Accommodation advice for the UK
Finding accommodation in the UK is second only to securing the right job in the UK. Most teachers are very proactive and want to tick off ‘where to live’ before arriving in England, but you are not likely to do this, as legitimate landlords will not accept an application from someone who is not already in the UK. You will also not be able to make sure the room is what it says and unfortunately, you can easily be scammed.
There is some important practical support and advice we can offer you and some important information you need to know so you avoid being scammed and you are able to successfully secure a great place to live.
Although accommodation options, prices, and styles differ across the UK, it is generally not too hard to secure once you arrive. Sometimes one of our partnership schools has teacher housing available or short-term host teacher accommodation but more often than not our teachers are looking for a room in a share house or a place with their partner or friends.
We have a network of teachers that often 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, but it will be your choice, in the end, what is the right fit.
Here are our tips for how to find yourself the best accommodation:
- Pre-book a hotel, hostel, or Airbnb room before you arrive or stay with friends or family. For the first few days, you just need somewhere to get over your jetlag and find your feet and explore your new neighbourhood. 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. Air BNBs are often available close to your school and are a good short-term solution and you may also have a friend or family member you can stay with in the short term. Once you are on the ground you can start to look at available flats and actually be able to check them out.
- Never pay a deposit or secure accommodation with a private landlord before you arrive. There are many scams and it is easy to lose your money if you make a decision sight unseen. It is hard not to want to get organised before you go, but believe us when we say that finding something after you arrive is the best way unless the accommodation you have is connected to someone you know, we know, a school or family member. Make sure you find a spot that is close to public transport and that your flatmates are not 24 hour party people. Remember you will be traveling a lot and working a lot, so it is worth living in an area that is more affordable, to maximise your travel funds!
- 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 homeowner) or 6 months’ rent upfront. 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. www.spareroom.co.uk is the best place to find a room in a flat.
- 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.
- Bring any references you have from past landlords, as 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.
- Check in 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
- There are many great websites you can use to find a spare room or even your own place.
Teach In will provide you with a letter confirming your employment, that you can use to support your accommodation applications.
What you believe is suitable accommodation is different for someone else. 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.
That said, remember to ask your local and UK consultants for their advice on where to look for a place to live. They love their local areas and will try to help you find the perfect place.
Please note that Teach In is not able to select, apply for, contact, or act as a guarantor for any accommodation on your behalf.