Cheap Accommodation for Internships
So, you have secured an internship in London. Excellent! You now need to look for your internship accommodation. If you know London and you have a healthy budget, it is not difficult to find a place to stay. Finding REASONABLY priced/ AFFORDABLE accommodation, on the other hand, is NOT an easy task. It is even more challenging to find internship accommodation if you are trying to book it from abroad.
Here we look at the most affordable accommodation options available to interns here in London.
Halls of Residence
If you are an overseas student or maybe a British university student, then you may already be living in halls of residence in your own country or city. It makes complete sense to want to try and find something similar here in London. Halls of residence offer modern accommodation in usually very central locations. The standard of accommodation is usually high and they are a chance to meet and socialise with lots of fellow interns and students.
In London there is a difference between residence accommodation that is privately provided, compared to residences that are owned and provided by universities. Generally speaking, the privately owned providers offer more premium accommodation in terms of price and quality. The ones offered by the universities are often cheaper, but on the other hand, not as modern. If you priority is to find something cheaper for your internship, then research halls of residence that are provided directly by the London universities.
In terms of price, you should expect to pay upwards of £180 per week for a private room in zone 3 in a “non-prime” part of London. Providers of residences ensure that, irrespective of zone, the areas they locate in are well connected, and often on the tube. Our advice would be to do some independent research on halls that are the cheaper end of the spectrum. Look into the areas and see if you can find independent reviews. If you are looking for a zone 2 halls of residence, you should expect to pay upwards of £230 per week for a private en-suite room. Locations in very central “prime” London will cost upwards of £300 per week and can be as much as £500 per week for a private en-suite room.
You might be able to save money by sharing a room in a residence. Many of the newer student blocks are built as 4 or 5 bedroom student apartments, with rooms in the apartments rented individually. Sometimes these rooms are set up as twins, triples…etc so you effectively book a bed in a shared room at a much cheaper rate than booking a private room. Of course, unless you book with a friend, you will not know who you will be living with till you get there.
The other consideration is room availability. Providers of halls of residences in London prefer to rent rooms out on a long term basis. UK university students are their biggest customers. It can be more difficult to rent a room on a short term basis, for an internship for example. Some providers do offer short term stays (usually over 1 month) so enquire early if this is what you want. Rooms on short term basis are booked up quickly.
Some halls of residence also offer rooms by the night. If your internship is short, say 2 weeks, then this is something you may wish to consider. Expect to pay around £50 per night. This is cheaper than a hotel, but it is still not cheap!
A student house is just flatshare for students! Generally speaking, you should only really book a student house or flatshare if you have seen the property first. There are so many options to rent rooms in flatshares in London and at every price band. In zones 3 and 4 you might even be able to find something for as little as £100 per week on a long term contract (six months plus). However, the quality of flatshare in London can vary immensely. So, always view the property to ensure you are 100% happy before handing over any money and be very careful about property scams here in London.
As with halls of residence, it can be more difficult to find a short term flatshare in London. If your internship is one or two months then this option may be more difficult to secure. Landlords and agents often look for flatshare tenants who can commit to a minimum of six months plus. Landlords who are open to shorter term stays will often increase the price by up to 50% to reflect the extra work involved in short lets.
Other things to consider:
- Ensure that you are given the correct contract. Where the accommodation is shared with other tenants (and not the landlord) and where you have exclusive possession of the room, you should be given an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (AST) contract. This agreement affords you a lot of rights as the tenant. It offers you the same level of protection as if you were renting a whole property on your own (i.e not sharing with other tenants).
- The agent or landlord should register your security deposit in the Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS). This scheme is a legal requirement and ensures that a landlord cannot just withhold your deposit at the end of the stay, without proving that they are entitled to do so.
- You may have to undergo a credit check or provide proof of employment. If you are a student, you may be asked to provide a UK guarantor. Agents or landlords will ask for this to ensure that you can pay the rent. If you are in a position to pay the rent for the whole of your stay upfront, then some agents/landlords will accept this instead of these extra checks.
We strongly advise that look for a student house or flatshare once you are in London and settled into your internship here.
Homestay is accommodation with a “host family”. The homestay hosts are not always a family in the traditional sense. The role of the host is to welcome their guest into their home and to treat them as a member of the family. Homestay is often booked by language students here in London who want to improve their English in a more authentic home environment.
The main advantages of homestay to a student or intern:
- Your host family will be a point of support for you during your time in the homestay
- It can be much cheaper than halls or residence and student houses. Homestays in zone 4 start from £145 per week for a private room.
- It can be booked by the week. This makes it a great “find your feet” short term option for when you first arrive in London. Interns or students can book a homestay for say 4 weeks, giving them enough time to get accustomed to London and perhaps look for a flatshare later.
- Meals can be booked with the accommodation
- You will not be required to provide a security deposit making the upfront cost lower than flatshares (for example)
Homestay will not be the right option for everyone. Whereas it can be much less expensive than other short or mid term options, you will have to respect the fact that you are living in someone else’s home. This may mean that there are ground rules (e.g on over-night guests, use of the home phone, allocated times to use the shower etc) that are in place. You may not get the same level of independence as in a residence or flatshare.
How Can We Help?
We hope the above guide is helpful. If you have found it useful, you might also be interested in past posts on the cost of living in London and how to find an internship in London.
If you are interested in learning more about homestay for interns in London, then read our How Homestay Works page to get started. If you have any questions on anything here, we would love to help. Drop us an email on [email protected] and one of our friendly team will be in touch!