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.
The UCO also employs the services of University of London Housing Services (ULHS) to support UCO students with finding vetted private accommodation free of charge. This not only includes access to their property lists, but also a contract checking service and legal advice relating to tenancy rights and agreements. Contact ULHS for more information.
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…
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.”
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.”
Finding potential house/flatmates
“Get involved in the UCO accommodation day. Plenty of people will be looking.”
“Forums and Facebook pages. You may want to find a temporary place then when you start uni get a house with other students.”
"Join the UCO's accommodation group on Facebook."
“Ask about their lifestyle, what they do/like, try to find out if they are a good match for you.”
"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!”
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.”
"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 openminded about other people’s ways of doing things.”
“Get a dishwasher. Solves 90% of arguments!”