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It is important to arrange accommodation in advance of arriving in London and various options for this are available to you. A good place to start your accommodation search is by viewing Imperial College's Accommodation webpages, which offer information on both short and long stay accommodation. You may also wish to take a look at the visitors' accommodation on offer.
Deciding Where to Live
London has a good public transport network, and more details of this can be found in the College's Living in London webpages. A good place to start when searching for accommodation is by identifying areas which will be easily accessible from your place of work. The Transport for London website provides a variety of transport maps and help with planning journeys.
Living in Central London
London has evolved from many small villages joining together as the city spread outwards, and this is evident when choosing an area to live. The Visit London website has a comprehensive guide to London’s ‘villages’. Different areas of the city have their own ‘centre’ and character, which is enhanced by the many different cultures present in the city.
Living in London is another useful website when choosing an area of London to live in, which gives advice on the character of each area of London. You may also wish to view the UpMyStreet website for information on the local neighbourhood in which you are considering living.
Commuting from Outside of Central London
If you wish to live outside of London and commute in via train, we would recommend visiting the ‘Commute From’ website, which allows you to search for areas to live based on length of commute, and then gives the average house price in each area, as well as details of local schools, crime rates, and links to local estate agents.
Living in the suburbs
You may want to consider living outside of central London in the suburbs. To find out more about our villages, towns and small cities which are a commute to the capital, take a look at the Countryfile and Moving to London websites to find out a bit more about our suburbs.
Renting a Property
The College’s Accommodation Office maintains a database with information on estate agents and available properties. There are also plenty of online search engines for finding private rental accommodation in the UK. If you are looking for a flat or flat-share, Gumtree is one of the most commonly used websites in London.
You could try the website of the National Association of Estate Agents, which allows you to search for property type and price within a particular area. If you do not want to rent through an agency, you could search the local papers for housing advertisements and rent directly from the owner.
The following table shows some commonly used terminology, with the cheapest options listed first.
Commonly used terminology
|Type of accommodation||Description|
|House/flat share||You will have your own bedroom, but other facilities may be shared (e.g. living room, kitchen, or bathroom).|
|Bedsit||The bedroom and living room are combined. The cooking facilities will either be within the room, or may be shared with others. Often has a shared bathroom.|
|Studio flat||The bedroom and living room are combined. The kitchen may be in a separate room. Should be self-contained (no shared facilities).|
|Flat/apartment||Self contained, with a separate living room and at least one bedroom. Usually on one level and part of a larger building.|
|Maisonette||Apartment/flat on two levels with internal stairs.|
|Bungalow||House with only one level.|
|Terraced house||A property which forms part of a connected row of houses|
|Semi-detached house||House sharing one wall with another house.|
|Detached house||House standing alone.|
Buying a Property
The DirectGov website has useful information for people who want to rent accommodation, including information on the different types of landlord and tenancy agreements, and advice on what to do if you have a problem with your landlord.
If you will be staying in the UK for a substantial period of time, you may wish to consider buying a property, although it is advisable to live in and research an area for a period of time before you buy. Buying a property in the UK can be a complex procedure and there are a number of one off costs and cost of living expenses that you will have to take into account when buying a property, the Directgov website has useful information on planning for these costs.
There are many websites, such as Rightmove, which list properties for sale and will also provide you with an indication of current property prices in the area you wish to live. A directory of estate agents is also available should you wish to enlist the services of an estate agent in your property search.
Reimbursement of reasonable relocation expenses may be made to new members of academic and senior academic related staff whose initial appointment is for three years or more. Staff will only be reimbursed for items which are authorised in advance by the Head of Department/Division/School/Institute.
You may wish to carry out an internet search of international relocation companies and obtain a selection of price quotations for removals.