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Life / Accommodation / London
Finding somewhere to live in London
London (c) R.T.Allen
  London postcodes
  London boroughs
  Lettings agents
  Homestay accommodation
  Managed accommodation for students
  Choosing an area
Related pages:
Guide to renting accommodation
  Travel/Accommodation (short-term accommodation)  


You will need several maps to help you find accommodation in London efficiently. You may find it convenient to obtain printed copies of these, although you can also refer to them online:
- A Tube map (for details about how to see this online, see the "journey planner" section of Travel/Transport/London/Underground)
- A London Connections map (for train services from London)
- A bus map. Maps for Central London, North-West London, North-East London, South-West London and South-East London are available free from bus stations (for details about how to see this online, see the "journey planner" section of Travel/Transport/London/Buses)
- A street map of London. The most popular is a London A to Z colour street atlas, which can be bought from newsagents in London or from the link below. Free online street maps are available from or or

A-Z London
Publisher: Geographers' A-Z Map Company
Date: August 2008


A postcode map of London is shown below. Postcodes are used by the postal service to deliver mail. They are often quoted in accommodation adverts and can be used to identify a location in online services such as maps, local service directories and transport route finders. If you know an address but not its postcode, you can use the postcode finder tool The first two letters of a London postcode are WC (west central), EC (east central), N (north), E (east), SE (south east), SW (south west), W (west), or NW (north west) - the number that follows this is not logical, so you need to refer to a map to see where it is. Other postcodes used in outer London are (in clockwise order): EN (Enfield), IG (Ilford), RM (Romford), DA (Dartford), BR (Bromley), CR (Croydon), SM (Sutton), KT (Kingston), TW (Twickenham), UB (Uxbridge), HA (Harrow), and WD (Watford).

The table below is a guide to the names of the local areas which correspond approximately to the postcode areas shown above:

WC1 Bloomsbury ; WC2 Holborn & Strand
EC1 Clerkenwell ; EC2 Barbican ; EC3 Tower Hill ; EC4 Blackfriars
E1 Whitechapel ; E2 Bethnal Green ; E3 Bow ; E4 Chingford ; E5 Clapton ; E6 East Ham ; E7 Forest Gate ; E8 Dalston ; E9 Homerton ; E10 Leyton ; E11 Snaresbrook ; E12 Manor Park ; E13 Plaistow ; E14 Poplar ; E15 Stratford ; E16 Canning Town ; E17 Walthamstow ; E18 Woodford
N1 Islington ; N2 East Finchley ; N3 Finchley ; N4 Finsbury Park ; N5 Arsenal ; N6 Highgate ; N7 Holloway ; N8 Turnpike Lane ; N9 Lower Edmonton ; N10 Muswell Hill ; N11 Bounds Green ; N12 North Finchley ; N13 Palmers Green ; N14 Southgate ; N15 South Tottenham ; N16 Stoke Newington ; N17 Tottenham ; N18 Upper Edmonton ; N19 Upper Holloway ; N20 Whetstone ; N21 Winchmore Hill ; N22 Wood Green
NW1 Camden Town ; NW2 Dollis Hill ; NW3 Hampstead ; NW4 Hendon ; NW5 Kentish Town ; NW6 Kilburn ; NW7 Mill Hill ; NW8 St Johns Wood ; NW9 Colindale ; NW10 Willesden ; NW11 Golders Green
W1 West End ; W2 Paddington ; W3 Acton ; W4 Chiswick ; W5 Ealing ; W6 Hammersmith ; W7 Hanwell ; W8 Kensington ; W9 Maida Vale ; W10 North Kensington ; W11 Notting Hill ; W12 Shepherds Bush ; W13 West Ealing ; W14 West Kensington
SW1 Victoria ; SW2 Brixton ; SW3 Chelsea ; SW4 Clapham ; SW5 Earls Court ; SW6 Fulham ; SW7 South Kensington ; SW8 South Lambeth ; SW9 Stockwell ; SW10 West Brompton ; SW11 Battersea ; SW12 Balham ; SW13 Barnes ; SW14 Mortlake ; SW15 Putney ; SW16 Streatham ; SW17 Tooting ; SW18 Wandsworth ; SW19 Wimbledon ; SW20 West Wimbledon
SE1 Bermondsey ; SE2 Abbey Wood ; SE3 Blackheath ; SE4 Brockley ; SE5 Camberwell ; SE6 Catford ; SE7 Charlton ; SE8 Deptford ; SE9 Eltham ; SE10 Greenwich ; SE11 Kennington ; SE12 Lee ; SE13 Lewisham ; SE14 New Cross ; SE15 Peckham ; SE16 Rotherhithe ; SE17 Walworth ; SE18 Woolwich ; SE19 Norwood ; SE20 Penge ; SE21 Dulwich ; SE22 East Dulwich ; SE23 Forest Hill ; SE24 Herne Hill ; SE25 South Norwood ; SE26 Sydenham ; SE27 West Norwood ; SE28 Thamesmead

