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If you’re heading to London for a getaway and want to stay somewhere more welcoming than a hotel room, there are tons of options for you. It’s easy to find your very own ‘home from home’ in London, as the city has more relaxed laws on short-term housing than many other places in the world. Here’s a guide on how to find short-term rentals for professionals in London:
How to Find Short Term Housing
Short-term housing is best found through vacation rental sites such as AllTheRooms, Airbnb, or HomeAway. You can choose the part of London where you’d like to stay, put in your dates, and select what type of rental you want to stay in. Most professionals staying a short time in London are looking for a fully furnished one-bedroom flat or studio, close to public transport. Some guests consider staying in a room in someone’s house to save money. Opt for short-term housing near one of the best areas in London, so you can really make the most of your time in the city.
It’s also worthwhile browsing Facebook groups where people regularly list short-term housing options or temporary housing, with one of the most popular pages being London Rooms For Rent or the website Gumtree. Using Facebook or Gumtree to rent rooms can be a risky option however, as the sites aren’t regulated in the same way as vacation rental platforms. There are similar problems to that of finding vacation rentals on Craigslist, so always keep your eyes peeled for possible scams.
Decide What You’re Looking For
Are you looking for a compact studio apartment, an apartment with one or two rooms close to a tube station, or a flat with a garden, so you can enjoy British sunshine with your cup of tea in the morning? There are so many housing options in London, it’s best to have a clear idea in mind before you start browsing.
Short-Term Housing Rules in London
Cities around the world have been clamping down on the short-term rental industry as it’s leading to inflated rental prices for local residents. Surprisingly, London is yet to enforce strict rules and is quite far behind destinations such as New York or Singapore, which have firm regulations. In London, there’s a 90-day limit to renting a property short-term, and the homeowner will need a planning permit. This means that legally, you can stay in a rental for up to 90 days. Meanwhile, to use Singapore as an example, it’s illegal to list properties for a rental period of fewer than three months, and equally in New York, it’s illegal to rent an apartment or condo there for less than 30 days, with very few exceptions to this rule. It’s likely stricter restrictions will arrive in London over the following years, so we recommend making the most of it now and enjoying the freedom to stay in a short-term rental.
The Best Areas to Find Short-Term Rentals
We recommend staying outside of the city center and avoiding neighborhoods such as Covent Garden, Soho, or areas close to places like the British Museum or Oxford Street. These areas are packed with tourists and the prices are hugely inflated. Staying outside of the city center will give you a better feel for London and you can experience life in a more residential neighborhood. If you pick a location close to a tube or train station, you can be in central London very quickly — and save a ton of money while you’re at it.
South London’s bustling Brixton is one of the best places to stay for weeks or a few months. It’s packed with cool bars and restaurants and it draws a young, professional crowd looking to spend their hard-earned cash on good food, live music, and fun activities. It’s a multicultural neighborhood, filled with markets and cuisine from all over the world — from Jamaican jerk chicken to Ethiopian Street food, you’ll have tons of new foods and flavors to try. Brixton is also home to several live music venues, an upscale cinema, and it’s in close proximity to beautiful leafy green parks. With excellent access, a tube station, train station and tons of buses, you can make your way around London very easily.
With a bit more upmarket crowd of young professionals, Stoke Newington is filled with stylish cafes, unique restaurants, and sleek bars. Often labeled ‘London’s coolest neighborhood’, Stoke Newington draws a slightly older crowd than Brixton and is filled with hardworking young professionals and families. It’s within walking distance to several train stations, which can take you into central London in under twenty minutes. Stoke Newington doesn’t have a tube station in immediate walking distance, meaning it feels slightly more out of the way and quiet — which is why it’s so popular. Stoke Newington is also bursting with culture and is home to large Jewish, Quaker, and Turkish communities.
Lined with elegant restored Georgian houses, Islington is one of London’s prettiest neighborhoods. Not to mention, it has one of the city’s best pub scenes, and the area is filled with shops, cafes, and restaurants. It boasts an excellent location, right in the heart of the city, and within walking distance to King’s Cross, which is one of London’s top transport hubs. There are several tube stations surrounding Islington, alongside trains and an extensive bus network. Flats to rent are often set within historic houses and can come with high ceilings and even small balconies.
If you’re looking for the city’s most buzzing bar and food scene, Shoreditch is the place for you. It’s home to an epic array of street food markets, restaurants with cuisine from all over the world, pubs, and bars. The housing is often in new build flats, and you can find decently-sized apartments to rent short-term that won’t break the bank. It’s also close to the tube, trains, and overground lines, meaning you can get around the city very easily.