Accommodation Help!

Accommodation Advice

Our Student Life Officer (Julia Oliver) has a range of resources to help students who are looking for external accommodation.

The Student Life Officer can also provide advice and support to students who experience problems in external accommodation and can signpost students to external advice agencies when necessary.

View a recording of our Accommodation Q&A (25 March 2021) here. 

We have included some of our top tips below for when property searching in London! 

Contact the Student Life Officer here.

List down what you want from an area and do some research!
Finding a flat in London is NOT easy. London is a big city with many areas for different kinds of people. This means that you first need to find areas that may be ideal for you. Make a list of what you want from an area, whether that be a thriving nightlife or a lots of green space, then doing some research and narrow down a few areas to start searching!
Make a List of Must-Haves
This is incredibly important when on the hunt for the perfect place! Do you want a lounge or garden, balcony, make a list of your absolute must-haves. It's important to also stay flexible as many properties sacrifice the lounge for an extra bedroom. Speak to your flatmates about what you all want, be on the same page regarding things like budget, commute time etc!
Set a Budget for Your Rent
Setting a budget for your rent will make finding a flat easier for you. Why? Because one of the first things that the real estate agent is going to ask is“What is your budget?” Plus, one of the primary filters you will use on property websites is the budget one: Be sure as to what your exact budget is before starting your research. This will make the whole process a lot easier.
Make a Schedule for Your London Flat Hunting
Especially if you are moving to London from abroad, you need to have a schedule for your London flat hunting. Here is how it goes: Most landlords list their websites or call agents to do so early in the week. This means that many properties are not publicly visible until mid-week. What does that mean for you? That the best time to look for a flat is mid-week since many of the properties that the real estate agent will show you won’t be publicly visible. Cool, right? Also, if your time in the city is limited—and that happens quite often—you may want to have a tight schedule so that you catch up with everything. The more organized you are, the better. Bonus Tip: If you are looking for flats in different London areas, you can use an app like Citymapper to get to places easier and cheaper.
Choosing your flatmates!
It’s a wise idea to choose your housemates carefully – and you may want to assemble a group before you start searching for a place to call home. Be as honest with yourself as possible. For example, some friends are great to spend an evening down the pub with, but may not be ideal as a long-term housemate.
Who will take responsibility for what?
Living in student accommodation comes with some responsibilities. Before you move in, work out how the bills will be paid, as this will avoid arguments with housemates further down the line.
Working with letting agents
Landlords often hire letting agents to handle their properties on their behalf. These letting agents can be useful for tenants as well as landlords. For example, if you let them know you’re looking for accommodation, they’ll be happy to forward you details of appropriate properties – often before they’ve even come to market. A good letting agent will never pressurise you into signing a contract. They won’t hassle you all the time by sending you property details – so if you’d actively like them to do this, make your interest known. Remember, it’s their job to answer your questions, so don’t be afraid to ask.
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You’ll need to work out your monthly outgoings, to ensure you can afford to pay the rent. Factor in the following costs:

- Food (either catered in halls of residence, or purchased then cooked at home)
- Gas and electricity
- Internet and phone connection
- Mobile phone contract
- Laundry services (if applicable)
- Travel expenses
- Contents insurance
- Social activities
- Books and equipment for college or university

Remember, you may be entitled to a maintenance loan or grant. Don’t include an interest-free student overdraft into your budgeting, as you’ll have to start paying this back after you graduate. If you need assistance with budgeting, check out savethestudent.org, which has online tools to help you.

 

Keeping an eye on money

It’s worthwhile setting aside half an hour each week to review your spending, and check that you’re not paying out more than you can afford. If possible, place some funds into a savings account – this always comes in handy in the event of emergencies.


There are plenty of financial perks available to students, so do make the most of them. Your TOTUM student card offers plenty of discounts – to apply for one, visit https://www.totum.com/.

Once you’ve got a shortlist of accommodation options, it makes sense to view them in person. One in ten student groups sign a contract for the first house they view, but that doesn’t mean you have to – you may want to see a few, so you can compare what’s on offer.

Try not to be dazzled by fancy appliances or mod-cons. You don’t want to rent a student home, only to find that there are major issues with the property that’ll cause you headaches further down the line.

 

When viewing student accommodation, pay attention to the following:

 

Location

Check out what’s in the vicinity. For example, a bus stop or a local convenience store are likely to both be useful to you in the future. If it’s a walkable distance to your university, find out how long it’ll take to get there. If it’s not, make sure you check how much it’ll cost in train or bus fares to get to your lectures.

 

Surrounding houses Does it look like a good neighbourhood? Are the surrounding properties in relatively good order? It’s never a good idea to rely on gut instinct alone, but neither should you ignore it. If a place doesn’t feel quite right, that usually means there’s something wrong with it.

 

Security

You’ll be leaving valuables in this property, so you want to be assured that it’s safe to do so. Check the access points, and make sure there are locks on the doors and windows. Ideally, the road will be well lit at night too.

 

Safety

Your safety is a top priority. Make sure fire alarms have been installed, and that fire extinguishers and fire blankets are functional and accessible.

 

Pests

Pests are a real problem, especially if there’s a significant infestation in the house. Look for evidence of mice, rats, slugs, banana flies and pigeons – all of these can cause serious problems.

 

Water pressure and leaking

Ask to see the showers and taps in action, to check the water pressure is adequate. Look around the bases of sink units too, just in case there are any problems with leaking.

 

Energy efficiency

If the property is old, it might not be that energy efficient. This is bad for the environment, and means you’ll pay more for your heating too. Ask about the energy efficiency, and find out if the property is well insulated too.

