Experiences

My Experience of Finding a Flat in London

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When me and my best friend decided to move to London there was no doubt about the fact that we were going to live together! High in spirit we set off on our great adventure only to find out how incredibly difficult it is to find a place to stay in London. Especially when you’re foreign! The first thing that became apparent was the low standards of British flats compared to our native Sweden, we were amazed at how something could be so expensive and then barely work, stay in one piece or be clean. After numerous of viewing, we’re talking like 25-30 flats we were at the brink of giving up- how could it be so difficult to find a decent place, in an alright area that didn’t cost us a fortune?

Out of all those viewings we’d seen two that we could potentially see ourselves live in, however one had a bunkbed and the other was about £150 over our budget and thus out of the question. We kept looking and viewing and the whole thing seemed more and more hopeless- would we ever find a place to stay? Thankfully through family friends we had a room to stay in during all of this but we knew we couldn’t be there forever, especially not when school started and we really needed some space of our own. But as time moved on our favourite flat (the one that was too expensive) stay on the market and we were encouraged by the family we stayed with to put in a bid lower than the ask but that would match our budget, they said “ you know for every week that flat sits empty the landlord is loosing that money so if you say that you’ll take it immediately at a slightly lower price they might be willing to consider it”. Said and done, we put our bid in, and guess what- it was accepted! We were over the moon, we’d gotten our favourite flat, yeeyy!!

Or that’s what we though… we didn’t realise what a process the following couple of days would be. Because we weren’t from UK we didn’t have a credit history in UK which meant that we needed a guarantor. Emm, ok, and that person needs to be based in the UK. WHAT?! We thought we’d lost t again! But thankfully there was another way around it. Paying 6 months rent upfront. 6 months rent in London is a lot of money, but it was doable. Then our parents had to act as guarantors from Sweden and we had to send numerous letters whereby they confirmed their liability, send copies of acceptance letters from our school and transfer the money. As I’m sure most of you know an international bank transfer takes a few days but ours took over a week adding additional stress to the whole process as we the deal wasn’t set in stone until it was all sorted. Finally after weeks and weeks of searching we had found our home and we’re still here to this day 5,5 years later!

x Hannah

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