Where you live at university or college is likely to have a major impact on your time there: the friends you make, the places you get to know, and your costs. It can also be the first time you deal with private landlords, or have to tackle issues such as deposits, bill sharing and housing management and safety. Knowing where to look can help you find the place that’s right for you - and knowing your rights can stop you being ripped off.
Getting to know the area
Although some students live at home, for many going to university or college is a chance to get to know somewhere different. If you don’t know much about where you’re moving to, try to check it out before you arrive, either at an open day or by asking your student housing officer for information about the local area and travelling time to the campus. Take a look at your university or college’s prospectus.
Halls and university accommodation
Lots of first year students opt to stay in halls of residence. It’s a good way to meet other students and it’s convenient for day-to-day needs. A number of universities and colleges now manage their accommodation in line with government-approved codes of practice.
Houses in Multiple Occupation
Particularly in the second year, many students move into private accommodation, often with groups of friends. If you’re thinking of sharing, bear in mind that most student houses have between three and six bedrooms - with more people, it might be worth splitting the group to find somewhere suitable.
Private rented accommodation you share with others is known as ‘Houses in Multiple Occupation’ (HMO). If you live in a HMO, your landlord must have a licence to make sure safety standards are met.
Other private accommodation
Other options include a bedsit or flat of your own, or living as a lodger in your landlord’s house. There’s a huge variety of private accommodation on offer. To find out more, see:
Most universities and colleges have student housing offices to talk you through your options and help you find somewhere to live. Many offices put together lists of landlords and available properties.
All private landlords must be registered with the Landlord Registration Scheme.
Private accommodation: knowing your rights
Once you move into private accommodation, you’ll be asked to sign a tenancy agreement and will probably have to provide a deposit.
Help funding your accommodation
All eligible full-time students can get help with rent and other living costs through a Student Loan for Maintenance. Many will also qualify for a non-repayable Maintenance Grant.
If you are moving into new accommodation, whether a hall of residence or a private house, make sure the property is safe and free from hazards. This includes ensuring that gas or electrical appliances are safe to use, that furniture meets fire safety standards, and that the property is free from major hazards.