundable. Ask in advance not to be surprised.
    If there is a part, which is not refundable, make sure you know why and what services are you getting for it.
    Sometimes, the deposit (check-in fee) makes up to a half of the monthly rent.
  5. The agencies often provide bed linen (blanket, pillow and sheet) and you can make use of the press in the office for free. This goes at the expense of part of the deposit (resp. CHECK-IN fee). For a pair of two people, you are sometimes given two pillows and only one big blanket. Don’t be afraid to say that you would like two blankets.
  6. From time to time, you are offered a blanket and pillow simply for too much (going up to £60). If it is not included in the rent or not automatically provided (agencies), my clients are always informed about that. In that kind of situation, I recommend to take your own bed linen (cover for blanket, pillow and bed sheet), it is not heavy and you could save money on that (it is often more expensive than the actual blanket and pillow). As far as blankets and pillows are concerned, there are usually present in the house after previous tenants, in good condition. Therefore, it is enough to take these.

    If you insist on having your own, you must buy it yourself for around £7 – 10 in one of the bellow mentioned shops:
    • Wilko
    • Primark
    • You can just fill in the postcode and the browser shows you the closest location, including the opening hours.

Average expenses during the first month

Two- and three-bedded rooms:
£500 per person for 4 weeks and a place in a room
£300 – 350 rent and £100 – 150 of the deposit.

Single bed room:
£600 – 700 per room
£400 – 550 rent and £200 – 275 of the deposit (two weeks).

Over the years, I have collected a list of contacts that I have been using to accommodate my clients, if I have no free rooms myself, or with my colleague.

I have a big advantage at dealing with the agencies that do not return part of the deposit, or at private owners who often have higher arrival costs. I am often successful at negotiating discounts for my clients.

I dare to claim that I have so many clients that it is beneficial for the agencies to negotiate with me, rather than a single client on his or he own. It is the same effect as if an individual wanted to get a discount for electricity. It is hard to work on your own, but as part of a big group you are able to negotiate and achieve something. It pays off to have more people for less money, than the other way around.

Selecting photos from several houses and flats

In case of any questions or interests, please do not hesitate to let me know at contact me.