Halls of residence and other university accommodation

Many universities and colleges offer halls of residence or self-catering flats to students. If you decide on this option, it’s best to apply as soon as possible.

Benefits of university-run accommodation

Lots of students go for university or college accommodation, particularly in the first year. A few of the benefits are:

  • you won’t have to go house-hunting somewhere that you may not know very well
  • with loads of other students around, it's easier to make new friends
  • it can be good value compared with private accommodation, with bills often included in room rates

Find out what's on offer

Accommodation can vary immensely between different universities and colleges and within individual places of study. It might mean halls of residence that sleep hundreds of students and have their own bars and cafes, or small, self-catering flats.

To find out what’s on offer at your place of study, find their details on the UCAS website, or get hold of a prospectus. If you do go for university accommodation, make sure you complete and return any forms as early as possible, as demand is often high.

Contracts and your rights

If you’ve left your halls of residence, due to the coronavirus pandemic, you may be able to cancel your accommodation contract. Contact your university to check what arrangements they have in place.

Your rights depend on who owns and manages your accommodation - this will either be your university or college, or a private company. In either case, you will be sent a contract or agreement explaining your rights and responsibilities before you move in. Take time to read this thoroughly before you sign it - and if there is anything that seems unclear or unfair, get advice.

If your university runs the accommodation

When you live in Halls you’re usually a “licensee” rather than a “tenant”.  This means you don’t have as many rights as a tenant.  You will usually have to sign an agreement which explains what your rights and your responsibilities are.

Make sure you read and understand your agreement.  Get advice on any terms you’re not sure about .  Once you sign it, you will have to live by the terms in the contract.

If the accommodation is run privately

To find out more about your rights, whoever runs your accommodation, see private rent and tenancies.

Codes of practice for university and college accommodation

There are currently three government-approved codes of practice for the management of student accommodation by universities, colleges and large commercial providers. The codes of practice require your accommodation to have certain standards of management and an adequate complaints procedure.

If your university or college runs the accommodation

If you are staying in accommodation managed and controlled by your university or college, check to see if it has signed up to one of the codes linked to below.

If you're unhappy with your hall of residence

If you’re not happy with your university accommodation, your first step should be to talk to your university’s accommodation office. If your university or college has signed up to one of the codes of practice, speak to whoever is responsible for enforcing that code.

You could also talk to your students’ union welfare officer. If you're still not happy with the outcome, you can use your university’s internal complaints procedure or the complaints procedure outlined in the code of practice.

Contact your local authority

Contact your local authority if you think your health and safety in your rented accommodation is at serious risk and that the managers of the accommodation (or those responsible for enforcing the code of practice) are not acting appropriately after you’ve informed them of the problem.

More useful links

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