Renting private student accommodation

If you’re renting from a private landlord or letting agent, find out whether your property needs to be licensed. Read any tenancy agreement carefully and if you’re not happy, seek advice immediately.

Renting a place of your own

If you’re planning to move out of halls in your second year, you’ll probably need to start looking for private accommodation in the spring term of your first year. Remember that as a student, you have the same rights as any other private tenant.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMO)

If you share rented accommodation with friends or fellow students and workers, with three or more people from at least two different families, it is known as a 'House in Multiple Occupation'.

Houses in Multiple Occupation (HMOs) need high safety standards as there are greater risks involved. To make sure properties meet safety standards, landlords must have a licence for HMOs.

Tenancy deposits

Once you’ve found a suitable place to rent, most landlords and letting agents will need you to pay:

  • a deposit to cover unpaid rent or damage made to the property
  • rent in advance

Don't hand over any money until you've had a good look around the property: check for obvious signs of disrepair, damp, badly fitting doors or windows, or anything that could compromise your security. It might also help to take someone else with you to get their views on the property.

Always get a written receipt for money paid to a landlord or letting agent. Ask your landlord if they will provide an inventory of the contents of the house, including kitchen goods such as a kettle and toaster.

Your landlord must protect your deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme within 14 days of receiving it.

Your deposit should be returned to you if all fees have been settled and the property has not been damaged beyond normal wear and tear. If you feel that it's being withheld unfairly, see problems with rented student accommodation.


Your landlord may ask students to provide a guarantor who agrees to cover costs if you don’t pay the rent, or cause significant damage to the property. A guarantor will usually be a parent or guardian. If you have a joint tenancy, any guarantor will also be jointly liable for overdue rent or damage caused by the other tenants. Guarantors can try and limit their liability by writing it into their guarantor agreement - to do this, seek independent legal advice.

Tenancy agreements

Tenancy agreements help to protect your rights as a tenant and outline what your obligations will be. Whatever your type of tenancy, read any paperwork involved carefully before you agree to move in or sign any written agreements.

Your responsibilities

Whatever type of agreement you sign, you will be required to look after your property in a reasonable way - for example, emptying bins and keeping the house tidy and clean.

If you break the terms of your agreement

If you break any terms of a tenancy agreement, such as causing damage to the property, falling behind with your rent, or having people to stay for long periods of time if you are living in a licensed house in multiple occupation (HMO), your landlord may be entitled to begin eviction procedures against you.

Check to see if the agreement limits the number of people allowed to live in the property.

Problems after you've moved in

Find out about repairs, maintenance and what to do if one of your housemates leaves you in the lurch:

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