Living in student housing

This advice applies to Scotland. See advice for See advice for England, See advice for Northern Ireland, See advice for Wales

If you live in student housing, you are likely to be a common law tenant or occupier. You will have rights and responsibilities as part of your tenancy.

You will live in student housing if your tenancy is for:

  • student halls or housing rented from your university or college

  • purpose-built student accommodation rented from a private landlord.

Some students might rent privately instead of living in student housing.

Your tenancy agreement in student housing

You will usually be asked to sign an agreement which will tell you the basic features of your tenancy. It will include:

  • who the landlord is

  • your address

  • how much rent you have to pay

  • when the contract ends.

A tenancy agreement must include all the aspects of the tenancy that you need to agree to. It is a legally binding contract.

You should read your tenancy agreement carefully and keep it somewhere safe.

Paying a deposit

Your university might ask for an initial prepayment, sometimes called a 'holding deposit'. They might deduct this payment from the total rent due.

If your landlord asks for a deposit when you move in and uses it as a security payment, this must be registered in a deposit scheme until you move out.

Read more about what happens to your deposit.

Your rights and responsibilities in student housing

You will have a number of rights and responsibilities as part of your tenancy in student housing.

Right to repairs and safety in your accommodation

You have the right to have repairs done to make sure that your accommodation is safe and fit for you to live in. You should report any repairs needed to your landlord.

Immediate repairs should be done if your accommodation is not wind and water tight.

The heating system provided should also be working and able to keep the accommodation free from damp and condensation.

If you have to pay for electricity and gas, over and above your rent, the property should be insulated and ventilated so that your bills are not excessive.

If you have a TV in your accommodation

You need a TV licence to watch or record live TV programmes, or if you watch anything on BBC iPlayer.

For information about when you need to have a TV licence see the TV Licensing website.

Rules about noise

Rules about noise are likely to be covered in your tenancy agreement or a Code of Conduct which may be part of your tenancy agreement. 

You might be given a rule for a particular time of day after which you must not play music or a radio or television in your room unless you are wearing headphones.

Paying the rent and other bills

You must make sure that the rent is paid otherwise your landlord can take legal action to evict you. 

Your agreement will normally state how much the rent is, what it includes, who you should pay it to and when it should be paid.

Bills, such as heating, lighting and water, are generally included in the price of the accommodation.

Students don't have to pay council tax whatever type of accommodation they have. You can read more about council tax and students.

If you live in a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO)

There are rules that landlords must follow if three or more people, who are not related or in a relationship, share basic amenities in a living area.

Most halls of residence or purpose built student accommodation where students share a flat will meet this criteria and will need to meet certain standards.

Read more about houses in multiple occupation.