If you want to live in the UK for up to 6 months or permanently move here, then you’ll need a place to live!
Which is why I’ve put together the best resources to find the right place to stay here: as a short term visitor OR a permanent resident.
The usual rental and purchase options are available but are there other housing or accommodation options in Great Britain you may not find in other countries?
It’s helpful to have alternatives in addition to the traditional rent or buy choices.
If you’re moving here in stages, as I did, you’ll need some flexible options up your sleeve. For example you may be house shopping or waiting for your home sale to be completed and need an interim place to live. Perhaps you’d like to sample different parts of the country to see which is your best fit.
Let’s see what’s available!
Find a Place to Live in the UK – Best Resources
Find a Place to Live as a Short Term Visitor
As a non-resident visitor, legally you’re not able to sign a lease or letting agreement through a high street estate agency without proof of the “right to remain” or a British passport.
You can buy a home but you wouldn’t be able to live in it beyond the 6 month allowable period for visitors.
However if you’re looking for accommodation for up to 6 months you’ll find options through short term rental agencies and online booking services such as Airbnb or VRBO. I’ve also included some nationwide UK agencies that manage vacation rentals.
1. Short Term Rental
Perfect when you need a home from home by the week or month. Furnished short lets for up to 6 months may be available especially during winter in holiday spots.
- Cottages.com – agency that represents individual owners
- Original Cottages – agency that represents individual owners
- VRBO – vacation rental by owner
2. Rent a Room
If you’re traveling solo, then finding a room to rent through one of these sites may be an affordable option.
- SpareRoom – find rooms for rent, houseshares and flatmates
- Cohabitas – find house, flat or roomshares for over 40’s
- Gumtree – find private room shares, rooms, rentals
3. Home Swap
Do you have a home you’d like to swap for another in the UK? Think “The Holiday” that Brit/LA swap between Cameron and Kate. If you’re willing to swap, could be a money saver!
- Love Home Swap – swap your home for one in the UK
- Guardian Home Exchange – home swap service
- Home Exchange – international home swap site
4. House Sitting/Caretaking
Although quite competitive, finding a house or pet sitting gig in the UK may be the ideal low cost way to try out life here.
- Caretaker Gazette – mostly US but some international caretaking opportunities
- Trusted Housesitters – house and pet sitting service
- MindMyHouse – house and pet sitting service
5. Buy a Home
You can open a bank account and buy a home here without being a resident.
Find a Place to Live as a Permanent Resident
As a permanent resident or legal citizen of the UK, you have the right to live in any type of accommodation you choose; your options limited only by your budget and vision.
Use the national portals for renting and buying such as Rightmove and Zoopla, plus there’s OpenRent where you rent directly from the landlord (typically those listings are also posted on Rightmove).
Interestingly there are some options which may be unique to the UK, such as cohousing and living on a narrowboat.
Cohousing gives those who may want to live sustainably the chance to live with others and share housing, garden, land and a social connection. But there are many different types of cohousing and it’s worth checking out even if you’re into a more conventional lifestyle.
Living on a narrowboat or a floating home may not be for everyone but judging by how many boats I see cruising local canals, it might be fun to check it out if you’re handy and able to downsize!
1. Rent or Buy a Home in the UK
Set up search alerts on these well known property portals to hear about new homes in your target neighborhoods. It’s still competitive here so if you see something you like, jump on it.
- Zoopla – UK rent or buy portal
- On the Market – UK rent or buy portal
- Gumtree – rent/buy classifieds private and agency
2. Build a Home in the UK
If you’ve got a vision and looking for a bespoke home, contact a local home builder to get started.
- Find House Builders – search for a UK home builder
- My Builder – search for a UK home builder
- Help to Build – UK government program
3. CoHousing in the UK
Cohousing means sharing the cost of a home and land amongst others. Each community is different so take a look to see if one fits your lifestyle.
- Cohousing Network – find cohousing connections
- Diggers and Dreamers – list of cohousing options in UK
4. Boat/Tiny Homes in the UK
Does living small or in a tiny appeal to you? Find out what it’s all about. Tiny homes have not taken off as they have in the US and may have limited locations to “tiny” but it’s worth a look.
- Living on a Narrowboat – How Much Does it Cost?
- Live on a Canal Boat
- Tiny Housing Co.
- Tiny Eco Homes
5. Caravan | Park Homes in the UK
Mobile homes are called caravans here and there are many mobile home parks. The majority don’t allow year round living but that may be just right for you.
- Living in a Caravan Full Time – what is it like really?
- Residential Park Homes – park homes are non mobile homes
- Luxury Park Homes
Finding a home in England and the UK is the first step to enjoying life here to the fullest. I know I didn’t really feel like this was home until I signed my first lease and committed to living here for 6 months. There’s no substitute!
If you’d like to live in the UK for up to 6 months, my guide gives you all the details you’ll need like where I recommend staying, what your options are for citizenship, how to bring your pet over and much much more. Get it here!
Also why not visit me on Youtube. I’ve stared doing a series of Hip Places to Live!