London Postcode and Administrative Boundaries Map
Publisher: Geographers' A-Z Map Company
Date: May 2008

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For local government London is divided into areas called boroughs:

You may find it helpful to check the website of the borough where you plan to live. You can use the links below to find out how much council tax you may need to pay and for information about local government services.
UKCISA provides a guidance note about council tax for international students:

Borough Website
"Band D" council tax 2008/9
Barking & Dagenham
City of London
Hammersmith & Fulham
Kensington & Chelsea
Tower Hamlets
Waltham Forest

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To rent a private room in a house, you may want to contact lettings agents or estate agents in the area.
You can find an agent using UpMyStreet. Click here:, then enter a full local postcode in the "located in" box and click on "search". The nearest ones will be listed first.

Note that some lettings agents do not deal with student accommodation, and some specialise in dealing with people from a particular country. It may be better to choose an agent which is a member of NALS (the National Approved Letting Scheme), see: An agent may charge a fee when you have found somewhere (typically about a week's rent), but is not allowed to charge to show you a list of properties or to take details of your requirements. One advantage of using an agency is that you may be less likely to have problems with the landlord, and there should be a proper tenancy agreement. The disadvantages are that the accommodation may be more expensive (the landlord/landlady will charge higher rent to cover the cost of the agency), and that the choice of properties is more limited.

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Homestay accommodation is a room in the house of a family (who are known as the host family).

Some organisations which help to arrange homestay accommodation in London are as follows (note that companies often specialise in certain areas of London):
Britannia Student Services:
UK Homestay:
Hosts International:
London Host Families:
Host & Guest Service Limited:
English Homestay Services:
City Homestay:
UK Guests:

As a rough guide to prices:
- Expect to pay about £125 per week in zone 4 or 5 for self-catering accommodation in a standard single room, or £95 per week in a shared double/twin room.
- Add £15 per week if you want to live in zone 3, £30 per week for zone 2 (more central accommodation; rooms may be a bit smaller).
- Add £20 per week if you want breakfast ("bed & breakfast" or "B&B"), or £40 per week if you want breakfast and evening meals ("half board"), or £60 per week if you want breakfast, evening meals and packed lunches ("full board").
- Add £40 per week for superior accommodation (eg: a larger room, own toilet/bathroom, better food than standard).

There may be an additional one-off booking fee of perhaps £50 to the agent for arranging your accommodation.
Check if you need to pay and deposit and if so whether that will be returned to you when you leave.

The BBHA (Bed & Breakfast Homestay Association) has set minimum standards for homestay accommodation approved by Tourist Boards in London:

If you are interested in helping an older person or someone with a disability, homesharing is another possibility. You live with this person and provide companionship and an agreed amount of practical help each week, in return for cheap accommodation. See:

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Local newspapers
If you have already decided you want to live in a particular area, buy the local newspaper from a newsagent (you may also be able to look at it in the local library or online). The Evening Standard is a London-wide evening newspaper which has some property adverts each day.

