Your ICMP Accommodation Guide

Learn all you need to know about finding the perfect home while studying with us in London…



London is at the heart of the world’s music industry and studying with ICMP in the city will give you the perfect platform to launch a successful career. 

The capital has a huge amount of gig venues from the basements of Soho to the cavernous O2 Arena giving you the chance to catch some of the world's best bands and artists in action. But alongside live music, the centre of the industry is in the city with many of the top record labels and music publishers calling it home. 

As well as the music industry, there are plenty of amazing experiences to enjoy, from great culture to world-beating food and drink. 

So with all these opportunities at your fingertips and a fantastic course to study, your next step will be to sort out your living arrangements. 

Here we offer our top tips for you to help you find the perfect home while with us. 

Research your location

We are located in Kilburn, a busy and vibrant part of London. We are well connected to London’s transport network via tube and overground. But if you don’t know London, then you should familiarise yourself with the city online, research various areas and their proximity to our base. 

This is a key aspect of your search and should include public transport, parks, places for grocery shopping, safety etc.

For public transport, you should find a place that has access to the tube (ideally to one of the night tubes). Buses are usually underrated as it is harder to get an overview of all relevant bus lines when you're first moving to London but they could offer great shortcuts for your journeys. The overground is particularly useful as it is goes directly to ICMP and to important live music places, such as Shoreditch or Camden.

Try to plan your journeys in a way that you're ideally sticking to one type of transport as it is cheaper.

If somewhere is more than five minutes away from any public transport, then perhaps go for a different location as even 10 minutes could become quite long if you're carrying instruments with you or are coming home at night (especially if it's raining...).

In general: the more transport options, the better it is - and use the five-minute rule for grocery shopping as well.

Get a range of property prices 

Don’t just sign up to live in the first place you see. Again, you’ll need to do your research and investigate a range of different places to see how far your money can get you. The cost of a room in a shared house in one area can differ widely to the price in another.

Do your research online, go and see some places and try and get yourself a good deal. Draw up a list comparing what you’ve found and see what works out best for you." 

Check what’s included in your contract 


Definitely read the full contract in detail (especially for things like cleaning at the end of your contract, possibilities to sub-letting rooms, who will be your contact (landlord or agency) and leaving time (usually you need to let them know six weeks to three months in advance if you want to leave), if you need to find the person that is overtaking your room...

I would also recommend having a friend or parent read the contract to point out potential issues. This is particularly important if English is not your first language.

Budget accordingly 

It is important to know your budget when you start searching for a place and also looking into putting some money aside for things like a holding deposit and deposit. Most places will have added bills (water, gas/electricity, Wi-Fi) and it is important to check if everyone in your place is a student. If they are not, then you might need to pay council tax.

It is particularly important to know your financial limits. Every student moving out for the first time should keep a record of all outgoing money for the first couple of months. It will help you get a feeling for your spending and where savings could be made if needed.

View your property thoroughly 

Here are a few things to look for or ask about when viewing a student rental property:

Damp or mould - look for any signs of potential damp such as a bad smell or damage to the walls. You can also ask the current tenants if they have suffered with any damp issues. 

Neighbours - bad neighbours can have a serious impact on your quality of life. Take a look from the outside - if the bins are overflowing with empty beer bottles, then consider how this could impact your studies. 

Don’t be pressured into taking somewhere - London is busy and property goes fast but you don’t want to be signing up for something just for the sake of it.

Give yourself plenty of time to find somewhere 

Looking for a flat or a house in London is time-consuming and you might be required to do several viewings. Please factor that into your summer planning. Starting viewings early is ideal, but not always possible as places often just get added to the market within six weeks of becoming available.

What really helps is to know exactly what you want, so that you can make a quick decision on taking a specific place (ideally within 24 hours of viewing somewhere)."

Ask for help or tips 


Places like ICMP's House Hunting Forum are a great place, as you can ask questions about everything that you might be unsure about - there are a lot of other people that are in a similar situation. Just remember: If you are having a bad feeling about anything, you are probably right. And if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Don't ignore any red flags if you see them!!

The majority of our students look for accommodation local to ICMP,  choosing to share houses with other ICMP students. We organise a number of house-sharing events to not only help you find a property, but also assist you with your search for friends to live with. These events are open to any new students arriving in September, as well as current students returning for their second or third years. 

We invite a select group of trusted local letting agents to our house-sharing events to present their latest student accommodation options. Alongside these agents, we also invite local housing advice organisations who are present to support, educate and inform students of their rights as tenants.

International students - think about your finances 

The only other thing would be around bank accounts. It is far easier and sometimes even needed to pay rent from a UK bank account or something like 'Revolut'. Therefore, it would make sense to get that set up when you're arriving (but you need to have your address and access to the post box of this address to do that)

The last thing to mention is that the big struggle for a lot of international students is to find a guarantor. Most places are looking for a UK guarantor although some are okay with guarantors from outside the UK (e.g. your parents) or six months upfront payment. This could potentially be an issue, so it is something to think about early.

Find out more about our next Accommodation Day.  

Take the first steps in your music career with ICMP

We've been developing and delivering contemporary music education for over 30 years – longer than any other music school in the UK. With a proven track-record, countless music industry connections and unrivalled access to facilities, it's easy to see why hundreds of students choose ICMP each year. 

To completely immerse yourself in your music career, chat with our friendly Admissions Team via email or give them a call on 020 7328 0222.

Find your course
by ICMP staff writer
August 6, 2021
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