If you're renting university accommodation

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

If you’re a student, you’ll probably live in halls of residence. This accommodation is usually managed by your university.

Living in halls of residence

If you live in halls of residence, your landlord is usually your university.

If you live in halls of residence managed by a private landlord, they’re your landlord.

Check your written statement to see who manages your accommodation.

University halls of residence are often located inside or near the university campus.

The accommodation is generally available during term-time. For some students, accommodation might be available for the full calendar year - for example, if you’re an international student or don’t have another home to go to during the holidays.

Halls of residence can be:

  • single rooms with shared bathrooms, kitchens and communal areas

  • ensuite rooms with shared cooking and communal areas

  • studio flats

Ask your university’s accommodation office what type of accommodation is available, how much it costs and how you can apply.

Your university’s code of practice

Universities that offer halls of residence usually have to sign up to one of these government-approved codes of practice:

Your university should tell you which code they’ve signed up to. You can also find your university’s code on the Student Accommodation Code website.

The codes make sure you have a safe, good quality place to live. For example, they say your accommodation should have heating, lighting, hot water and ventilation.

Check what the codes cover on the Student Accommodation Code website.

The codes can be a useful resource to see what your landlord should be doing. If your accommodation isn’t up to the standards your university has signed up to, you can make a complaint against them.

Living in other university accommodation

Some universities also own houses and flats. Some manage accommodation on behalf of a private landlord.

If you rent this type of accommodation, the university is your landlord. They’re responsible for managing the accommodation and for doing repairs.

Your housing status in halls of residence and other university accommodation

You’ll have a standard occupation contract.

Your contract is the agreement between you and your landlord. Your rights and responsibilities are set out in a written statement. Your landlord has to give you one within 14 days of moving in.

If you moved into your accommodation before 1 December 2022, your landlord has to give you a written statement by 1 June 2023.

Your rights in university accommodation

You have the same rights as if you were renting from a private landlord. For example, your university can’t evict you without sending you a notice first.

You also have the right to have repairs done. Your university is responsible for doing most repairs except very minor things, like changing light bulbs.

Check our advice on getting repairs done.

Your responsibilities in university accommodation

If you live in university accommodation, you’ll have to pay rent and report any repairs. Sometimes you might have to pay a deposit too.

Paying a deposit

You’ll probably have to pay a deposit when you move into your accommodation. The deposit is meant to cover the cost of any damage or unpaid rent at the end of your contract.

Your landlord usually has to protect your deposit with a deposit protection scheme - for example, if you started renting after 1 December 2022.

Check if your landlord has to protect your deposit.

Your landlord might ask you to pay a holding deposit too. This can be up to one week's rent.

Don’t pay it or sign anything unless you’re sure you want to move in. You might not be able to get the money back if you change your mind.

Check our advice on paying a holding deposit.

Paying for rent and bills

You’ll usually have to pay rent at the start of each term, which coincides with student loan instalments. Some universities might offer other payment dates.

On top of your rent, you might also have to pay for things like cleaning or for meals, if you chose that option.

Your bills are generally included in your rent - for example heating, electricity and water.

You don't have to pay council tax.

Check your written statement to see how much your rent is, what it includes, when and to whom it should be paid, and if it can be increased.

If you don’t pay your rent, your landlord can take legal action to evict you. Check what to do if you’re being evicted from university accommodation.

If you need help paying your rent

You can get advice from the National Association of Student Money Advisers on their website.

You might be able to claim Universal Credit if you’re a student and one of the following applies:

  • you have a disability

  • you’re caring for children

  • you or your partner have reached State Pension age

If you have a disability and you need help claiming Universal Credit, you can call the Disabled Students Helpline on 0330 995 0414. They’re open Tuesday and Thursday, from 11am to 1pm.

Find out more about the Disabled Students Helpline on their website.

You can also talk to an adviser.

If you’re a single parent, you can get free advice and practical support from the Gingerbread charity.

Reporting repairs

You should report any repairs to your landlord as soon as you notice them. Reporting repairs is often a condition of your contract, so you must report any problems even if you’re not too concerned about getting them fixed.

The halls where you are staying are likely to have a process to report repairs - for example, to let the Hall Manager or reception know.

Check how to get repairs done if you’re renting privately.

Making a complaint

If you’re not happy with your accommodation, you should first report the problem to your accommodation manager.

If nothing happens or you don't think the problem has been fixed, you can make a complaint using your university’s code. Your students union might be able to help you with this.

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