The Cheapest Places to Live in London: 7 Affordable Boroughs to Check Out in 2023

London is one of the world’s most vibrant and exciting cities, but it also happens to be one of the most expensive. When researching this article, I typed in “affordable rent in London” and I think Google laughed at me. 

I’ve lived here a long time, and I know firsthand that looking for the cheapest place to live in London is not easy.

I’m not giving up, though! I believe everyone who wants to live in London should be able to. So here I’m bringing you the cheapest places to live in London in a simple list.

If you’re willing to do a bit of research and compromise on location and amenities, there is affordable rent in London to be found that won’t totally break the bank. 

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the most affordable rent in London, as well as general tips for finding cheap places to live in London. Trust me: living here is worth every penny.  

Cheapest Places to Live in London: Tips & Suggestions

Once you’ve figured out your budget for renting in London (there’s a great calculator here), it’s time to start your property search. If it’s your first time renting in London, read my rental guide. Here are my best tips for finding affordable rent in London. 

Schools & Safety

If you have kids, schools are paramount, and safety is important. Read my guide to the safest areas in London, and my posts on the best boroughs for primary schools in London, and the best boroughs for secondary schools in London.

1. Find Flatshares: Shared Housing & Roommates 

Starting with the number one cheapest way to live in London: live with other people! Sharing a flat or house with roommates can offer affordable rent for living in London.

Websites like Spare Room and Ideal Flatmate offer a variety of options for shared accommodation, but start with who you know. The prospect of living with friends is much easier than living with strangers! Everyone is trying to make it here in London, so flatshare opportunities abound so everyone can have affordable rent.

Just make sure you split spaces, chores, cleaning, and cooking equally to avoid resentment. 

2. Consider Co-living 

Co-living spaces have become increasingly popular in London, offering shared accommodation at a lower price point than studios or 1 beds. These places are popping up all over central London and are often in prime locations and some of them are pretty posh. Check out my list of best places to live and see if there’s a co-living space in those areas.

In co-living spaces you rent your own room, and sometimes your own bathroom, but share common spaces like kitchens and living areas. Many co-living spaces also offer amenities like gyms, pools, cinemas, and social events. These aren’t generally cheaper than a flatshare, but offer more community and none of the flatmate drama. The biggest reason to choose co-living is to be in a more central location with more affordable rent in London.

3. Piece Together House & Pet Sitting 

Some homeowners in London offer free or cheap accommodation in exchange for house-sitting and pet-sitting while they’re away. This can be a great option for those on a tight budget, but it really only works if you are completely flexible and have a backup plan (like sleeping on a friend’s sofa for the night) if you don’t have a house-sitting gig lined up.

I wouldn’t recommend it long-term, but if you’re in a pinch and have a month between flat rentals, this is definitely an option. Websites like Trusted Housesitters and House Sitters UK can help you find house sitting jobs. If you network and get great reviews, you’ll have more opportunities. This is also a great idea if you’re in a flatshare and need a break from your roommates for a week.

4. Negotiate Rent

Don’t be afraid to negotiate the price of rent, especially if you can offer something others can’t. Are you willing to sign a longer lease or pay upfront?

Depending on the landlord, they may knock some rent off if you can take care of simple maintenance,  repairs and home improvement yourself (if you’re handy and know how to do that stuff). It may not work, and don’t drive so hard a bargain that they don’t want to rent to you. But hey, it’s worth a shot! 

5. Consider Longer Commutes

While living in central London may be more convenient, it’s way more expensive. Consider living further out from the city and taking public transport into work to save money on rent. Make sure to calculate your added transportation costs to make sure it really is saving you money to live further out, as train fares can add up. 

Below is my list of the most affordable boroughs and suggestions on where to look. Keep in mind that the most affordable boroughs are generally a bit farther out.

6. Work from Home if You Can

You can live farther outside of central London if you don’t have to go into central London everyday! Even if you can work from home 2 days a week, that’s 2 days of transport costs you can save that can be put toward rent. Plus, it’ll make days you do have to commute more bearable if you get a break from the commute crush during the week. 

If you only had to commute 3 days instead of 5, would you consider one of the most affordable boroughs? Think about it and keep your options open.

The Cheapest Places to Live in London: Most Affordable Boroughs 

If you’re looking for affordable rent in London, you’ve got to go outward from central London. Here are the best boroughs that are still in greater London but don’t have a terrible commute. I’ve included the train journey times from the main central stations in each borough. 

I’ve also included the lowest rent prices according to Foxton’s, but keep in mind that this number is for what properties they have listed at the time. This will fluctuate and there may not be something for exactly that price listed at any one time, but it’s a good general price guide for the lowest rent price. Prices are in pounds per week (PPW). 

If budget is less of an issue for you, check out my list of the best places to live in London.

1. Barking and Dagenham 

Located in Zone 5 of East London, Barking and Dagenham offers affordable rent in London that is still very close to central london. Rent for a one-bedroom apartment can be as low as £800 per month, with many options for shared accommodation and house shares. 

Commute: 20 minutes to Central London 

Lowest rent price: £381 PPW

2. Croydon

As one of the largest suburban areas in London, Croydon is an affordable option located in Zone 5-6 of South London. With good transport links to central London, Croydon offers a variety of rental options at more affordable prices than central London.

Commute: 30 minute train ride to central london 

Lowest rent price: £254 PPW

3. Lewisham

Situated in southeast London, Lewisham is another affordable option for those looking for cheap places to live in London. With plenty of green spaces, good shopping options, and an easy commute to central London, Lewisham has become an increasingly popular destination for young professionals.

Commute: 20 minute train ride to Central London 

Lowest rent price: £369 PPW

4. Waltham Forest  

 Located in East London, Waltham Forest is a diverse borough with plenty of green spaces and cultural attractions. It is also one of the cheapest places to live in London, with a range of rental options available at affordable prices.

Commute: 30 minutes on the train to central london 

Lowest Rental Price: £474 PPW

5. Newham

Another East London borough, Newham offers a mix of residential and commercial areas. While it’s not as well-known as some other London neighborhoods, it’s becoming an increasingly popular option for those seeking affordable rent. Newham also has one of the cheapest council tax rates in east London

Commute: 25 minutes train ride to central london 

Lowest rental price: £300 PPW

6. Hounslow

Located in West London, Hounslow is a diverse area with good transport links to central London. With a mix of new and old housing stock, there are definitely affordable rental options available. Plus, it’s right near Heathrow Airport, so you can take advantage of cheap flight deals when they pop up. 

Commute: 55 minutes on the train to central london 

 Lowest rental price: £323 PPW

7. Ealing 

Located in West London, Ealing is becoming more and more popular for those moving out of Central London since the opening of the new Elizabeth line. The center of Ealing has everything you need for shopping and basic entertainment, and it’s an easy commute into central London. Ealing also has one of the cheapest council tax rates in West London. 

Commute: 35 minutes on the train to central london

Lowest Rental Price: £231 PPW

Cheapest Places to Live in London: Final Thoughts 

Living in London doesn’t have to break the bank. By considering the above neighborhoods and general tips for finding affordable accommodation, you can find the cheapest place to live in London that suits your budget and lifestyle. Don’t be afraid to think outside the box and explore different neighborhoods and accommodation options to find the perfect fit for you!

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