Congratulations to new incoming students and hello again to our returning ones!
I’m Ella, I’m the Vice President Welfare this year and I’m super excited to get started. I feel like I should probably do a proper introductory blog post soon but before that I wanted to talk about housing!
When I got accepted into QM I found out I was one of the few who didn’t get accommodation on campus. So, to do justice to my first year self, I wanted to make sure that if you’re in the same position or you’re a returning student who hasn’t secured housing yet you’re aware of your options.
First thing is – don’t panic! The housing market in London moves really quickly which can be really overwhelming, especially if this is the first time you’re renting. When I first moved to London I panicked, picked the first flat I saw and ended up not being very happy because I lived really far away and I even got an email a week before starting university saying they had students drop out of halls and they had spare spaces! Point being – don’t be forced to make a decision quickly. Really, you will be fine!
So, now that’s established, who will you be living with? Is there anyone at your college who is going to Queen Mary too and also didn’t get halls? Check Facebook groups as well, like the official QMSU one to see if anyone else is in the same position and needs a flatmate.
After that, the best course of action is to try and get somewhere privately. QMUL have their own listings through their residential services but looking online at other websites like Zoopla or Rightmove is just as good. You can also use the app Movebubble which has quite good features like being able to message landlords/letting agents. I’d recommend looking for things in East London, so places with an E1/E3 postcode but any postcode beginning with E will put you in good stead. There are also private halls, these can be expensive and I cannot emphasise enough that you do not need to live in halls to have a good first year experience! Just do what is best for you.
Finally, just some things I’d personally check from my wealth of renting experience. This might sound like weird stuff to check but I promise you’ll thank me later:
- How’s the water pressure? Run a tap and check! Also, when you’re running the tap, see if water drains properly.
- Any mould anywhere?
- Carbon monoxide alarms working? Ask the estate agent if you’re not sure where that is.
- Furniture included?
- How far is the house/flat from the tube? Ideally not more than a 10 minute walk.
- Also - you can get your contract checked for you for free by the QM housing services, who you can email.
I know it sounds like a lot, but once it’s done you’ll be so proud of yourself. Now you can start getting excited about living in London/living away for the first time, starting your degree, and meeting new friends in Welcome Week! I can’t wait to see you all J