​Housing in Lambeth

Here comes a reality check (well two actually).

You’re sold on working as a teacher in Lambeth because you’ve looked at what Lambeth has to offer here, here and here.

You know that it’s a great place to start your teaching career as an NQT but that it also offers amazing career development opportunities for qualified teachers, and that Lambeth is leading the way in ongoing continuing professional development and support.

But, then you look at the cost of housing in the borough and you wonder how on earth you’re going to afford to live here, even with your inner London weighting on your salary. And we know that salaries for teaching assistants and support staff mean that will be even tougher.

We’re not going to sugar coat that reality check - it’s not cheap to live in Lambeth or in any inner London borough. These are amazing places to live and work so the demand for affordable housing is high and that means a high cost for renting and real challenges in buying a home.

But, here’s the other reality check - it can be done!

Renting in Lambeth

If you’re going to live in Lambeth or any of the neighbouring inner London boroughs (basically in travel zones 1 to 3) then private renting is going to cost upwards of £600 to £800 per month - and at that level it is very unlikely to be in a place of your own. You’ll most likely be renting a room in a flatshare by looking for rooms on places like SpareRoom or RoomBuddies and the ubiquitous Gumtree.

Many will find that the cost is nearer to or more than £1000 per month when it comes to taking on a shared flat or house with friends or colleagues who come together to rent a larger place - but then your options for location, size and standard are going to be getting better.

Obviously either option gets easier if you’re renting as a couple so that you’re looking for a one bed with two incomes, but often that will still mean sharing with others.

For many who are moving to London for the first time this is not an unexpected reality. NQTs just leaving training will most likely be used to shared households whilst at University and might even be moving to London with groups of friends that they’ve shared with before.

In general that will mean looking for a place to rent from any of the sites that you’ll already be used to and that we’ve mentioned above, but London is awash with ways to look for a place to rent and doing the legwork isn’t going to be an obstacle. It’s the finding somewhere that you can afford and that you like and that allows you to live with people you like and get along with that is the challenge!

The Home website provides a daily update on the availability of rental accomodation in Lambeth (and everywhere) so that you can see average rent prices and how many places are on the market at any time. This tool can, of course, also be used to check out how rental prices vary in neighbouring boroughs or in commuting distance.

Many have made their first stop in London at a short term hostel and, although these have dwindled over the years, there are still some reputable hostel owners where private rooms are a viable option when you’re first finding your feet.

There's endless discussion online about why some people living in London are prepared to spend such a large proportion of their salary on their housing costs. For many it’s not an option or they aren’t prepared to spend so much (in which case they will need to look at other options) but for others it has become expected as the cost of living and working in central London.

The thing to remember is that there’s a lot of people who move to or around London and manage to make it work, even when choosing to rent in the inner London boroughs.

But for those with families or who might be unable or not prepared to make the budget work there are other options.

Social Housing in Lambeth

Like many councils, Lambeth has a shortage of social housing which both the council and the Mayor of London are working to address as rapidly as possible.

The reality is that all of the borough’s social housing, which is made up of council and housing association homes, is many times oversubscribed and notional eligibility will almost certainly mean a many year wait.

In order to apply for any of Lambeth’s social housing you’ll need to register first which you can do here, and then you’ll usually be eligible for the borough wide choice based lettings system. Note that such is the demand for the limited properties available that you are unlikely to be near the top of the queue.

Lambeth also offers housing benefit and council tax support here for those eligible. This is unlikely to apply to any teacher in full time employment but may be applicable to those in certain circumstances and may be more applicable for some of those in education assistant or administration roles in the borough.

It’s worth noting that there are some schemes that overlap with the borough’s social housing provision such as that for key workers from Peabody for which teachers are eligible and these are definitely worth researching depending on your specific circumstances.

Commuting to Lambeth

So, it might well be that your quality of life and resources mean that you choose (or are left with no choice) to commute to your job at a Lambeth school.

The good news is that’s a great option.

As we’ve mentioned many times when discussing why Lambeth is a great place to work, the travel links and enormous range of options for getting into and around the borough are many and varied.

