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Residential Life

How I found my flat

By MariannaRA 06 Mar 2023

The process from start to finish.

Hi! I’m Marianna, a Residential Assistant and student at QMUL. I lived in QM halls for two years and decided to move into private housing for the final two years of University. In this blog, I’ll give you some insights into how I found my flat!

Finding answers

Personally, I had a lot of questions about the process of looking for private accommodation –it was my first time doing so in the UK (I’m an international student). At the start of the search process, I prepared a list of questions and went to the QM Housing Fair. My questions were based on the more technical/legal parts of the process, such as guarantors and contracts.

Note – if you are an international student, you will need a UK-based guarantor. This could be someone that you know, or a ‘Housing Hand’, which is a rent guarantor service for international and UK students. Otherwise, your landlord could ask you for 12 months of rent in advance!

One step at a time

The first step when moving into private housing as a student is finding flatmates you will enjoy living with. In my case, this was my flatmate who I lived with in Halls the previous year. I decided to live with him not only because we are besties, but because I had already been living with him for a year; we knew how to live together, each other's habits and routines, and had had multiple conversations regarding our budget and what we wanted from our new home.

Whilst most commonly student properties tend to be for three to five people, we were aiming to find a two-bedroom flat with enough bedroom space for our belongings, one bathroom, a good kitchen with appliances (We enjoy cooking together!), a living room with space for a TV, and for a similar price to QM Mile End accommodation. We looked at housing websites and made sure to use filters to make the search quicker. Another important consideration for us was the distance from campus – we didn’t want to be more than a 30-minute bus ride away from campus. We looked at flats in two boroughs: Tower Hamlets and Newham. 

Pick up the phone!

When trying to make viewing appointments, I started by emailing different agencies through their websites. Although a few agencies got back to me, I never heard back from most of them. I decided to call each agency when I found a flat on their website that I was interested in – this method was successful every time! I was able to book viewings within a week of talking to the agencies.

In the end, we managed to find a place that was better than we’d hoped and for a similar price to QM halls! The flat is a 10-minute bus ride from campus and has two bedrooms, two bathrooms, a modern kitchen, a living room with a dining table and a balcony! 

I hope you found this useful, and best of luck with your own housing searches. If you’ve got any questions why not check out our top tips article or head to the Housing Services Website

MariannaRA profile picture

MariannaRA Hi I’m Marianna and I am a Biomedical Engineering student at QMUL from Venezuela and Italy. I lived on campus for 2 years and now work as a Residential Assistant. If you see me around feel free to say hello!
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