If you live in Islington, Newington, Green or Highbury, you’re lucky enough to have some of the UK’s top universities, if not on your doorstep, then an easy commute away.

According to the Times Education Supplement (TES) London is home to three of the UK’s top five universities – Imperial College, University College London (UCL) and the London School of Economics (LSE). These establishments are ranked behind only Oxford and Cambridge in the UK, with Imperial College rated ninth in the world, says the TES.

The LSE, with a Central London campus close to Islington, is one of the world’s top social science universities, attracting students from across the globe.

Based in nearby Bloomsbury, UCL describes itself as London’s leading multidisciplinary university. Founded in 1826, UCL was England’s first university to accept students of any religion and to welcome women on equal terms with men.

A great place to be a student

With so many prestigious institutions, it’s no surprise that London was recently rated the world’s best city to be a student, beating Tokyo, Paris and previous winner, Montreal. According to the BBC, the ratings, by QS higher education data analysts, considered the number of well-regarded universities in each city, as well as the local jobs market, cultural diversity and quality of life.

The Complete University Guide’s top 10

UCL, Imperial and the LSE also score highly in the Complete University Guide’s London league table for 2109. This authoritative study uses entry standards, student satisfaction, research quality and graduate prospects as factors that decide a university’s overall ranking.

Its 10 top ranking puts the LSE ahead of Imperial College, followed by UCL, King’s College London, Queen Mary, SOAS, Brunel, St George’s, Goldsmiths and City University.

Several of these top-ranking universities are in North or Central London – easily reached from Islington or Newington Green. They include SOAS University of London – Europe’s lead institution for the study of Asia, Africa and the Near and Middle East.

City University has a campus in Northampton Square, close to Angel station. It is committed to academic excellence, focused on business and the professions, and attracts students from more than 160 countries.

The university effect

Having top universities close at hand has several benefits. Across the UK, towns with a sought-after university see significant house price rises over the period of a three-year degree course. This is due to higher demand for property, but also the improved feel-good factor a student population and well-regarded institution can bring to an area.

A university in your area can provide opportunities, whether or not you’re interested in a full-time undergraduate course. If you’re looking at a career change, Birkbeck, part of the University of London in nearby Bloomsbury, specialises in evening study and is ranked within London’s top 25 establishments. Plus, many campuses share their learning through regular public lecture programmes – find out more on the what’s free in London website.

Study from home

In the BBC report, the only negative about studying in London was affordability, hence the trend for more and more young people applying to universities close to home. Since the introduction of tuition fees more students have opted to remain living with parents – it’s through that around a quarter now do so. If you or your children are looking at university entrance, a high-ranking institution close to home may be a good option.

Investing in student buy-to-let

Having a university nearby is also a good reason to invest in buy-to-let property. Students are a ready market, but universities are major employers too.

And if your children are applying to university, investing in a property where they can live might be a financially astute option, saving on their living costs and bringing in extra income from rent.

Finding a student rental property

Few students are able to stay in university accommodation, such as halls of residence, for their whole period of study. If buying a property isn’t an option, you’ll need to look at a place to rent, most likely as a flat share. When searching for university accommodation begin by drawing up a list of your minimum requirements.

Set a budget, define the location you want to live in (take account of both the journey time to university and facilities in easy reach, such as supermarkets and transport links) and consider whether you want to live alone or be part of a student flat share.

For a student let, good security, working smoke alarms, a Gas Safety certificate, plenty of light and space to study, as well as a commute of less than 30 minutes, should be you main criterial.

Next, make the funds you’ll require available immediately. When using a reputable lettings agency to find private accommodation, you will need to produce a deposit and rent in advance to secure your student let.

Questions to ask before a viewing

  • Before you set out to view a property, you should ask
  • What is the agency fee?
  • If the property is for five or more people, does it have an HMO licence?
  • How much is the deposit?
  • What furnishings/appliances are included as part of the rent?
  • What bills are included in the rent? Full-time students are exempt from paying council tax but part-time students aren’t.
  • Is there cycle storage?
  • What is the study space like? If advertised as a student let, the landlord is responsible for providing a desk and a chair.
  • Check the property’s connectivity – make sure there is a good wifi connection and reliable broadband before you sign up.

When viewing a property, remember to take photos or videos. This will allow you, and any potential housemates, to keep your memories of the viewing fresh when discussing whether to take a tenancy.

Agreeing the deal

Most tenancy agreements run for 12 months, but students renting in areas not used exclusively by undergraduates, such as Newington Green, may be able to get a break clause inserted in to the agreement. This allows the tenant to give notice at any time during the second half of the agreement.

For a young person renting private accommodation in London for the first time, the process can be stressful, especially if you are a newcomer to the capital.

Whether you are an undergraduate or postgraduate student, or a parent, it is our aim to make finding your home in Newington Green, Stoke Newington, Highbury or Islington as straightforward as possible. For further advice, get in touch with M&M Property today.