Comprehensive Guide to Student Accommodation

Navigating student accommodation is a pivotal aspect of university life. Our comprehensive guide provides all the essential information to make informed decisions about where you’ll live during your studies. Whether you’re a first-year student or transitioning to postgraduate housing, this guide will help you understand your options and make the best choice for your needs. 

Types of Student Accommodation

Students Relaxing In Lounge Of Shared Accommodation

University Halls of Residence

University halls of residence are a popular choice for first-year students. These accommodations offer a sense of community and ease of access to campus facilities. 


Proximity to campus 
Inclusive bills (utilities, internet)
Social opportunities and events


Potentially higher costs  
Shared facilities (kitchen, bathroom) 
Limited personal space 
Male College Student In Shared House Bedroom Studying Sitting At Desk

Private Halls of Residence

Private halls of residence are similar to university halls but are managed by private companies. They often provide modern amenities and flexible lease terms. 


High-quality facilities  
En-suite options available 
Professional management and security 


Higher rent compared to university halls   
Limited interaction with university community  
Potentially less flexible with lease terms  
Group Of Male College Students In Shared House Kitchen Washing Up And Hanging Out Together

Shared Student Houses

Shared houses or flats are rented out by groups of students. This option offers more independence and often lower costs. 


Lower rent  
Greater independence  
Choice of housemates  


Responsibility for bills and maintenance    
Potential for disputes among housemates   
Varying quality of accommodation   
Portrait Of Group Of Smiling College Students Outside Rented Shared House

Private Rental Accommodation

Renting a private flat or house offers maximum independence. This option is often favoured by mature or postgraduate students. 


Full control over living environment   
Choice of location and property type   
Opportunity to live with non-students  


Higher costs     
Responsibility for bills and maintenance   
Potential isolation from student community    

Heading off to university in the UK is an exciting journey, and securing the right accommodation is a significant step. Here’s a practical guide for students and parents on finding the perfect place to call your university home. 

Top 5 Tips for Securing Student Accommodation in the UK

Apply Early for University Accommodation

Many universities offer guaranteed accommodation to first-year students who apply by a certain deadline. This can be as early as the summer before you start your studies, so make sure to check the specific deadlines for your chosen institutions.

Consider Location and Transport

Evaluate how close the accommodation is to your university, and what transport options are available. Proximity to university can greatly influence your daily routine and social life, so choose a location that balances cost, convenience, and lifestyle.

Decide Between Catered and Self-Catered Options

Depending on your budget and dietary preferences, decide whether you need a catered option (where meals are provided) or a self-catered residence (where you cook for yourself). Catered options can be more expensive but provide convenience, while self-catered gives you flexibility with your diet and budget.

Check What’s Included in the Rent

Understand what your rent covers. Some accommodations include utilities and Wi-Fi in the rent, while others may not. Knowing this can help you manage your budget more effectively and avoid unexpected expenses.

Visit the Accommodation, if Possible

If you can, visit the accommodation before making a final decision. This can give you a feel for the space, the surrounding area, and whether it meets your expectations. Many universities offer virtual tours as well, which can be a great resource.

Things to Watch Out For

High Demand Periods

Be aware of high demand times and apply as early as possible. Accommodations that are well-located and reasonably priced can go quickly.

Deposit and Fees

Check the deposit amount and any additional fees required. Make sure you understand the terms for getting your deposit back at the end of your tenancy.

Contracts and Terms

Read your rental contract carefully before signing. Look for terms regarding lease duration, notice periods for leaving, and your responsibilities as a tenant.

Quality vs. Cost

Cheaper accommodation might be tempting, but consider the quality of living. Lower-cost options might have downsides like less space, shared facilities, or older buildings. Balance your budget with comfort and quality.

Reviews and Opinions

Seek out reviews or ask current students about their experiences with different accommodations and providers. This firsthand insight can be invaluable in making an informed decision.

Female students in dorm room

Securing the right student accommodation can enhance your university experience, providing a solid base to support your academic and social life. Take your time to assess your options, keep these tips in mind, and choose a place that feels like a second home. 

Factors to Consider When Choosing Accommodation


Budget is a critical factor when choosing accommodation. Consider all costs, including rent, bills, and personal expenses. Make sure to account for potential increases in utilities and other variable costs. 


Proximity to campus, local amenities, and public transport links are vital. Living closer to campus can save time and money on commuting. However, properties further from the university may offer more affordable rent. 

Facilities and Amenities

Evaluate the facilities available in each accommodation option. Key considerations include: 

Internet access and speed
Laundry facilities 
Study areas 
Social spaces 
On-site security 

Contract Length

Understand the length and terms of the accommodation contract. Some contracts may be for the academic year only, while others could be for a full 12 months. Be aware of any penalties for early termination. 

Safety and Security

Ensure the accommodation has adequate safety measures, such as secure entry systems, well-lit common areas, and fire safety equipment. Check crime rates in the area if considering private rental accommodation. 

Tips for Securing Student Accommodation

Start Early

Begin your search for accommodation as early as possible. Popular options fill up quickly, and starting early gives you more choices and better chances of securing your preferred accommodation. 

Visit in Person

If possible, visit the accommodation in person. This allows you to inspect the property, meet current residents, and get a feel for the surrounding area. Virtual tours can be an alternative if visiting is not feasible. 

Read Reviews

Look for reviews from current or past residents. Reviews can provide valuable insights into the living conditions, management responsiveness, and overall satisfaction with the accommodation. 

Understand Your Contract

Understand the length and terms of the accommodation contract. Some contracts may be for the academic year only, while others could be for a full 12 months. Be aware of any penalties for early termination. 

Selecting the right student accommodation is crucial for a successful and enjoyable university experience. By considering your budget, location, facilities, contract terms, and safety, you can make an informed decision that meets your needs. Start your search early, visit potential accommodations, and review contracts carefully to secure the best possible living arrangement for your time at university.