London is not the cheapest place to stay short term so it is important to know what your options are when booking accommodation in London. Most of these websites are also excellent for booking accommodation across the UK and Europe.
If you are looking for work give yourself around 6 weeks (maybe a touch more) to find the work you seek. So the question to ask is given this time frame what short term accommodation options will suit your budget?
Do you have any friends who can put you up? This is known in UK terms as Dossing and it is important to not overstay your welcome, however, it is also the cheapest accommodation with the cost varying from being free to paying around £40-50 a week. If you don't have any friends who can put you up try the Couch Surfing website. Only expect the basics of sleeping on someone's couch!
The Standard of hostels in London has improved in recent times and they are a good source of budget accommodation if you are happy to share a room with strangers. To source hostels in London as well as Europe these two sites are very good Hostel World and Hostel Bookers.
If you are looking for a basic room and good value for money during summer in London it can be worth checking out these Universities that rent out student accommodation London School of Economics, Imperial College of Science and Technology.
An accommodation option that is now becoming popular is the short term rental of flats, houses and rooms let out directly by individuals. This option will often work out cheaper than a hotel. The following websites are excellent for sourcing rooms/properties as well as even renting out your own if going away. Try AirBnB, 9 Flats and Gumtree.
The two major budget hotel chains that offer simple and affordable hotel accommodation in the UK are Premier Inn, Travelodge. It can also be worth trying Easy Hotel which is more basic hotel accommodation but also represents excellent value for money and is situated in prime locations.
***Book accommodation as early as you can particularly in peak periods. Check the accommodations cancellation policy. If you do find accomodation with a free cancellations policy and have booked, it can still be worth checking at a later date to see if you can get a better deal.
*** If you see accommodation you like but don't like the price don't be afraid to contact the hotel directly and barter for a better price. If it is close to the time and they have free rooms it is in their interest to accept whatever money they can if it is reasonable. Obviously make sure you get any agreements in writing via an email.
*** Hunt around the different options and don't forget to factor in other added value items such as transfers, breakfast included etc.