There are several ways to look for accommodation in London: from online portal of London Business School(you get access once you accept the admission offer) where you can search for accommodation or post a requirement in classifieds section to real estate agents, student hostels and professional movers. The school provides access and pointers to all these resources.
You can find a lot of information on the various classifieds websites, estate agents in the survival guide put together by the partners club. Please refer to the section “2. Survival Guide: Getting Settled”, it has very detailed information on housing and estate agents. There is an agent “JAC Strattons” right opposite to the school who does not charge letting fees for LBS students. The apartments near to school are very small in size, but as you go a bit far, you will get larger spaces for same rent.
Please factor at least 2 to 3 weeks to find accommodation in London. As you will get quite busy once the school starts, it is advisable to arrive early or lock in temporary accommodation for at least 2 to 4 weeks of your initial stay in a bed & breakfast hotel or in a place nearby through portal. Quite a few students advertise short term accommodation during christmas/new year as they want to let the place during the vacation period.
1. Check if the stove is gas or electric if it matters you
2. Check if hot/cold water mixer tap is in place as houses are old here
3. You can definitely negotiate on rent as well as ask for additional furniture
4. Ask clearly what it means by ‘furnished’ and what exactly do you get
5. Mind that getting internet connection takes time, some times up to a month
6. You can also negotiate on lease term, deposit and also rent if you pay the rent for complete lease period at once.
7. Be aware of the holiday season in second half of December as some of the estate agents might be closed during this period.
8. Last but most importantly, make sure you or one your friends/relatives sees the place in person before booking long term stay as the actual house may be quite different from the advertised photos.
Most of the Indians in the class who are staying alone without families went to YMCA India student hostel. YMCA is a good value for money as they serve breakfast and dinner (Indian food) along with accommodation at a very reasonable rate of 750 GBP per month if you stay for more than 6 months. Please check the official website for up to date information.
Please note that YMCA is a typical hostel accommodation and room sizes are very small. You have a single bed, study table and wardrobe along with a wash basin. The bath rooms are shared. However I found that there is a good hygiene maintained as you would expect in any western country and the food is homely. So if you are single, on a budget and cannot cook and can survive only on Indian food, this is the place.
Several of my classmates with families (especially those with kids) started moving from October onwards in order to search for schools, hunt for accommodation and settle down before the classes start.
Coming to me, I decided to stay in a shared accommodation for 3 months and then bring my family. This will give me enough time to cope with studies in the first term and also let winter subside before my wife and 6 month-old kid join me.
I decided to stay very close to school so that I can save time and also transportation costs. I got my accommodation through portal classifieds. My approach to looking for accommodation on portal was a bit different. There were several exchange students who were at LBS for Oct to Dec term. I just contacted those students who posted on classifieds and requested them to see if I can take their place from Jan. A few of them connected me with landlords and I finalised one. The advantage of this approach is that you can finalise your accommodation a bit early without waiting until end Nov or early Dec as the rental property moves quite fast in London.
Please plan well in advance for accommodation to ensure you move smoothly and settle down.