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I am interning at a company in central London in summer 2015, and I am responsible for handling my accommodation.

What are my housing options for 14 weeks, with a total budget of 2000GBP (i.e. ∼143GBP per week), for relocating somewhere not too far from work (Zone 1 or 2)?

  • 2k budget per month? 2K budget total? – JoErNanO Apr 16 '15 at 12:28
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    What wouldn't you consider? Hostels? Couchsurfing? House-sitting? How far out would you consider? Zone 3? Zone 5? Reading? – Mark Mayo Apr 16 '15 at 13:21
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    That nets out to 20 pounds per day and that's not a lot for Zones 1 and 2 in the summer. So you should hurry up and find something before the season starts. – Gayot Fow Apr 16 '15 at 19:25
  • Maybe Wood Green or Ilford, I don't see it happening in Zone 1 or 2, but perhaps you'll be lucky. – Gayot Fow Jun 26 '15 at 19:36
  • Take note that they are rolling out the new Right to Rent programme! – Gayot Fow Jun 26 '15 at 19:44
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It's difficult... £143 / week (~£625) a month is a typical price for a long term stay in a London very small studio flat or a decent room in a shared apartment. These often have minimum contracts - 12 months minimum is quite common.

In Zone 1 or 2, finding decent accommodation for £143 a week isn't easy even if you were staying a year. If you can't find a regular apartment that allows 3 month contracts, your best options are:

  • The option most likely to be in your price range is to try to find a houseshare where there's an empty room people are looking to fill for a few months. For example, three or four locals sharing an apartment where one person moved out a few months before the contract expired. http://spareroom.co.uk and http://gumtree.co.uk are the best places for this in my experience, and Spare Room's advanced search has an option where you can set maximum duration as 3 months. But be prepared for it to take a week or two to find somewhere suitable - they'll probably want to meet you first to see if you're someone they're happy to live with for three months. Expect to need a week or two in a hostel while you visit flats and contact people.
  • If you don't mind moving around a lot, you could try http://couchsurfing.com where friendly people let people stay for free as a way to meet interesting people from around the world. But you'll need to move on every 3-4 day, there's HUGE demand in London so most people won't even get back to you, and you'll need to work hard to find people who'll let you stay, especially if you've never used the site before and don't have people saying you're a good guest. They'll be a long way from zone 1 or 2.
  • Accommodation sites like https://www.airbnb.co.uk/ where locals rent out rooms to visitors are popular - but these aren't cheap (cheaper than hotels, but more expensive than renting), and it'd be unlikely to be in zone 1 or 2. They're usually aimed at tourists staying a few weeks: you might be able to negotiate a discount since you'd save the owner the hassle of finding new people for 3 months, but this might be tricky since summer is the busy season
  • You could look for accommodation sites with a "short let" category. For example popular ad listing site Gumtree has such a category: http://www.gumtree.com/short-term-rent/london/short+let - but these are aimed at tourists and you'd be lucky to find something cheaper than £300 / week.

  • You could also negotiate with regular landlords:

    • Some landlords allow people to leave before their contract is up if that person takes responsibility for finding their replacement. You might be able to rent a regular 12-month appartment then find someone to take over from you for the last 9 months. This is risky, but demand for accommodation in London is always high (put an ad on Gumtree etc and people will contact you). If you're flexible with dates (you might end up staying a week or two longer than planned while you find your replacement), this is an option.
    • From the point of view of a landlord looking to let out low-cost accommodation, late August or September is one of the best times of year to advertise for low-end 1-year lets because London fills up with international students. Landlords sometimes put rent up slightly because demand outstrips supply even more than usual. You might be able to persuade someone advertising for regular long-term accommodation in early summer to consider making an exception and allowing a 3-month contract, because they'll then be advertising for your replacement at the best time of year.
  • I understand from your answer that it is difficult to find sth in my price range in zone 1/ zone 2, But when I look at sites like: zoopla.co.uk I found studios in the range of 550-700 pcm. Does this mean that the prices on such websites are not accurate or some kind of advertising, sorry but I am a little bit confused. – Mohamed Mosaad Apr 22 '15 at 11:59
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    The thing that is difficult is finding accommodation for short lets (i.e. 3 months). Many places have minimum 12 month contracts. If it doesn't specify in the advert, ask. There are zone 1 studios at that price, but they will probably be very small. £550 a month is a typical price for a room in a shared apartment. – user568458 Apr 22 '15 at 12:08
  • +1 for @user568458. I lived in London for a couple of years, £500 is about right for starting prices for a room in a shared apartment (ask if there is anything NOT included, i.e. electricity, it's common). Beware of scams, my advice would be not to book (forget about sending any money/deposit) before being there. Make sure you meet the potential flatmates & seen the actual flat/room before taking any decision. – Adrien Be Jun 27 '15 at 0:19
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Another option would be to rent a room in a university accommodation. Rooms that are usually occupied by Bachelor students become vacant at the end of May/beginning of June, when the second term ends and the summer holidays begin. At which point universities try to rent these out to summer schools, language course students, and all those people who need a room for the summer in London.

For example, Imperial College London rents halls out for the summer. Some of the halls are in Zones 1 and 2. Moreover, the price range is likely fit in your budget. It will be up to you to look for options.

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    Most universities do this and it's worth a try, my understanding however is that unless you're booking a block as part of an event booking (e.g. booking for all delegates for your conference or summer school), the prices tend to be competitive with hostels and budget hotels (I've stayed in LSE halls over summer and that's how they were priced). – user568458 Apr 29 '15 at 12:50
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    What's the price really? Last time I checked (it's a few years now), it wasn't really cheap and probably above the OP's budget. – Relaxed Apr 29 '15 at 13:30
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    A random example from the Imperial link gives £40-£70 a night, which would be over £1,200 a month. That's similar to what it was when I used LSE halls a few years ago. It might be possible to negotiate a better deal for 3 months though. – user568458 Apr 29 '15 at 13:36

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