Help me find a place to live
January 2, 2011 3:13 PM   Subscribe

How to find a place to rent in London (residential)? And what should I know/look out for?

I'm an Englishman based abroad, moving back to London in February. I've lived in London before, but all my accom was sorted out for me.

Since I'm still abroad, I can't go to estate agents and organise viewings, but I was hoping that I could put this time to good use by researching online.

So, how would you go about finding a place to live in London?
(Area recommendations also welcome)

Secondly, I also don't want to do anything stupid when it comes to the actual rental. So what should I be aware of/looking out for/wary of etc.?

More specific criteria, if certain sites/search methods are region-specific:
- Need easy access to the City (whether by tube, bus, boat, foot or bike), and would rather not have a journey of more than 45 minutes (like everyone else).
- Must be in London. Commuting from Guildford etc. not option
posted by djgh to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 6 users marked this as a favorite
Do what everyone else does: sort it out through Gumtree (or, at a stretch, Spareroom). Standard rules about avoiding scams apply. If you know someone in town who can scout for you, it'll help.

There's not much to it other than that.
posted by turkeyphant at 4:17 PM on January 2, 2011

I downloaded the Rightmove application to my iPhone and it was a brilliant way to find out what was in the market and at what price - obviously there's a website as well! Moveflat is also a good site.
posted by ozgirlabroad at 5:40 PM on January 2, 2011

When I was looking for a flat to rent, I used a couple of website. In addition to Rightmove, I used Prime Location and Find A Property,and Globrix. They all have mostly the same places listed, so it's just a question of figuring out which site has the interface you find most helpful. Personally, I found Globrix the most useful-- it made it easy to get a sense of what I could get for agiven price range in a specific neighborhood.

Obviously you will only be able to tell so much from a web search, but it will at least give you a sense of what you can afford depending on how close you want to be to the center.
posted by yankeefog at 1:37 AM on January 3, 2011

Definitely RightMove for stuff from letting agencies and Gumtree for stuff from independent landlords.

MySociety do maps showing the commute time to various points in London which may be helpful.
posted by the latin mouse at 2:00 AM on January 3, 2011

Oh, also:

You can use the Transport for London Journeyplanner to get a sense of travel times to and from specific destinations. In my experience, it's pretty accurate, although of course it's just an estimate. If you are a reasonably healthy person with a brisk walking pace, you may want to set walking speed to "fast" -- for me personally, that tends to result in the most accurate time estimates.
posted by yankeefog at 4:22 AM on January 3, 2011

Response by poster: Thanks all - managed to sort myself out!
posted by djgh at 1:44 PM on January 15, 2011

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