I have lived in two types of student accommodation in London, both while working in the City for the summer. I stayed in the Stamford Street Apartments attached to Kings College, and the following summer in UNITE Housing in Euston.
The Stamford Street Apartments were pretty miserable temperature-wise in August, quite pricey, and very small, but otherwise were everything I asked for. They are a 5 minute walk to Waterloo Station, which was great for commuting to Canary Wharf via the Jubilee Line and catching national rail trains to the south-west. The scout came pretty consistently every day and hoovered, emptied the bins, and kept my en suite clean, which was great as I didn't have to worry about them. The fridge that came with the room was also very convenient, as it negated any food stealing problems. Also, the linens and things came with the flat, so I didn't have to provide them myself - one less thing to worry about when I moved in. But like I said above, in July and August they were barely liveable, even with a fan. They were also teeny - when my mom came to visit she was shocked at the size! Over the summer, they can't provide you with internet access. Also, I now know that cheaper accommodation in London DOES exist.
The following summer I lived in UNITE's accommodation in Euston - I sublet from a girl who was at LSE, and over the summer, lived with two BPP LPC students, a dental student, and a guy who was interning in Marylebone. I can imagine from its location it would be most popular with LSE and UCL students. It was a 8 minute walk from Euston station, and much cheaper than the Stamford Street flat, though it entailed a much bigger space, SkyTV, and internet access. I'm 5' and very petite, so I am always worried about safety, and never felt intimidated when walking to and from Euston station. The common room on the ground floor tended to get very, very overheated, but the rooms themselves were always quite temperate, even in the summer. The shared kitchen/dining room was also very pleasant as they came with couches, so you could lounge there - unlike in Stamford Street, where there was only a dining table in terms of seating in the common area. Also, a big plus - and a rarity amongst student housing - was that the bed was a double! No awkwardly long and narrow mattresses here.
I was a big fan of the UNITE accommodation and considered living there when I started my own MSc at LSE, but was turned off by the waiting list - there's a reason it's so popular! I would, however, probably not live in the Stamford Street accommodation again.
I resided in many a student dig in London. I observed that prisoners (mostly the scurge of society) must live in better conditions than us as student digs are not regulated/monitored whatsoever.
All my landlords were greedy fat pigs, charging excessive rents, providing us with manky (no doubt extracted from skips) furniture and not repairing the house. Once landlady painted over a crack with paint and her fire alarms did not work. It appears to me they are happy to take our money but not provide us with a house that is fit to live in. Plus many of my landlords made us pay extra for bills, did not provide a living room and any thing extra, really stingey. Anyway my first landlady was a miserable irritating woman and I extracted my revenge in a number of ways. Firstly before I left her house, I stuck a load of food behind the fridge (hope it's still rotting now, several years on), dumped all our cones in her poxy airing cupboard, wrote a letter of complaint to out Student Union Housing officer (she got blacklisted) and used to fill out forms so she would received heaps of unwanted junk mail and packages that she would have to pay for!. Serves her right, this is easy revenge that I suggest all of you who have been messed around by landlords, participate in. Landlords should be monitored, houses should be inspected, fitted with decent furniture, fire alarms, proper locks. Students are very vulnerable and rarely respected - no wonder they trash student houses as they are provided with crap to live in in the first place. I suggest if you are naive or new to being a student here are my tips to look out for when checking out student houses -
- makesure fire alarms are fitted and work
- Take a note of any already damaged goods (as if you don't, the landlord will more than likely blame you)
- ask how bills are paid and try to get a discount
- is there an oven, cooker etc?
- is the fridge big enough?
- try to get a house with a living room, it's more sociable instead of hanging around in someone's bedroom
- makesure you have a lock on your door
- check that lights work
- ask about heating
- if the place is filthy, ask them for a discount or makesure it is cleaned before you move in.
Hope this is all helpful. in an ideal world you should not have to check all this , it should be fine, however that's most landlords for you - greedy and stingey.
I have just finished my first year at Imperial College during which I stayed at one of the many halls of residence. I was lucky in that I found myself in the most recently renovated hall, located near to Fulham Road and about 15 minutes from college. There are a group of halls located on campus, about 2 minutes walk from college, although they are in need of renovation. Most halls are within walking distance from college, apart from a few which are located in Notting Hill and Pimlico. There is a high proportion of shared rooms in the halls, which can be a good (or bad, very bad!) experience depending on how lucky you are, although most people are generally lucky! This will lower your rent prices though, which can be quite steep given the location. I had a great time at my hall, which organised many events, especially in the first couple of weeks, to allow you to get to know each other.