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How Does Student Housing Work
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How Does Student Housing Work

Written by Sam | June 1, 2020

I am going to look at student housing and how it works, focusing on the processes and experience you are likely to get from landlords and letting agents.

Most student landlords and letting agents are local people who have either bought the properties themselves or they manage it on behalf of usually local landlords.

In short, what generally happens is, you move from university halls and go into a student house, which you rent off a landlord or letting agent. You will pay the deposit the same way, the agreements or tenancies are likely to be similar, however, the difference will be how they operate. You are likely to get a much less ‘corporate’ service from a letting agent or landlord because they are much smaller but this doesn’t make them any less reliable, usually, it can make them so much better. What is the difference between Student Accommodation & Private Rented?

Imagine you are a first year and you are looking for a place to live in your second year at university.

Where You Start

Before you go looking for a place to live, you need to decide what size your group is and if you want to even live in a group!

We are slightly biased, but once you know that answer, search lots of houses in the area to give you an overview of what they are like and look at the landlord and letting agents and see what they are like.

Always go and view the house, even if it is on a video call, this is because you can then see what the house is actually like and then you can ask any questions about the house or service from the letting agent and or landlord.

Getting The Student House You Want

Go on several viewings and don’t just go on one. I went on one, loved the house, did a second one and realised how terrible the first one was. You need a comparison so go and see several houses and never sign on the dot straight away, you don’t know what it says. See what students like most in student properties and what made them happy in 2020.

Once you are happy with the house it is likely you will need to pay something to keep the house, usually it is a deposit of some kind. It is usually split in some form so that you don’t pay the full amount while still renting! This is likely to be non-refundable in some way. If you need more facts on deposits, read this in-depth article.

You will usually be asked to sign a form of agreement in order to confirm that you are happy to abide by the landlord or letting agents agreements.


If you are in the position where you do not need the room anymore, it is likely you will be responsible for selling it on, unfortunately, this is a common occurrence within the housing sector because many students, some for unforeseeable reasons, have to drop out of university.

Always check this part of your agreement because if you need to use it, you need to understand it. Likely the responsibility will be up to you to sell your tenancy to another student who will take over your contract.

Moving into Your Student House

Make sure before you move in, that you go around with the letting agent and go through the inventory list and check what condition it is in!

What’s an inventory – A list of what the landlord is providing and the accommodation it is in so they know how they expect it to be returned.

When you move in, make sure everything is clean and works, if not, let your landlord or letting agent know as soon as possible so they can repair it for you! More on repairs in here

What You Can Expect From Student Letting Agents & Landlords Rather Than Student Accommodation Providers

As we talked about right at the start there are a few differences that you need to be aware of when deciding which option you choose, those in the student accommodation are outlined in this article. What you can expect from student housing providers are:

  • Good local knowledge
  • Lots of knowledge to help students
  • Caring
  • Simple processes
  • Good quality houses that are well designed and full of character(if you are with the right person)
  • Lots of great houses to choose from, if they have any left that is!

Student Housing Tips To Make Sure You Have a Great Experience

Follow these tips to get in houses that you enjoy, rather than regret:

  • View more than one student house
  • Don’t be afraid to take pictures and record, if you are allowed!
  • Always meet or speak to the agents, they will be responsible for your overall experience
  • Never sign the tenancy agreement without reading it
  • The agent and or landlord should be open and honest with questions
  • Don’t just pick the ones at the top of Google, they usually have big marketing budgets to put them there!
  • Try and speak to the current tenants without the agent, they don’t mind telling you all the stories, however, social media normally has all these clues

Helpful Reading

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