I have been accepted at an university in London and I will start my doctoral studies in the end of September. Given my financial situation as well as the cost of life in London, I decided to look for a room in a shared flat. My question is: how long in advance should I start looking for a flat? On the one hand, I don't want to leave things for the last moment, but on the other hand it seems to me that is quite difficult to secure a room many months in advance (most ads I have seen so far are looking for people for the next couple of weeks). It seems to me that this varies wildly from country to country (e.g. here in Germany people seem to start looking a lot more in advance than in other countries I have lived before), so what would be a reasonable time frame for me to start searching without becoming too stressed with the situation? Would a month suffice?
A month should suffice if you are looking on the general rental market but I advise you ask your university for their guidance. They may be able to give you a list of recommended estate agents, or link you up with fellow postgraduate students who are also looking for accommodation. Be aware of fraud: never pay any money before you have visited the room.