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Student accommodation

Most first year students live in halls of residence or university owned flats or houses. When you are offered a place at university or college, you should be sent information about accommodation. If you don't receive anything, call the university's accommodation department.

Halls of residence

Living in halls can make the transition from being at home to living independently much easier. Catering and cleaning services are usually provided, and, surrounded by other students, it's easy to make friends quickly. Accommodation in halls is usually in single or shared rooms with ensuite or shared bathroom facilities. Hall fees can be quite expensive, but will usually include meals and cleaning. Other facilities are often available on site, such as a laundry room, internet access, a bar, a pool room, etc.

The landlord of your halls will either be your university or a private landlord (if their property has at least 30 bedrooms).

University owned rented accommodation

This may consist of a room in a flat or student house, with shared cooking and bathroom facilities. It can be more economical than living in halls, and may include cleaning and access to a laundry and other facilities.

What if I have a problem with my accommodation?

If you have any questions or complaints about your accommodation, contact your landlord. There can be strict rules while staying in you accommodation - if you find yourself in trouble, or you're not happy with the way a problem has been handled, contact your Students' Association.

What if I'm disabled?

By law, universities and colleges must make every attempt to provide you with accommodation that's suitable for your needs.

Find out more about your rights if you are disabled.

Renting privately

Your student accommodation office may be able to help you find private rented accommodation, check over tenancy agreements and advise you on any problems that arise when you move in. The section on finding private rented accommodation has more information on what to consider when looking for rented accommodation, how to deal with letting agencies and what you should do before you move in.

If you rent from a private landlord, you will probably need to pay rent in advance and a deposit up front. When you move in, make sure you get an inventory of all the furniture and other household goods that belong to your landlord. This will help you ensure you get your deposit back when you move out.

On 1 December 2017, a new type of tenancy came into force, called the private residential tenancy, this replaced assured and short assured tenancy agreements for all new tenancies.

Don't get ripped off by scam landlords

Some unscrupulous landlords believe they can take advantage of students because they don't know their housing rights and won't complain when they receive bad service. 

Most landlords are required to be registered with the council. They also have to include their registration number in all adverts, so look for this when looking for a place to rent.

  • Never hand over cash until you have been given the landlord’s name, a UK contact address and have checked that they are registered.

How do I pay for my accommodation?

Most students are not entitled to claim housing benefit, however there are some circumstances when you may be entitled. For example if you have children or you are disabled. Ask your student welfare adviser, Citizens Advice or local advice agency if you are not sure. The page on financial support for students lists other means of support available.

What if I can't find a place to live?

If you've left it late to find a place to live (for example, because you've made a late application through clearing), contact the university accommodation service as soon as possible. The accommodation service may:

  • still have places to offer
  • have lists of flatshares available with other students
  • be able to recommend reputable landlords with student flats or houses for rent.

If the accommodation service is unable to help you, you can try:

  • looking for flatshares in local papers, or advertised in or around the university, and in shops, cafes and community centres in student areas
  • ask around - a friend of a friend may know of someone looking for a flatmate
  • search online
  • ring round letting agents in the area.

Remember to try to avoid visiting potential properties on your own, and to let someone know where you are going and when you expect to be back. The page on finding a place to rent has more safety guidelines.

Where can I find out more?

  • Check out the section on Private renting for further information and more tips on how to avoid getting ripped off.
  • Check your university's website for more information on the kinds of accommodation on offer.
  • The NUS has more advice and information about student accommodation.
  • Accommodation for Students is a useful website which allows you to search for a place in halls, student housing or a student flat across the UK.

Scotland map Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.
This content applies to Scotland only.
Get advice if you're England

The important points

  • University accomodation means a room in halls of residence, flat or student house that you rent from the university.
  • If you have a problem with your university accommodation, contact your university's student accommodation team and if you're not happy with the result you can contact your students' association.
  • If you're disabled, your university must make every attempt to provide you with suitable accommodation.
  • Private halls of residence, which are not owned by a university, and renting from a private landlord might be options you want to consider.

If you're still looking for help, try searching, or find out how to contact us

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