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I just recently got a job in the UK and I'm due to relocate to London in October.

How would I go for finding some temporary accommodation to stay in for a month or two, until I find a nice and cozy apartment for a longer stay?

My budget is quite limited and I'm generally not sure what to look for and what to expect, especially since I need to complete the process online, as otherwise I won't have a place to stay when I arrive.

To be more specific, I'm looking for websites that would allow me to find a place to stay for a month or two (the only one I know of is Airbnb, but I'm not convinced it's suitable for a long stay like this), preferably one that would minimize my chances of getting scammed in some way.

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    If you're budget is "quite limited", finding any kind of accommodation in London is going to be extremely challenging. – gerrit Aug 26 '15 at 13:06
  • Sadly, I'm aware of that, which is why any tips regarding the matter are more than welcome. – fstanis Aug 26 '15 at 13:14
  • When I arrived in London I stayed in a hostel for 2 months, sharing the room with 5 other people. I must say that I was very happy to finally find a flat, but it did the job (I spent my days at work and my weekends doing tourist stuff so I just "used" it as a place to cook, eat and sleep) and wasn't too expensive for London. – caCtus Aug 26 '15 at 16:51
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Finding an apartment to rent, even for short term, can be tricky if you do it online.

I just moved to Edinburgh, from France, so I can at least speak about my experience: I booked 2 weeks at an airbnb, to have an address to crash in when I arrived in the city. From there, I searched for a real apartment to settle in. Between the visit and the actual day I moved in, it took a week.

You're planning to stay for one or two month in a temporary place, so in that case, I'd say: start with an airbnb for 1 week, to find a short term let, and once in the "less temporary apartment", look for a permanent place. Also, sometimes, airbnb ads offer to stay for a month or so.

Visit the website gumtree.co.uk, they have short term and long term leases, and that will give you an idea on the average rent, depending on the location.

Apparently, to get an apartment, you have to pay for the first month, plus a deposit that can be equal to a month, more or less. (this is based on my experience, but again, I don't live in London)

Another suggestion: some hostels may offer individual rooms for affordable prices. Usually they don't accept stays longer than 2 weeks, but it could help you on your arrival.

Also, one of the first thing you'd want to do on your arrival is to open a bank account. For that, you'll need an address to receive your mail. So be sure that no matter where you're staying, you receive your mail. Some banks require a proof of residence to open an account, but in my case, I opened mine with just my passport. Try multiple banks to see what they need.

  • So you're saying a good course of action is to use Airbnb (or a similar site) just to have a place to crash for a week, and to look for a better (but still temporary) place after arrival? – fstanis Aug 26 '15 at 12:47
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    Exactly. Well, with some luck, you may find an airbnb able to host you for a month, for a "fair" price. This would solve your problem directly. – Majuj Aug 26 '15 at 12:50
  • A word of warning about Gumtree: I've seen large numbers of scams there in the past. Don't send anyone any money until you've seen the property and can verify things in person. help.gumtree.com/articles/General_Information/… has more advice – oskarpearson Aug 28 '15 at 8:12
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I'd second AirBnB as an option - it will allow you to use the time to scout out areas and look around before settling for something a bit bigger.

Alternatively, websites such as spareroom.co.uk are listings of home owners letting out rooms in their houses - usually for longer term (3-6m), but there may be some offering shorter lets (or others that if you contact them they would consider a shorter period, possibly at a higher rent). You can also post a 'looking for room' ad to see if someone is interested.

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    spareroom.co.uk seems like an amazing option, I've come across several sites like it, but they usually didn't allow short stays, while this one definitely has a (admittedly small) number of ads that do allow it - I'll definitely consider it. – fstanis Aug 26 '15 at 17:39
  • For posterity, there is another similar website called EasyRoomMate which does the same thing. – Matt Allwood Sep 18 '15 at 10:44
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rightmove.co.uk has a section for house shares, ie. renting a room. This is a well known legitimate site but despite that normal scam precautions should be taken.

It's normally illegal to charge renters to view properties/rooms.

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