The mainline station at Waterloo opens up longer distance but still very rapid commutes into the heart of Lambeth (as does neighbouring Victoria) and the potential commutes from the more suburban areas of London in every compass direction mean that you can spread your search for more affordable housing very far and wide.

Obviously you’ll need to factor in the cost of commuting but for many teachers in the borough it’s a simple choice to live slightly further out and commute in.

There really is no area that wouldn’t work for commuting into Lambeth and people in the borough live as far afield as Brighton, to the South, Essex to the East and in the Northern and Western outlying towns and suburbs.

The best place to begin a commuter search would most likely be along the main line from Waterloo since this has so many options, is a reliable mainline and the terminus is so centrally located and well served in the borough.

Buying a Home in Lambeth

What if you’re thinking that you might try and buy somewhere to live in Lambeth?

Impossible you might think.

Well it might well be tricky on a teacher’s pay but, again, it can be done and the Mayor of London is working on making it easier.

You’ll find lots of information on how the Mayor plans to make that happen and how far the process has come here - Homes for Londoners.

As that site says there is a focus on making homes available for teachers as part of the drive to attract the best teachers to London:

The Mayor has secured more than £4.8 billion from Government to help start building 116,000 genuinely affordable homes by 2022. These new homes will be both for sale and for rent. The Mayor will use this funding to support a range of affordable homes, and chiefly:

Homes based on social rent levels - for people on low incomes;

London Living Rent homes - helping Londoners on average incomes save for a deposit to buy their first home; and

London Shared Ownership homes - for people who want to buy but cannot afford to do so on the open market.

The Mayor's aim is for half of all new homes in London to be genuinely affordable. He is working with partners to get more affordable homes built on empty public land.

This scheme is up and running and the first homes are already handed over and you can now use a search tool on the Mayor of London’s website to see all of the homes in London that are available as part of the scheme.

Shared ownership in Lambeth is part of the Mayor’s scheme but there are also other routes such as this one from Share to Buy which offer some combination of part rent and part buy to make access to home owning in the borough more affordable. You’ll also find some homes from specialist developers looking to meet the demand from Londoners who want to live in the heart of London but are restricted by their budget. One such is Pocket Living who claim their properties are 20% cheaper than competing properties.

Help to Buy in Lambeth

The government runs a ‘help to buy’ scheme throughout England which has a London website detailing how the scheme works here.

Eligibility criteria are detailed here but are largely based on you having a 5% deposit and borrowing no more than 4.5 times your income.

There’s also an incentive to save the deposit for your home using a ‘Help to Buy ISA’ which sees the government add 25% to your saved deposit (up to £3,000).

The range of help to buy options available includes the following.

Help to Buy shared ownership – new-build homes or resale

Shared ownership offers the chance to buy a home on a part-buy/part-rent basis. You can buy initial shares worth between 25% and 75% of the property's market value.

Help to Buy: equity loans

The Help to Buy: equity loan scheme gives first-time buyers the opportunity to purchase a new-build home, with the help of an equity loan guaranteed by the government.

Rent to Buy

Rent to Buy gives you the chance to rent a new-build home from a housing association for an agreed period, at around 20% less than you would pay for a similar private rented home in the area.

Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities (HOLD)

HOLD aims to give people with long-term disabilities the chance to own a shared ownership home and to live independently. You'll need to meet the usual eligibility criteria for buying through Help to Buy, and you should be able to meet all the ongoing regular payments and costs of home ownership.

Discounted Rent

Discounted Rent (also known as ‘Intermediate Rent’) gives you the chance to rent a new-build home from a housing association for an initial six-month period, at around 20% less than you would pay for a similar private rented home in the area.

All of these options are available in Lambeth in one form or another depending on eligibility and availability.

Can you Afford to Live in Lambeth?

So, the upshot of this information is that where there’s a will there’s a way.

Especially for NQTs coming to the borough who are already used to living in shared accomodation the combination of the inner London weighting on salary and the availability of shared flats and houses means that this is viable.

For others with larger families it might be more challenging to live in the borough, but not impossible for many, and when all else is considered the commuting options remain very attractive.

