London accommodation tips
October 19, 2013 6:30 AM   Subscribe

So, after leaving her job to pursue another degree in a field that she loves and having been out of work (or studying) for nearly 3 years my other half has been offered the job of her dreams. Yay! Unfortunately we're in Yorkshire and the job is in South West London, and the job is (initially at least) a 7 month short term contract. So she needs accommodation.

Now I've worked in London a lot, but not in that part of London and I've always been on substantially more than this job pays, so I've always stayed in cheap-ish hotels, but this won't sustain that.

I've looked through the past London accommodation threads and wanted London Mefites feedback on a few things.

We need a room in a shared house or possibly a studio apartment for a non-smoking 30-something female, max of about £600pcm including bills, within a sane distance of Richmond/Kew by public transport, quiet, safe, secure and not somewhere that expects you to move all your stuff out at weekends (although we would consider agreeing not to be there at weekends).

We're going to be looking on:


Some of the areas we're thinking of looking at are:

And of course Kew and Richmond

So, questions:

Would you avoid any of those sites? Are there any others to try?
Are there any agents to avoid?
Any other areas to look at, ideally within 20 minutes commute.
Do we stand a reasonable chance of finding somewhere without actually being in London, or is a B&B / hotel for a week or two going to help?
We're aware of a few of the scams people try, and we're not going to pay anything up front and definitely not wiring anything via Western Union to anyone, is there anything else we should be looking out for?
And a long shot, do any London Mefites have a room to let in those areas?

Thanks for your help.
posted by hardcode to Home & Garden (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
If you can get to London for a few days a good source of finding a room in a shared house is adverts posted in local shops and community centres.

You could also try the online lettings page of the local newspaper.

Another area to try might be Kingston upon Thames which is about 20 mins from Richmond on the train.
posted by Laura_J at 7:10 AM on October 19, 2013

Best answer: Never take a place without actually physically visiting it. You will need to go to London to visit a place. Not visiting a place is the way to end up somewhere terrible - anywhere from nightmare house-mates to a house that doesn't exist to a trash heap.

Depending on how tight your timeline is, you might be able to narrow down potential houses before visiting - a lot of places won't even consider you until you visit in person, however. If you're visiting places in person scams are relatively uncommon, just beware dodgy landlords and get proper paperwork for any bonds paid.

She'll probably find a place relatively easily - employed, non-smoking, not likely to be there on weekends is what a lot of people would like as a housemate.

I suggest emphasising:
- that you (the partner) won't be present overnight (if true)
- that she won't be there most weekends (if true)
posted by Ashlyth at 7:20 AM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Hello.

I live right in the middle of all those areas (Brentford) but have lived in Twickenham.
If you need any local help with informations you can memail. I am more than happy to give you local info on specific places, or go and have a look at places and send you photos to help you narrow down choices.

I have some friends in houseshare type situation so I will ask around for you.
posted by Just this guy, y'know at 8:13 AM on October 19, 2013

You might find rentals on Rightmove as well, although you'll probably have better luck on London specific sites.
posted by pharm at 11:33 AM on October 19, 2013

Note Richmond station is actually 20 minutes walk away from Kew Green, and the buses often get jammed on the big roundabout so aren't always there when you need them. Can add a lot to the commute time.

Sunbury, Egham and Staines still form a small island of affordability on the Richmond line(s); also Whitton in places.
posted by cromagnon at 2:24 PM on October 19, 2013 [1 favorite]

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