Finding accommodation in the UK
12 April 2010

Students who need to rent their own accommodation in the UK need to plan ahead carefully. Theresa Lee, the welfare officer for English UK member English in York, has written an advice booklet for students when homestays are not suitable.

She says students may not understand what it means to sign a legal rental agreement. They will often not have signed one before, or the law may be very different in the UK.

"We are getting quite a lot of students who need to rent an apartment or house for cultural reasons. Often they need to bring their wife and children. But this can all be new for them and there can be lots of things they have not thought about," says Theresa.

She advises students who need to find accommodation for their families to try to arrive alone two weeks before their course starts. This should give them plenty of time to find a good place to live and make all the arrangements.

Theresa's booklet explains many of the details about renting accommodation in the UK to students. Her advice includes:

  • Legal contracts (leases). You will agree to stay in the accommodation for a set period of time, and may have to say in advance that you want to leave. If you just walk out of the house and hand back the keys you may have to continue to pay rent. Make sure you read carefully what you are signing, and get your centre’s welfare officer to explain it to you.
  • It is important to obey the rules of the legal agreement. If the contract says no smoking, you must not lean out of the window to smoke.
  • You will have to pay water and electricity bills, and local taxes if you are a part-time student.
  • You will need to buy a television licence if you buy a television.
  • You may have to arrange your own internet service and phone service.
  •  You will not be able to make changes to the house or flat without permission.  This would include installing a satellite dish to receive some television services.


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