Here comes a reality check (well two actually).

You’re sold on working as a teacher in Lambeth because you’ve looked at what Lambeth has to offer here, here and here.

You know that it’s a great place to start your teaching career as an NQT but that it also offers amazing career development opportunities for qualified teachers, and that Lambeth is leading the way in ongoing continuing professional development and support.

But, then you look at the cost of housing in the borough and you wonder how on earth you’re going to afford to live here, even with your inner London weighting on your salary. And we know that salaries for teaching assistants and support staff mean that will be even tougher.

We’re not going to sugar coat that reality check - it’s not cheap to live in Lambeth or in any inner London borough. These are amazing places to live and work so the demand for affordable housing is high and that means a high cost for renting and real challenges in buying a home.

But, here’s the other reality check - it can be done!

Renting in Lambeth

If you’re going to live in Lambeth or any of the neighbouring inner London boroughs (basically in travel zones 1 to 3) then private renting is going to cost upwards of £600 to £800 per month - and at that level it is very unlikely to be in a place of your own. You’ll most likely be renting a room in a flatshare by looking for rooms on places like SpareRoom or RoomBuddies and the ubiquitous Gumtree.

Many will find that the cost is nearer to or more than £1000 per month when it comes taking on a shared flat or house with friends or colleagues who come together to rent a larger place together - but then your options for location, size and standard are going to be getting better.

Obviously either option gets easier if you’re renting as a couple so that you’re looking for a one bed with two incomes, but often that will still mean sharing with others.

For many who are moving to London for the first time this is not an unexpected reality. NQTs just leaving training will most likely be used to shared households whilst at University and might even be moving to London with groups of friends that they’ve shared with before.

In general that will mean looking for a place to rent from any of the sites that you’ll already be used to and that we’ve mentioned above, but London is awash with ways to look for a place to rent and doing the legwork isn’t going to be an obstacle. It’s the finding somewhere that you can afford and that you like and that allows you to live with people you like and get along with that is the challenge!

The Home website provides a daily update on the availability of rental accomodation in Lambeth (and everywhere) so that you can see average rent prices and how many places are on the market at any time. This tool can, of course, also be used to check out how rental prices vary in neighbouring boroughs or in commuting distance.

Many have made their first stop in London at a short term hostel and, although these have dwindled over the years, there are still some reputable hostel owners where private rooms are a viable option when you’re first finding your feet.

There's endless discussion online about why some people living in London are prepared to spend such a large proportion of their salary on their housing costs. For many it’s not an option or they aren’t prepared to spend so much (in which case they will need to look at other options) but for others it has become expected as the cost of living and working in central London.

The thing to remember is that there’s a lot of people who move to or around London and manage to make it work, even when choosing to rent in the inner London boroughs.

But for those with families or who might be unable or not prepared to make the budget work there are other options.

Social Housing in Lambeth

Like many councils, Lambeth has a shortage of social housing which both the council and the Mayor of London are working to address as rapidly as possible.

The reality is that all of the borough’s social housing, which is made up of council and housing association homes, is many times oversubscribed and notional eligibility will almost certainly mean a many year wait.

In order to apply for any of Lambeth’s social housing you’ll need to register first which you can do here, and then you’ll usually be eligible for the borough wide choice based lettings system. Note that such is the demand for the limited properties available that you are unlikely to be near the top of the queue.

Lambeth also offers housing benefit and council tax support here for those eligible. This is unlikely to apply to any teacher in full time employment but may be applicable to those in certain circumstances and may be more applicable for some of those in education assistant or administration roles in the borough.

It’s worth noting that there are some schemes that overlap with the borough’s social housing provision such as that for key workers from Peabody for which teachers are eligible and these are definitely worth researching depending on your specific circumstances.

Commuting to Lambeth

So, it might well be that your quality of life and resources mean that you choose (or are left with no choice) to commute to your job at a Lambeth school.

The good news is that’s a great option.

As we’ve mentioned many times when discussing why Lambeth is a great place to work, the travel links and enormous range of options for getting into and around the borough are many and varied.

