Accommodation in the UK
Woohoo! You’re going to England! Congratulations on taking the first step in your teaching adventure. Whether you’ve already accepted a role or you’re still interviewing, you have probably started giving some thought to where you’re going to live when you get there. Here are a few pointers to help you.
First things first – you won’t be able to do much about long-term accommodation until you actually arrive in England as most property managers won’t even book a viewing for you until you’re there; so don’t get worried if you try but get that response. What you can do before you get there is start having a look at the costs of different accommodation types in the areas you might be living as well as book some temporary accommodation via a site like Airbnb or Booking.com. We’d always recommend being in the area a couple of weeks before you begin your job so your starting point should be 2 weeks of temporary lodgings while you get more permanent digs sorted.
Our friends at Crenns Properties can take bookings in advance of you landing in London. They offer leases as short as 1 month, meaning you can get your own room and space right from the start, often working out cheaper than staying at a backpackers.
If you’re in a city then you’ll be able to rely on public transport to get you around so starting out with Google Maps is a good idea; in major cities such as London they will usually include the main train stations and connecting lines when you zoom in close enough – use this to start working out some travel times.
As a guide – if you are going to be working inside the M25 in London, a 45 minute commute each way is considered to be pretty good (if you’ve ever worked and lived in Auckland it’s not going to be much of a surprise at all).
Of course, this is going to be much easier once you know where you will be teaching and can start plotting routes in earnest.
When you start looking at listings, you’ll see the letters “pcm” in relation to the rental cost – this means “per calendar month (rent is usually paid on a monthly basis). Start to have a think about your budget and how much you are willing to put aside for rent. Generally, the overall cost of living in the UK is lower than what you’d expect if you’re coming from New Zealand or Australia but rent can still be a bit pricey, especially if you are in the middle of London. Your Point to Point Consultant can give you some more tips on this (and stay tuned for a future blog about budgeting for the UK).
So, where should you start looking?
Well, if you’re heading over on your own then the most cost-effective option is going to be searching for a house/ flat-share situation where you rent one room. There are plenty of great groups for expatriates on Facebook if you want to start off in familiar surroundings with people from your own country; your Point to Point Consultant can also introduce you to our network of teachers in England via our closed Facebook group. However, if you want to get out there and do it on your own, we’d recommend looking at Spareroom – they’ve been doing it a while and a lot of our teachers have successfully used them recently.
If you’re heading over with a group of friends or with your family then you’ll be looking at renting a house, flat or apartment as a whole tenancy – our teachers have had good experiences using RightMove so check them out.
And, if you are definitely going to be in West London then it’s worth dropping a line to the team at Crenns Properties – they actually own all the properties they rent out and can offer whole properties or share situations to cater to your circumstances. On the North East you can get in touch with the crew over at Arrive Homes.
Hopefully that’s enough to get you on the right track. As always, your Point to Point Education Consultant has a wealth of information and contacts that will help this part of the process go as smoothly as possible for you so make sure you pick their brains during one of your weekly catch-ups.