Student’s Guide to Private Rented Accommodation


If you are about to enter the world of private rented accommodation for the first time there are several important decisions to be made; where to live, who to live with, how much to pay, and so on. Unfortunately most students stumble through the experience, learning as they go but suffering the consequences of their mistakes. In some, thankfully rare, instances those consequences can be very serious – the risk of a fatal fire is up to sixteen times greater in a three storey shared house*.

Don’t worry; we are here to hold your hand. We’ve put together a series of eleven articles covering the main issues in a user-friendly format that we hope will make the whole experience a little less stressful.

Most first time students move straight from the family home into rented accommodation. If you’re lucky enough to spend your first year in halls then at least you’ll have time to adjust to living away from home before braving the private rental sector and all the pitfalls that it can throw up. However, renting a privately owned property is a whole new ball game.

This guide will help you to make informed choices by taking you through the process step-by-step and advising you on the best course of action. We appreciate that the private rental sector is competitive so to give you the best chance of finding a suitable property we have tried to be as pragmatic as possible.

To keep the guide to a manageable length we have included links to other sources of information where appropriate. These are designed to give more information to those students that have a particular area of concern.

Word to the wise

Throughout the guide we have included tips that we believe will help to protect your interests or save you money. Look out for the yellow light bulbs.

*Risk assessment carried out by ENTEC for the Department of the Environment, Transport and the Regions

About the author

Justin Burns is a practising Chartered Surveyor. He combines this with running a busy residential lettings office in North London.  He was also once a student sharing a house in multiple occupation.

Article Headings:

  1. Types of accommodation available
  2. Establishing your accommodation budget
  3. Deciding on a location
  4. Starting your search
  5. Selecting a property
  6. Securing a property
  7. Tenancy agreements
  8. Deposits etc.
  9. Who to share with
  10. Regulations
  11. Living in harmony

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