Top tips: Accommodation

If you don’t already live in London finding somewhere to live and people to live with can be a daunting prospect.

To help, the UCO has its own accommodation group on Facebook where you can connect with other UCO students to find potential housemates, accommodation and to ask others for advice. We also organise an annual accommodation day where you can meet others and get advice in person.

But what areas should you be looking in, and how do you make sure you get on with the people you live with? We asked our current students for their top tips…

Near or far?

Our students are divided about the benefits of living close to the UCO where you can save on travel costs and commuting time, or further away where cheaper rental properties are located, or even living at home and travelling in. It's worth weighing up all options and considering what your priorities are.

"Consider travelling time to uni - I’m living 30-40 min away (same time by bike or tube) which is relatively ok considering how much I’m paying monthly for rent."

"Commuting is a great option for students who are lucky enough to have the opportunity to do so. I have commuted from Kent since my first year and have still had a great student experience."

"Outer London accommodation is much better priced than central London. Try to find accommodation near a main line station with good commute times in UCO."

"Be open minded with location, london is easy to travel around so don't feel like you have to live right next to uni."

"Don't worry too much about travel time if it's under 45 mins. Find a place you can look forward to coming home to." 

"Search for accomodation near UCO. Travels costs a lot in London, so it is worth searching near the university. Also, sometimes finishing late in winter it is more enjoyable to be walking distance from uni rather than an hour away by transport."

"Living close to uni is really handy, because you don't spend money on public transport and come in to uni much more often/come to the library more regularly. So yes, it is probably more expensive living in that area, but you spend way less on public transport." 

"Being close to uni can cost more for the accommodation, however you spend much less on travel fees, and you have the opportunity to fully live the uni experience!" 


Recommended areas to live

“South London – prices can be cheaper, there are incredible areas and lots of social life. East London is a good choice too.”

"Canary Wharf because it's safe, Elephant & Castle because it's close, or anywhere along the Jubille line because it's easy to commute in."

“Camberwell, East Dulwich, Peckham, New Cross, Deptford – you can easily cycle from these places to the UCO and you don’t need to go through the busy city.”

“Bermondsey or Elephant & Castle. They are cheap (compared to other central London areas), but still very central with really good access to tube and bus transport links.”

“Lewisham. Easy to get to uni. Not as expensive as central. Close to Blackheath for some greenery.”

“As close to the UCO as possible. Being within walking distance saves a bunch of money and time travelling.”

"Near Bermondsey or Oval. These are nice student areas, affordable and close to uni and the city centre."

“Peckham is fine. I found a good, safe, quiet cycle route into uni. Good for shops, bars and amenities.”

"Live in south east London like new cross, brockley, Lewisham- share a house with 4 or 5 people and it will be cheaper."


Things to look out for and ask when viewing potential accommodation

“Check there are enough toilets/bathrooms to supply the needs of the household. Does the shower have adequate pressure? What are the noise levels like in the bedroom?”

“Are bills included? Does it feel like a home, or a bunch of strangers sharing a toilet?”

"Whether they do house checks, whether there is damp/mildew in any of the rooms, what the landlord classes as wear and tear and what is expected of you when you leave."

“Who your housemates are. How finances are managed. Toilets, kitchen facilities.”

“How close the tube station is, the general state of the property, how many flatmates and of course, the price!”

“Make sure you get a living room. If you don’t it will affect the social dynamic of the flat.”

"The market moves very fast in London, so you’re likely to find something relatively close to your ideal move in date. This is stressful but just how it works in London."

"Make sure you have a contract and all points mentioned (the deposit, notice time etc)."

"Take pictures of any problems in your room before you move in, it will prove that the problem wasn’t cause by you (like cracking walls, moulds, marks on the wall etc."

"Look for a home that's clean, quiet, and well cared for so that you can concentrate on your studies." 

"Make sure you book a viewing before agreeing to anything."


Finding potential house/flatmates

“Forums and Facebook pages. You may want to find a temporary place then when you start uni get a house with other students.”

"Try to find accommodation with other students and share with a few people to keep costs lower."

"Try to find students on the UCO facebook group who are looking for people to rent a room. put a post on there introducing yourself."

“Ask about their lifestyle, what they do/like, try to find out if they are a good match for you.”

"It’s hard to find other UCO students to live with before starting university, so I recommend living at student halls for the first year. It’s good cause there’s no stress about bills and other issues with renting. You get to meet other students outside UCO also, which is a big plus."

"If you're going to share with strangers make sure you meet them first! And pay attention to any bad vibes you're getting - trust your gut." 

"Trust your instincts. Always!"

“Ask them what their worst habit is and whether they like to socialise a lot or keep themselves to themselves. This will determine how likely you are to get on with someone. Also asked where they lived previously (parents/alone/housemates) so you can get an idea of whether they’ll leave the kitchen a mess and have any idea how to work a washing machine!”

"If you’re going to find shared housing, make sure you meet your new housemates a few times before commuting to make sure you’ll live happily together and are similar people, but also don’t be afraid of living alone in a little studio, it’s a great way to learn more about yourself and grow as a person."



Maintaining good house/flat shares (and how to be a good housemate)

“Have a kitty for buying communal stuff. If there are vegetarians/non-vegetarians living together, make sure everyone is happy with the cooking situation – use of pots and pans, storage of meat etc.”

"Make sure you have agreed quiet hours for rest and avoid noise disturbances."

"There are lots of websites that help you set up bill splitting and clearing rotas."

“Set rules and make sure you and everyone else respect them. Organise some dinners together to help maintain good relationships.”

“Clean up your own mess, be considerate about noise levels, ask before you use others’ stuff and establish a code/rules about bringing back company.”

“Be open-minded about other people’s ways of doing things.”

“Get a dishwasher. Solves 90% of arguments!”

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