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How do I get student accommodation in the UK? – Guide

How do I get student accommodation in the UK

The hardest part of moving abroad is finding accommodation. It’s best to start looking as soon as possible to get the best combination of location, price, and cool flatmates.  

However, with all the processes for applying for the University and purchasing airplane tickets, accommodation often falls at the bottom of your list of priorities. Do not worry, there are plenty of student accommodation options out there, even if you just decide to look at them at the last minute. 

Usually, students in the UK either live in halls of residence (student halls on-campus or off-campus) or in private accommodation as their home. Our guide on how do I get student accommodation in the UK will provide you with all the information you need about finding suitable student accommodation. You can depend on this guide to provide you with all the information you require.

Also Read: How to get a nursing career in the UK

What are the types of accommodation I can get in the UK as a student?

Halls of residence

Halls of residence [means student housing or dormitory] is a British term for student accommodation and there are two types: university halls and private halls usually located off-campus.  

Many of these hotels consist of 5–10 rooms on one floor that share a kitchen and living room. All usually have a bathroom or share a bathroom with their neighbor. There are plenty of room types you can choose from, single room, double room or deluxe room, all depending on the budget available to you.  

The benefit of living in a hall of residence is that you are surrounded by students and therefore more likely to make new friends. Additionally, university halls of residence are usually located on campus, so you can avoid the daily commute and public transport. You’ll be able to arrive 10 minutes prior to your lecture and still make it on time. 

In the UK, you can select catered or non-catered halls of residence. In catered halls, you get three meals per day and have a common kitchen at your disposal if you get hungry in between meals.  The price of the room doesn’t differ based on whether it’s privately rented or if it’s university-owned, but a catered option could cost more. 

If you have been offered a place at the university, most application options for university halls of residence will automatically be sent to your email. This means you should apply as soon as possible if you want to reserve a place on campus, as there are limited rooms available.  

If you get accepted, in most cases you will need to pay the rent in advance. It can be either six months in advance or a whole academic year, depending on the accommodation. 

Private accommodation

There are a variety of private houses available to students who choose to live in them. Most of the houses become available in June, once all exams are done and the academic year is over. During the summer, most students return home and leave their current accommodations. 

It’s a lot easier if you have some friends you want to live with so you can find your flat together. If you are coming alone and want a house, it’s not a problem there are many other students searching for both a house and flatmates.  

If it is a flat or house, single room, double room, flatmates–anywhere–then SpareRoom is the best place to start your search. Just specify what you have in mind and you can find what you need. Another website that offers not just house rentals but second-hand stuff as well (in case you need some furniture, for example) is Gumtree.  

Gumtree covers all UK regions, no matter where you choose to study. Another option is Facebook marketplace, which often makes the communication with the landlord much easier and you get to see their profile.  

Although arranging private accommodation can be a challenge, especially if you’re moving from far away, don’t pay anything in advance until you have seen the property in person or have met the landlord in person.  

Take a look at the place you would like to rent and ensure the location, size and price are all in order. As you begin to settle in and meet people who share your apartment, you will begin to feel more comfortable and ready for all the courses ahead of you. 

How much does student accommodation cost in the UK?

The average cost for weekly rent in the UK in purpose-built student accommodation from 2018 is about £147

· Private sector accommodation averaged £148 a week for an ensuite room and £193 for a studio

· In London, the average was £178 per week for university accommodation and £233 for the private sector

· Small variations in weekly rent add up to a significant amount over the course of a year

· Many students opt to study where it’s cheaper, e.g. Wales, and save over £2,000 a year compared with London

However, this is not the whole picture, particularly if you intend to work part-time in London because the average wage is usually higher than what you’ll get in other parts of the country. Length of contract in private sector accommodation is likely to be higher (46 weeks, and often 52 weeks) than for university-owned property, and deposits nearer £250 (higher in London) can be expected.

Longer let’s are becoming more popular, and many students find them to be an advantage. You can keep your belongings with you and stay to obtain holiday work in the university or nearby.

You might even get a rent discount, especially if you’re staying in the property for a further year. Wherever you decide to live, be aware you may be expected to pay a term’s rent in advance. You could also opt to find shared accommodation with your friends. 