London accommodation adverts are available in Loot:
The paper version of Loot is published 3 times a week (each one has a different colour). Sections you may wish to check include: Student accommodation (shared with other students), Bedsits & rooms, Flat & houseshare, Short lets (for example, accommodation that is available for less than three months), Flats to rent, and Houses to rent.

Online agents
The following websites list adverts for accommodation suitable for students:
Accommodation for Students:
Student Pad:
Student Accommodation:
Generally these websites will allow you to search their adverts for free, but may charge you when you request contact details.

Newsletters/magazines/notice boards
Adverts are also contained in"TNT", a free magazine aimed mainly at travellers from Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (
"Time Out" is a weekly magazine of event listings which also contains some accommodation ads.
Popular free online message boards include "gumtree" ( and "Craigslist" (
Some countries' communities have their own London newsletters, or popular shops or places of worship where accommodation adverts are placed.
Schools/universities may have ads on their own notice boards, or may have accommodation offices which have been informed about available rooms.

Accommodation adverts often contain abbreviations which will often not be found in a dictionary and might be confusing. Some of these abbreviations are explained below:

apt: apartment, flat; avail: available; b&b: bed & breakfast; b/sit: bedsit; bath: bathroom; bed: bedroom; BR: train station (British Rail); bth: bathroom; toilet; ch: central heating; cond: condition; cpl / cple: couple; d/g: double glazed; dbl or dble: double; dec: decorated; dep: deposit; DLR: Docklands Light Railway; DSS: person receiving unemployment benefit (from the Department of Social Security); eves: evenings; exc: excellent; excluding; excl: excluding heating/hot water bills; F: female; f/f: fully furnished, fridge-freezer; flr: floor; flt: flat; furn: furnished; gch: gas central heating; gd: good; gdn: garden; h&c: hot & cold water; HA: Housing Association; heat: heating; imm / immed: immediate; inc / incl: including heating/hot water bills; info: information; kit: kitchen; loc: location; lrg: large; lux: luxurious; M: male; mais: maisonette; min: minute, minimum; mod: modern; mth: month; n/s: non-smoker; nec: necessary; non-s: non-smoker; nr: near; o/l: overlooks; osp: off-street parking; pw: per week; pcm: per calendar month; pkg: parking; pls: please; pp: per person; pref: preferred; prof: professional; rd: road; refs: references required; req / reqd: required; rm: room; sep: separate; sgl or sgle: single; shw: shower; stn: station; stud: studio; tel: telephone; trans: transport; tube: underground train (London); TV: television; unfurn: unfurnished; vgc: very good condition; w: with; WC: toilet; w/d: washer-dryer; w/e: weekends; wkly: weekly; wks: weeks; wm: washing machine, warm, well-maintained

Below are a couple of examples of accommodation adverts:

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A short-stay hostel in London can be used as a base when you first arrive in the UK, while you look for your own accommodation.
To find and book a short-stay hostels in London, see: Travel/Accommodation/Hostel

YMCAs provide some long-term accommodation (you do not need to be a Christian, and rooms are available both for men and women):

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Below is a list of privately-run managed accommodation for students in London (this list does not include accommodation which is used exclusively by students from particular universities). Note the following:
- in some cases rooms are only available for fixed 1 year periods from mid-September (the start of the academic year)
- in some cases priority is given to certain types of people: a particular nationality, religious belief, type of student (eg: full-time students, postgraduate students, international students, or students from certain universities), age group (eg: 18-25), or gender (eg: females only)
- accommodation is generally in single rooms, but some providers also offer double rooms, family rooms or multi-bedded rooms shared between several students

Click on the link in the "Accommodation Name" column to see full details, including the weekly costs. Click on the link in the "Postcode" column to see a map of the location.