The mainline station at Waterloo opens up longer distance but still very rapid commutes into the heart of Lambeth (as does neighbouring Victoria) and the potential commutes from the more suburban areas of London in every compass direction mean that you can spread your search for more affordable housing very far and wide.

Obviously you’ll need to factor in the cost of commuting but for many teachers in the borough it’s a simple choice to live slightly further out and commute in.

There really is no area that wouldn’t work for commuting into Lambeth and people in the borough live as far afield as Brighton, to the South, Essex to the East and in the Northern and Western outlying towns and suburbs.

The best place to begin a commuter search would most likely be along the main line from Waterloo since this has so many options, is a reliable mainline and the terminus is so centrally located and well served in the borough.

Buying a Home in Lambeth

What if you’re thinking that you might try and buy somewhere to live in Lambeth?

Impossible you might think.

Well it might well be tricky on a teacher’s pay but, again, it can be done and the Mayor of London is working on making it easier.

You’ll find lots of information on how the Mayor plans to make that happen and how far the process has come here - Homes for Londoners.

As that site says there is a focus on making homes available for teachers as part of the drive to attract the best teachers to London:

The Mayor has secured more than £4.8 billion from Government to help start building 116,000 genuinely affordable homes by 2022. These new homes will be both for sale and for rent. The Mayor will use this funding to support a range of affordable homes, and chiefly:

Homes based on social rent levels - for people on low incomes;

London Living Rent homes - helping Londoners on average incomes save for a deposit to buy their first home; and

London Shared Ownership homes - for people who want to buy but cannot afford to do so on the open market.

The Mayor's aim is for half of all new homes in London to be genuinely affordable. He is working with partners to get more affordable homes built on empty public land.

This scheme is up and running and the first homes are already handed over and you can now use a search tool on the Mayor of London’s website to see all of the homes in London that are available as part of the scheme.

Shared ownership in Lambeth is part of the Mayor’s scheme but there are also other routes such as this one from Share to Buy which offer some combination of part rent and part buy to make access to home owning in the borough more affordable. You’ll also find some homes from specialist developers looking to meet the demand from Londoners who want to live in the heart of London but are restricted by their budget. One such is Pocket Living who claim their properties are 20% cheaper than competing properties.

Help to Buy in Lambeth

The government runs a ‘help to buy’ scheme throughout England which has a London website detailing how the scheme works here.

Eligibility criteria are detailed here but are largely based on you having a 5% deposit and borrowing no more than 4.5 times your income.

There’s also an incentive to save the deposit for your home using a ‘Help to Buy ISA’ which sees the government add 25% to your saved deposit (up to £3,000).

The range of help to buy options available includes the following.

Help to Buy shared ownership – new-build homes or resale

Shared ownership offers the chance to buy a home on a part-buy/part-rent basis. You can buy initial shares worth between 25% and 75% of the property's market value.

Help to Buy: equity loans

The Help to Buy: equity loan scheme gives first-time buyers the opportunity to purchase a new-build home, with the help of an equity loan guaranteed by the government.

Rent to Buy

Rent to Buy gives you the chance to rent a new-build home from a housing association for an agreed period, at around 20% less than you would pay for a similar private rented home in the area.

Home Ownership for people with Long-term Disabilities (HOLD)

HOLD aims to give people with long-term disabilities the chance to own a shared ownership home and to live independently. You'll need to meet the usual eligibility criteria for buying through Help to Buy, and you should be able to meet all the ongoing regular payments and costs of home ownership.

Discounted Rent

Discounted Rent (also known as ‘Intermediate Rent’) gives you the chance to rent a new-build home from a housing association for an initial six-month period, at around 20% less than you would pay for a similar private rented home in the area.

All of these options are available in Lambeth in one form or another depending on eligibility and availability.

Can you Afford to Live in Lambeth?

So, the upshot of this information is that where there’s a will there’s a way.

Especially for NQTs coming to the borough who are already used to living in shared accomodation the combination of the inner London weighting on salary and the availability of shared flats and houses means that this is viable.

For others with larger families it might be more challenging to live in the borough, but not impossible for many, and when all else is considered the commuting options remain very attractive.