How to Get a Spare Room in London | London Northerner

Practical Bits

So, you want to move down south? It sounds great, but in reality, the move can be a hectic maze of fees, websites, and jargon. We at the London Northerner have been through it all and are here to help.

The best websites for flat sharing in London

Spare room

  • 1. Facebook
  • 2. Airbnb
  • 3. Zoopla and Rightmove
  • 4. Gumtree

Before making any moves, have a think and seriously consider the following:

  • where do i want to live? Our whole site is dedicated to showing you what areas are actually like to live in, take a look!
  • What will my commute be like? Citymapper is great for gauging an estimate of costs and times.
  • What is my absolute budget for rent, bills, agency fees, and commuting?
  • Do i have enough money to place a deposit equivalent to 6 weeks rent + the first month’s rent + agency fees (which can be around £250 per person) + a month’s bills?

Once this is all sorted, here’s where to start looking.

Spare room

Spare room is the main hun for flatting activity on the interweb.

Our first advice is to write a generic statement, including; your age, gender, occupation, move in date, hobbies, and preference in flat environment (we found “clean and quietly sociable” was a winner).

Our second nugget of wisdom is to never contact an agent unless you need to move pronto, and don’t care if the place you enquire about isn’t that place. London is filled stories of people going to meet these agencies, in Ellis Island style offices, finding and moving into a new home that same day. It’s ruthlessly fast and manic. But if you’re desperate- agencies are your friends!


You want move to London? Have you told absolutely everyone on Facebook of your intentions? People know people. Call in a favour, it is an incredibly fruitful strategy.

Also, here are our top pics of Facebook groups you need to join if you want to find somewhere in the comfort of having seen your new flatmate’s holiday photos from 2014.


Rooms can be found on Airbnb for £25 per night. That’s about £775. In other words, Airbnb is a surprisingly good avenue for finding nice and secure shelter in the capital.

The review system keeps things transparent, payment is clean and safe, and bills are naturally included.

Zoopla & Rightmove

Yes, they are house finding sites. If you fiddle around with the advanced search features, you should be able to find a room advertised.

What’s more, the filters are unrivalled in allowing you to target preferred areas and other “musts” you may have.


Gumtree is the wild west of the house/ room search. You may well find some gold. Take a look now and again, what harm will it do?

Some general houseviewing advice

Remember that any viewings are two-way interviews, “flatting” is a big commitment to a long-term relationship with random humans. Take off your shoes, shake hands, and compliment their house. This applies even if it smells crusty and the beds are unmade.

As a boring person would say, let someone know where you’re going. You’re likely fine, but just do it anyway.

Finally, be prepared for heartbreak. You likely won’t find the house you love. You may cycle over town for hours to find that the landlord is a no show or let the flat 10 minutes earlier. Get over it. Bounce back, rebound, and find somewhere else. 10 million people live here and most of them managed to find a bed.


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