Life in England / Moving to the UK

Find a Place To Live In The UK: Best Resources

Updated November 2, 2023

If you want to live in the UK for up to 6 months OR move here permanently, 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: either as a short term visitor OR as a permanent resident.

The usual rental and purchase options are available but are there housing or accommodation options in Great Britain you may not find in other countries? 

Because it’s helpful to have alternatives 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

live in the uk

Colorful street in Lyme Regis

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.

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? A la “The Holiday” movie with the Brit/LA swap between Cameron and Kate. If you’re willing to swap, it could be a money saver!

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. It helps if you have experience taking care of pets too.

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 are limited only by your budget and vision.

Use the national portals for renting and buying like Rightmove and Zoopla. Check out OpenRent where you rent directly from the landlord – those listings usually get 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.

live in the uk

Could you live on a narrowboat?

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. There’s always a bit of a housing shortage here so it’s competitive. If you see something you like, jump on it.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Get started by booking a place to scout your new home from home.

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 for Hip Places to Live!


About Author

With over 30 years in a creative role in advertising and publishing, and a lifetime of journeys between the US and UK, I've created Hipoverfifty for you. I hope my journey and perspective will guide you on yours.