Living in student accommodation and halls of residence

Your rights and responsibilities should be written in your tenancy agreement. Check if you can end your tenancy early and what to do if your landlord asks you to leave.

What counts as student accommodation

Student accommodation is:

  • student halls or housing rented from your university or college

  • purpose built student flats rented from a private company - the building must have at least 30 bedrooms that are only rented by students

Your rights will be different if you rent from a private landlord or letting agency.

If you’re not sure, use our tenancy checker tool.

Tenancy agreement and deposit

You should sign a tenancy agreement when you move in. This is a contract that says:

  • how much your rent is and when to pay it

  • how long your tenancy is and when you have to move out

  • what to do if you need to move out early

  • what happens to your deposit

  • any other conditions about guests, smoking and pets

Your landlord must remind you at least 28 days before you have to move out.

Your deposit must be paid into a deposit scheme until you move out. Find out how to get your deposit back.

Read your tenancy agreement and keep it somewhere safe. If you break any of the conditions you could be asked to leave.

Coronavirus and ending your tenancy early

The law lets you end your tenancy early and leave your student accommodation because of coronavirus.

This overrules your tenancy agreement or contract.

To end your tenancy early use these 4 steps.

Step 1: check your rights

You have the legal right to end your tenancy early if you:

  • live in student halls or purpose built student flats

  • tell your landlord in writing on or before 30 September 2022

  • give 28 days notice

If you do not live in halls or purpose built student flats find out how to end your tenancy.

Step 2: work out when your tenancy ends

When you write to your landlord you must tell them your tenancy end date.

This is 31 days from the date you send your letter or email.

Why 31 days? You must give them 28 days notice plus 2 days to get your letter or email. The end date is the day after this 30-day period.

Step 3: tell your landlord

You must send an email or letter to them. Their contact details are in your tenancy agreement.

You must include:

  • you are ending your tenancy early because of coronavirus

  • the law allows you to do this - the law is the Coronavirus (Scotland) (No.2) Act 2020

  • your tenancy end date

You do not have to explain how coronavirus is affecting you.

Download our template letter to send to your landlord

Step 4: move out

You can move out any time before your tenancy end date. You need to pay rent until this date. Any rent you pay after that should be paid back.

Take all your belongings when you leave. If you paid a deposit, ask your landlord about getting your deposit back.

If you have any problems

Do not feel pressured into staying if your landlord says you cannot leave.

They cannot charge you rent if you end your tenancy correctly and move out.

You can make an official complaint about them. Check their website for how to do this or ask your student union for help.

If you still need help speak to a Shelter adviser.

Being evicted

Your landlord can only evict you if you break a condition of your tenancy agreement.

For example: your agreement says you must be a student to live there. If you leave your course then your landlord can tell you to move out.

If you get an eviction letter speak to your student union. They can:

  • help negotiate with your landlord so you can stay

  • tell you where to get help if you cannot afford your rent

  • help you find new accommodation if you have to leave

Find out what to do if your landlord wants to evict you.

Getting repairs done

Your landlord must do most repairs when you live in student accommodation. Check what repairs your landlord is responsible for.

You are responsible for looking after the property and furniture that is provided and telling the landlord when repairs need doing. You may have to pay for repairs if you cause any damage.

Last updated: 30 March 2022

Housing laws differ between Scotland and England.

This content applies to Scotland only.

Get advice if you're in England