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Moving to the UK: finding the perfect place to live

Finding accommodation in your new hometown is one of the first goals for teachers moving to the UK.

Apart from finding the right teaching job, accommodation is usually the next thing on the mind of relocating teachers.  Although accommodation options, prices, and styles differ across the UK, it is generally easy to secure once you are over there. Some of our partnership schools have discounted teacher housing available or short term host teacher accommodation. We have a network of teachers that have rooms available during the year, and we connect teachers heading over at the same time, in case they want to get a flat together. Everyone has a different idea about suitable accommodation, so we will give you as much help as we can, so you can find you the right fit.

Here are our tips for how to find yourself the best accommodation:

  • Pre-book a hotel, B&B or AirBnB room before you arrive. This gives you somewhere to retreat to after your long flight, without having the stress of finding somewhere to sleep. If you don’t have to start work immediately and can handle dormitory sleeping arrangements, youth hostels can be a fantastic way of meeting new friends who might also be looking for accommodation.
  • If you have family in the area, now is the time to call them and secure yourself a place on their sofa for a few days. Moving to a new country is often when we connect with long-lost family members, and helps you secure yourself a decent meal come Christmas time!
  • Renting a place on your own can be tricky when you move to the UK, as real estate agents often want a guarantor (UK resident and home owner) or 6 months rent up front. Instead, consider renting a room in an established house or flat, it’s a great way to make new friends, and you can usually move in relatively quickly.
  • Use this handy guide to find out which areas have the cheapest rent.
  • Most flats come fully furnished in the UK, although you may need to provide kitchenware and bedding, all of which can be sourced cheaply once you are in the country. If you do rent a place on your own that is unfurnished, Ikea delivers!
  • Bring any references you have from past landlords, these will help convince real estate agents that you will be a good tenant. Make sure you have a deposit ready (usually the equivalent of a month’s rent) and be sure to act quickly when you find the right place – good places get snapped up very fast.
  • Be sure to liaise with your local Teach In office and consultant, as some of their schools may have an offer of a room in a teacher’s house. Your local Teach In office can also advise you on which areas to live in, and which to avoid.
  • Don’t commit to long term accommodation arrangements that you have not seen before you arrive. The place might be a dump, or have antisocial neighbours, too far from public transport, or even just right next to loud church bells guaranteed to disturb and Sunday morning lie-ins! Things to consider (if you value your sleep):
    • Church bells or any other loud places of worship
    • Proximity to pubs and bars – particularly their bottle recycling bins. Whilst it is fantastic to have pubs within walking distance, if your bedroom window overlooks their recycling, you’ll endure the sound of bottles being thrown out en masse late at night, and the sound of recycling trucks early in the morning.
    • Proximity to public transport – you’re unlikely to have a car, at least at first, so be sure to live somewhere that allows you to easily get out and explore
    • Late night security – do you feel safe walking home from your closest bus, train or tube stop?
    • Proximity to hospital accident and emergency wards (unless you love the sound of sirens). Ditto police stations.
    • Beware the ‘box room’. Often rented out for less rent than the other rooms in the house, a ‘box room’ usually fits one single bed and that’s it. It might seem like a great way to save money at first. It’s not.
    • Pay close attention to the shared living areas in a home-share situation. Are they well kept?
    • Consider number of flatmates, times they start work, and number of bathrooms.
    • Does the accommodation you are considering have outside space?
    • Will you be living with smokers if you are a non-smoker and, if so, what are the rules about smoking inside?
  • There are many great websites you can use to find a spare room or even your own place. These include:
  • Consider becoming a Property Guardian. Specialist agencies place carefully vetted guardians into short and long term empty properties as a way to prevent squatters – preference is given to key workers (that includes teachers), so this can be a way to live in a fantastic location at a reasonable price.

Teach In will provide you with a letter confirming your employment, that you can use to support your accommodation applications.

Accommodation is a personal choice, and what suits you many not suit everyone, and vice versa. Because of this our staff won’t ever choose your accommodation for you or tell you where to live – only you know what will work for you. Living in the right place can really make or break your overseas experience, so make sure you give yourself time and options, so desperation doesn’t force you to accept the very first place you find.

Please note that Teach In is not able to select, apply for, contact or act as guarantor for any accommodation on your behalf. That said, remember to ask your local Teach In consultants for their advice on areas though, they love their local areas, and will try to help you find the perfect place from which to experience it! They will also ask all their local schools if they know of any spare rooms available that you might be interested in – a great way to quickly integrate yourself into the local teacher community!

Shannon talks about his first few months in the UK.