What is next after securing an Accommodation?

Initial deposits

An advanced deposit is a necessity. This could be up to £300 in the private sector (much higher in London) and as much as £200 in university-owned accommodation. Your deposit will be returned, net of deductions, at the end of the contract.

The return of deposits and the fairness of wear and tear are recurring issues, particularly in the private sector. Mandatory deposit protection schemes, thus, ensure deposits are immediately returned and any disputes are swiftly and affordably resolved. Your deposit will be covered by an insurance scheme or lodged with an independent body, not the landlord.

These schemes, however, only apply to ‘assured short hold tenancies’, so be sure to check the details before signing. Your landlord or agent is required to tell you how your deposit is protected within 30 days after receiving it, so ask them for it in writing.

Tenancy Agreement:

Once you’ve settled on the shared house, flat or bedsit you like, the next thing is to sort out the paperwork. The landlord will likely ask for you to sign a lease or a licence. This is a legal document, so read it carefully before signing. It’s much easier to agree terms at this early stage than it is to do so after you’ve signed and moved in. This is one of those occasions in your life when it pays (literally) to read the small print.

The housing charity Shelter has plenty of information on tenancy agreements and renting generally in England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland for those who cannot understand some of the clauses.

If you’re sharing with other students, be aware that a joint tenancy implies joint liability so you might end up being responsible for the deeds of others. If your landlord needs a guarantor – somebody who’ll sign the tenancy agreement and pay the rent or other charges if you don’t – they may well be liable for the actions and unpaid rent of others.

After you’ve signed your tenancy, you should also receive these documents (ask for them if you don’t):

  • A rent book, in the unlikely event that rent is payable on a weekly basis
  • A recent gas safety certificate issued by a recognized Gas Safe engineer
  • A record of current gas/electricity meter readings – if not, take your own readings as soon as you move in
  • Inventory and schedule of condition – if you’re given one, check it for accuracy and annotate any changes; if not, make one of your own, have it witnessed and send it to the landlord, keeping a copy yourself and taking photos if necessary to record any initial damage

Utility Bills:

Landlords are increasingly including the cost of energy and other items like water, WiFi, or contents insurance in the rent agreement. Understand how the service is charged and if there are any limitations to usage.

Never part with money without getting a receipt and keep a copy of all documents. Remember that by law, your landlord can’t increase the rent more than once a year unless your agreement contains a rent review clause.

Generally, residents who are full-time students don’t have to pay council tax. For example, you may need an exemption certificate from the university to prove that one of them isn’t. If two or more aren’t students, a reduced council tax will be applicable.

Tips on how to choose the right student accommodation:

New students are often faced with a number of important decisions when preparing for university life. So, once you’ve chosen where you want to study, the next question to ask is: “Where am I going to live?”

The factors you ought to consider when deciding which student accommodation is right for you are numerous. Finding the right place to live should be easy, so here are a few thoughts to help you decide:

Internet Connection:

As a student, one of the biggest requirements is a strong and reliable INTERNET connection. This is particularly important if you prefer to study from your own room, so being confident that your accommodations can deliver a trustworthy internet connection is very important.


Another factor that is crucial is LOCATION. The place you live is very important when considering where you want to live; think about the convenience of your accommodation; can you walk everywhere? Do you have access to both university facilities and the local shops and nightlife? Although properties that are not in a central location can often seem cheaper, when factoring in transport costs, they may become more expensive. 


A crucial factor that can often be forgotten amongst the excitement of starting university.. It may be worthwhile doing some research into the accommodation, such as finding out about the security systems and whether there will be staff around to make you feel safe.


 We recommend that you look around all of the communal areas that your accommodation offers, such as the laundry room. Having a common room, gym, or cinema is a great way to socialize and make new friends.

Conclusion: How do I get student accommodation in the UK

As a first-timer in another country, it can seem an overwhelming task to secure accommodation. But we believe with the right planning, securing one won’t be difficult. We believe this article has sure provided you with all that you need to know about how to get student accommodation in the UK.




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