Okay, so no one is ever going to say that renting a property in London is cheap. No sir, far from it… And when you start scrolling through listing on websites such as Zoopla and Right Move, you may well want a tissue close by, as some properties are eye-wateringly expensive!
But don’t despair, because with a little bit of inside information, some flexible thinking, and a “can do” attitude, it really is possible to find places to rent in London that aren’t going to eat up every last penny of your salary.
And whilst we can’t say that they’ll all be “cheap,” what they will be is “cheap for London.”
After all, according to the Office for National Statistics, their latest census showed that in London, 50.4% of all households were rented.
And with this being the case, it obviously is possible for the regular person on an average wage to be able to rent in the city.
Average Rental Prices
According to the official London Government website, the average weekly rental in London for a room is £120, for a studio flat is £200, for a 1-bed is £276, a 2-bed is £334, and a 3-bed is £403.
Of course, different areas command either over or under these averages, and knowing exactly where these cheaper areas are is one of the ways that you can find lower cost property rentals.
So, let’s take a look at exactly how you can seek out cheap(er) places to rent in London:
1. Know The Cheapest Areas
There are many different crowd sourcing websites that provide you with up to the minute average rental prices.
Other areas that do well in the lower rental cost stakes include:
- Barking and Dagenham
- Waltham Forest
2. Move Slightly Further Away From a Tube Station
Yes, yes, we all want to be within a 5-minute walk of The Tube, but guess what? So does everyone else – and that means that such properties command higher rents.
Being a 15-minute walk (or more) from a station is highly likely to see a substantial reduction in said rent, plus you get the added bonus of getting a regular walk every day on your way to and from work.
And, let’s face it: most of us struggle to get enough exercise on a daily basis, so it won’t do you any harm. If you really hate walking, invest in a bike and chain it up at the station.
Either way, you’re giving your body a daily workout (and think of the money you can save on gym membership fees).
If walking (or cycling) is going to become part of your daily commute, all you need ensure is that you invest in a good brolly and some decent wet weather clothes for the inevitable days when it’s grey and rainy.
3. Check Out Gum Tree
Gum Tree is a great website that allows private landlords to advertise their properties, and if you can rent direct from the owner, then agent fees are taken out of the equation.
The landlord gets a little more, as he doesn’t have to pay the fees, and you get to pay less, as your payments won’t need to cover those fees.
4. Buddy Up
One of the easiest ways to make renting more affordable in London is to share a property with other people.
This could be friends you already know, or if you’re new in town and don’t yet know anyone, there are plenty of websites set up specifically to help you do this. These include Easy Room Mate, Spare Room, and We Room.
5. Sign Up For Home Share
This is a bit different, and is a great way to not only get cheap rent, but to also make a real friend AND make a difference in the process.
In essence, “Home Share” describes various charities that match older homeowners with a spare room to a younger person – who then acts as companion and a helping hand with various chores such as shopping, cooking, and housework.
Charities such as Room for Tea, Novus, and Shared Lives provide such a service. In return for a very low monthly rent (think something as low as £200 or £300 per month), you’ll be required to commit to around 10 hours per week helping out your elderly buddy.
6. Become a Property Guardian
Here’s betting you didn’t know that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of empty properties around the UK, with many in London.
And guess what? These properties need keeping an eye on.
They can range from care homes to old schools, health centres to estates… Anything.
In essence, what you do is sign a standard rental contract, and you get to live somewhere wonderful (and maybe weird), but definitely memorable – and for a snip of what you’d have to pay for a normal rental.
Yes, we’re talking rents of between £150-£450 per month (yes, you ready that correctly – per MONTH)!
Renters are known as “Guardians,” and in many cases, your monthly rent includes utility bills. Another plus is that in certain properties, they’ll be other people, just like you, doing exactly the same thing.
In many cases these guardians become a little community of their own – a real plus if you’re new in town!
As you can see, finding cheap places to rent in London is possible, it just requires a little bit of “thinking outside the box.”
Take a deep breath, don’t get down hearted if it takes a while to find somewhere, and keep looking – and for anyone looking to rent a property in London, the most important thing is that when you find the right place, be prepared to move quickly.
If you don’t take it, you can be sure someone else will. Happy hunting…