Area Accommodation Name/Website Street Postcode/Map Nearest Tube
WC1 Elizabeth Croll House 27 Penton Rise WC1X 9AX Kings Cross St Pancras
WC1 Goodenough College Mecklenburgh Square WC1N 2AB Russell Square
WC1 Helen Graham House 57 Great Russell Street WC1B 3BA Holborn
WC1 International Lutheran Student Centre 30 Thanet Street WC1H 9QH Kings Cross St Pancras
WC1 Woburn Place 19-29 Woburn Place WC1H 0AQ Russell Square
EC1 Canto Court 122 Old Street Islington EC1V 9BD Old Street
EC1 East Central House 115-131 Lever Street EC1V 3RH Old Street
EC1 Kirby Street 36-43 Kirby Street EC1N 8TE Farringdon
E1 Nido Spitalfields 100 Middlesex Street E1 7EZ Liverpool Street
E1 Pacific Court 15 Assembly Passage E1 4EY Stepney Green
E1 Quantum Court 10 King David Lane E1 0EJ Shadwell
E1 Rahere Court Toby Lane E1 4DW Mile End
E1 Sherren House 16 Nicholas Road E1 4AF Stepney Green
E2 Blithehale Court 10 Witan Street E2 6FG Bethnal Green
E2 Claredale House Claredale Street E2 6PE Bethnal Green
E2 Three Colts Lane 41-65 Three Colts Lane E2 6JP Bethnal Green
E7 Donald Hunter House 1 Post Office Approach E7 0QQ Forest Gate
E9 Sir John Cass Hall 150 Well Street E9 7LQ Hackney Central
E15 Poland House 293-305 High Street E15 2TJ Stratford
N1 Nido King's Cross 200 Pentonville Road N1 9JP Kings Cross St Pancras
N1 Sentosa (N1) 125/127 Richmond Avenue N1 0LR Angel
N6 Greenview Court 1-15 Winchester Place N6 5HJ Archway
N7 Piccadilly Court 457-463 Caledonian Road N7 9BJ Caledonian Road
N7 Woodland Court 32-34 Market Road N7 9AW Caledonian Road
N10 Chester House Pages Lane N10 1PR Bounds Green
N12 Nansen Village 21 Woodside Avenue N12 8AQ Woodside Park
N15 Station Court 158 High Road N15 4NU Seven Sisters
N16 Charles Morton Court 37-43 Green Lanes N16 9BS Canonbury
N16 Newington Court 173 Green Lanes N16 9DE Canonbury
N17 Emily Bowes Court Lebus Street N17 9FD Tottenham Hale
NW1 Ashwell House Shepherdess Walk N1 7NA Old Street
NW1 Beaumont Court 1-45 College Grove NW1 0RW Camden Town
NW1 Goldsmiths House Park Village East NW1 3SX Mornington Crescent
NW1 Impala House 8 Chalcot Square NW1 8YB Chalk Farm
NW1 Methodist International Centre 81-103 Euston Street NW1 2EZ Euston
NW1 Somerset Court Aldenham Street NW1 1AS Euston
NW3 Arthur West House 79 Fitzjohns Avenue NW3 6PA Hampstead
NW3 Bartrams Hostel Rowland Hill Street NW3 2AD Belsize Park
NW3 Belsize House 38-40 Belsize Park Gardens NW3 4NA Belsize Park
NW3 Danish YMCA 43 Maresfield Gardens NW3 5TF Finchley Road
NW3 Netherhall House Nutley Terrace NW3 5SA Finchley Road
NW3 St Dorothy's Residence 99 Frognal NW3 6XR Hampstead
NW5 Bartholomew Road 111-113 Bartholomew Road NW5 2BJ Kentish Town
W1 International Students House 229 Great Portland Street W1W 5PN Great Portland Street
W1 Leinster House 46 Leinster Gardens W2 3AT Bayswater
W1 Sentosa (W1) 15-19 Upper Montagu Street W1H 2PQ Marylebone
W1 YMCA Indian Student Hostel 41 Fitzroy Square W1T 6AQ Warren Street
W2 New Mansion House 38 Lancaster Gate W2 3ND Lancaster Gate
W2 Park House 227 Earls Court Road SW5 9BL Earl's Court
W2 Railton House 10 Craven Hill W2 3DT Lancaster Gate
W2 Sanderman Allen House 40 Inverness Terrace W2 3JB Queensway
W2 Torquay House 1 Torquay Street W2 5EJ Royal Oak
W5 Moullin House 24/26 Mount Park Road W5 2RT Ealing Broadway
W6 Austrian Catholic Centre 29 Brook Green W6 7BL Hammersmith
W8 Lee Abbey London 57/67 Lexham Gardens W8 6JJ Gloucester Road
W11 Bowden Court 24 Ladbroke Road W11 3NN Notting Hill Gate
SW1 Holland House 53 Eccleston Square SW1V 1PG Victoria
SW3 IES London Residence Hall Manresa Road SW3 6NA South Kensington
SW5 William Temple House 29 Trebovir Road SW5 9NQ Earl's Court
SW6 Orient House Imperial Road SW6 2EP Fulham Broadway
SW7 Belvedere House 6 Grenville Place SW7 4RT Gloucester Road
SW7 Halpin House 97 Queens Gate SW7 5AB South Kensington
SW7 Jerome House 5-13 Glendower Place SW7 3DU South Kensington
SW7 More House 53 Cromwell Road SW7 2EH South Kensington
SW7 Regina House 110 Gloucester Road SW7 4RJ Gloucester Road
SW12 Blain House 140-142 Bedford Hill SW12 9HW Balham
SE1 Christian Alliance Centre 2 Secker Street SE1 8UF Waterloo
SE1 Friendship House 3 Belvedere Place SE1 0AD Borough
SE1 Great Suffolk Street 17 Great Suffolk Street SE1 0NS Southwark
SE17 Victoria Hall Southwark 120 - 138 Walworth Road SE17 1JL
Elephant & Castle