 

Damp

Damp houses are not only unpleasant to live in, they can be bad for your health as well, especially if mould is present. Check for mould around windows and in the bathroom, and press your hand to the walls. Usually, you can tell if a wall is damp, as it feels slightly clammy and cold to touch.

 

Furniture

It’s worth noting that any house advertised as student accommodation needs to supply a desk and chair in each bedroom. Make sure you find out what else is included in the tenancy agreement.

A tenancy agreement outlines the responsibilities your landlord has in relation to the tenant. It details your responsibilities too. Always read your contract carefully, and if you’re not sure about anything, ask your letting agent, or the Accommodation Office / Student’s Union.

 

Types of contract
There are several types of contract, but the ones you’re most likely to encounter are:

Fixed term

That means you can live in the property for a specified period, and that you agree to pay rent for the entire duration of your time there.

Joint tenancy

This means that you and your housemates share liability for damages, bills, and rent arrears.

 


 

Your responsibilities
It’s your responsibility to:
- Pay the rent on time
- Pay the bills on time
- Maintain the property to an acceptable standard
- Tell your landlord if any problems arise
- Comply with all other terms of the contract

 

Your landlord’s responsibilities
Your landlord must:
- Let you live in peace – if they need to enter the premises, they must give you 24 hours’ notice in writing
- Maintain the structure and exterior of the property
- Ensure the house is safe and habitable
- Keep all appliances, heating and electrics in good working order

 


 

Guarantors
Having a guarantor is an increasingly popular option. Your guarantor is usually a parent or guardian, and they will offer to ‘guarantee’ that you can pay the rent, and agree to cover the costs if you fail to do so. The advantage of having a guarantor is that it makes you a more appealing tenant to prospective landlords. You may be able to secure a better quality of student house too.

 


 

What do you need in order to secure your student accommodation?

If you’re ready to sign the contract, you’ll need to supply the following:

- ID (usually in the form of a passport)
- Visa (if applicable)
- A letter from your university, confirming your place there
- The necessary funds to secure the property

Student Affairs Resources 

Information and advice on how to start your search for external accommodation - when and where to look, who to live with, and how much to budget. It includes lists of useful external resources and accommodation providers.

Guide

  • Feedback from current students about what they like about where they live.
  • If you are living in external accommodation and would like to share an insight into  your neighbourhood- what you like, what you would change if you could - please contact accommodation@gsmd.ac.uk

Guide

Information about funding and the average cost of rent, travel and other day-to-day expenses.

Guide

If yes, then please contact studentlife@gsmd.ac.uk in order to add your name to a list of Guildhall students looking to share accommodation with other students.

The Student Life Officer manages a list of rooms, flats and houses available to rent from private landlords. Please email studentlife@gsmd.ac.uk to request a copy of this list of adverts.

Please note that the School does not have an accreditation service for external accommodation and is not able to verify or inspect landlords and accommodation providers.

Rather than sending a mass email to all students, send the details of the room to let to studentlife@gsmd.ac.uk so that this can be forwarded to the students who have signed up to the accommodation mailing list.

Please note: the School does not endorse any particular agent(s). The details below are for estate agents who have attended accommodation events at the School and have provided their contact information for students looking for information and advice regarding their rental search.

KFH: contact Sherard James  by email or 020 3040 3302

Black Katz: contact Natasha Eddy by email

Sundial Court 

Sundial Court, the School’s hall of residence, is located in Chiswell Street, just around the corner from the Silk Street building. Sundial Court has 176 bedrooms in thirty-nine flats, each with either three, four, five or six bedrooms.

Each flat has a communal kitchen with dining area, shower room and separate toilet. Some bedrooms are large enough to accommodate an upright piano and are furnished to a high standard. All rooms are equipped with internet access. There is also a wheelchair accessible flat with a specially adapted kitchen and bathroom. There is also a Deaf Alerter system for the hard of hearing.

Music students may practise in their bedrooms during permitted hours. Local amenities, including supermarkets, bars, restaurants and sports facilities are all within easy walking distance. Two underground stations are within minutes of the residence. Underneath the accommodation is the Basement, which houses the School Bar, a self-serve laundry, practice rooms and a communal television room.

 

Security and Support

A Reception service is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, to oversee the safety and security of the building and its residents. In addition, a team of Residential Assistants, live in the building to provide peer support. A key part of their role is to encourage a sense of community amongst residents and throughout the year they organise a range of social activities, from market trips to museum visits, film nights to exercise clubs. 

With a total of 176 rooms, it is not possible to offer a place at Sundial Court to every student. However, every attempt is made to provide accommodation for first year undergraduate students. All those offered a place on a full-time course of study at Guildhall School are welcome to apply. (Part-time students with medical or disability needs are also eligible).

Cost

Weekly cost of accommodation at Sundial Court in 2021-22 is £210 per week.

 

Accommodation for students with disabilities and/or medical conditions 

When allocating rooms at Sundial Court, priority is given to students with disabilities and/or medical conditions, that have a substantial and long term effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Part-time students with medical and/or disability needs may be eligible for Sundial Court under specific conditions, and are advised to contact the Senior Health & Welfare Advisor for further information. Find out more about disability support at the Guildhall School. Please note: Students who wish to apply on medical and/or disability grounds will need to complete an assessment form and provide confirmation of diagnosis from either a practitioner recognised by the GMC, NMC, HCPC, or a nurse practitioner. Students will need to re-apply each year and provide up-to-date supporting documents if they wish to continue to live in Sundial Court after their first year.
Applications on medical and disability grounds are reviewed by a Student Affairs panel that meets twice a year, in the spring and summer terms. Information provided in applications is treated in strictest confidence and not disclosed to other departments.