Renting a room in a house or block of flats that somebody else owns is referred to as private rented accommodation and involves you renting from the landlord directly or through a letting agent as part of a managed property.
Private rented accommodation is often cheaper as this includes room rent and common areas (kitchen, bathroom) but bills (gas, water etc) might not be included and you will need to budget for this. Rent can either be advertised weekly or monthly (pw or pcm).
Private renters will often ask for a damage security deposit before you move in plus first month rent up front. Typically the deposit will be equivalent to 4-8 weeks rent.
London is big and diverse and contains different areas that are more or less expensive than others. As a general rule you can use the Transport for London zoning system as a rough price guide; closer into the centre (Zone 1) is more expensive, further out tends to be cheaper.
How to find private accommodation
If you are looking for a flat share the place to start is Spareroom. Alternatively try Gumtree. If you are after a flat all to yourself then start off with Zoopla or Rightmove but look at signing up to a letting agent as well; Foxtons, Hamptons and Winkworth are all popular.
Alternatively, you can find a private rented home and save 20% on fees using the Spot a home website.
If possible go and view the flat/room before you sign a contract. It can be very different in person compared to pictures on a website and you can get a feel for the area you’ll be living in.
GCU London offers a contract checking service where we will go through your contract with you and highlight areas of concern and draft amendments. For help with this service, please get in touch with us by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.