The Carlyle Group/Generation Estates are creating a new 400-bed student accommodation block in Isledon Road (in Islington, next to Finsbury Park Tube/bus station), due to become available from September 2012. Three other sites (with 1,850 beds in total) are being planned and are expected to become operational by September 2013.

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: Consider places along the transport links to your school or workplace (information in the Maps section may help). You may want to be close to an underground station or a bus route (or a night bus route if you are often out after midnight).
Cost: Look for adverts in local newspapers or Loot to judge the prices, and consider the transport costs as well as the rental costs (information in the Costs section may help). Decide on a range of rents that you can afford to consider.
Community: Decide on one or more boroughs (information in the Costs, Safety and Ethnic Mix sections may help). Decide on one or more local areas. Make a list of postcodes in these areas (information in the Maps section may help).

Once you have chosen an area that you think is convenient:
- Check the transport cost and timetable (first and last services; frequency of service). See: Travel/Transport/London
- Check the facilities in the area. See: Life/Accommodation/Guide for details of how to do this
- Visit the area; look for room advertisements by buying the local newspaper, looking in the windows of local newsagents. If you want to use a local letting agent or estate agent, visit some in the area. Ask if they deal with the type of accommodation that you are looking for, and if so, if they can show you a list of properties in the area which are within your price range. You can ask to register with them, so they can send you further details as they become available. Ask them if there are any charges: legally they are not allowed to charge you unless you have accepted a property shown to you by them. Often the charges are paid by the person who is renting the property (so the rent for these properties may be a little higher).

House prices (and also rental costs) are highest in central London, especially north of the River Thames. The most expensive boroughs are Kensington & Chelsea, the City of Westminster and the City of London.
If you are prepared to share a room with one other person in a twin-bedded room, the rent is typically about 30% cheaper than a single room.
Often 1 month's rent is required as a deposit when renting a private room - this will only be returned at the end of your stay.
Remember to consider the cost of travelling as well as the rent. See Travel/Transport/London for details of tickets and fares, including prices if you hold a Student Photocard.

For maps showing the locations where Bangladeshi, Black African, Black Caribbean, Chinese, Indian, Irish, Pakistani and White British communities are concentrated, see:,5812,1395103,00.html

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Accommodation issues: Life/Accommodation/Guide
Booking hostels: Travel/Accommodation/Hostel

Home page: Home

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