Your budget

A budget will give an accurate idea of the types, locations and sizes of the property you can afford. When finding a place to live consider the cost of living, one-off costs, ongoing costs, and the necessity of having a UK bank account.

  1. Cost of living in London

    For a comparison of the cost of living in London and the cost of living elsewhere click  here. Or click  here for an overview of the costs of everyday items.

    1. One-off costs

      There is a variety of costs that will usually be incurred in securing a property. This is what you can usually expect.

      1. Administration fees

        Covering the cost of preparing the tenancy agreement, checking references and the estate agent fees.


      2. Credit checks

        There may be a cost for credit checks. This is to ensure that prospective tenants can afford the monthly rent and have no serious credit problems before any offer is accepted.


      3. Security deposit

        Normally this is between 4-6 weeks' rent. This deposit is an assurance to the landlord that when a tenant moves out, the property will be in the same condition that it was received in. If the property is damaged then the landlord may deduct funds from the deposit to cover the damage.

        Additionally most landlords will also ask for the first month's rent before allowing tenants to move in. Click here for an example of the costs.


    2. Ongoing costs

      There will usually be a series of ongoing costs to pay each month such as household bills, public transport costs, childcare or education costs and rent.

      1. Rent

        Rent will probably be your biggest outgoing and you should plan to spend a significant proportion of your income on it.

        Usually this will be advertised as a weekly cost; however, it will be charged at a monthly price, and usually paid in advance at the start of the month. To assess the monthly cost, multiply the weekly cost by 52 and then divide by 12. The average rent for a two-bedroom flat in London is approximately £1,500 a month.  

        This map details the average rents in London boroughs, so you can begin to see which areas may be affordable. Another London rent map arranged by underground stations can be found here. You can also view the Government rent map here.


    3. Bank account

      To receive your stipend or salary, pay bills, or access money, a UK bank account is required. It is by far the safest and most effective way of managing your money.

      However, the process can be quite long and complicated, due to bank safety rules and identity checks, which normally require you to attend a bank in person to open an account.

      We recommend using HSBC for banking services. A fast-track service has been set up for Crick staff and students, meaning the process should, in most cases, be hassle free. Email HR to set up an appointment.

      There are certain requirements when opening a bank account, such as:

      • A passport, including a valid visa.
      • Proof of employment or study, which will be a letter provided by the Crick HR team.
      • An address to send your card and paperwork to.
      • Proof of your overseas home address.

      Most new starters will be offered a basic bank account. This allows you to receive pay from the Crick, take money out, pay direct debits, make purchases online or in shops and manage money using internet, telephone and mobile banking services. These accounts do not however allow credit facilities such as overdrafts or credit cards.

      1. Banking terminology

        Automated Teller Machines (ATMs)

        These can be used at any time and can be found very commonly on high streets and outside most banks and supermarkets. In British English they are most commonly referred to as "cash machines".

        Debit card

        A small plastic card that allows you to withdraw cash from an account as well as pay for items in shops, restaurants and online.

        Direct debit

        A payment out of a bank account which is arranged by the organisation which receives the money, with the express agreement of the account holder. Usually used for paying household bills.

        Standing order

        An instruction by a bank's customer to the bank to pay an amount of money regularly to another account.

        Online banking

        Many banks offer an online banking service, which can be a convenient way of managing your finances. It is essential to keep your online banking username and passwords secure.


        An agreed extension of credit when your account reaches zero. There may be charges for late repayment of credit offered.

        Credit card

        A small plastic card that allows you to pay for items on credit.


  • Accessing money without a UK bank account can be expensive. With this in mind it is important to bring sufficient funds to cover initial expenses such as, living costs, temporary accommodation and transport, while an account is being set up. One option is a prepaid card which you can load cash onto and use like a debit card until you get one. For information click here.