Last modified: 26 January 2024

This page has information about booking university and other purpose-built student housing, prior to your arrival in the UK.

We also provide information for those wishing to rent private housing after you arrive in the UK.

Many institutions work with other organisations to help students who are looking for privately rented housing. If you are unsure about anything or if you want to know more, contact your institution’s housing office.

Student housing

Last modified: 31 May 2023

Student housing

How to apply

What to bring

Booking your housing

Last modified: 01 June 2023

You can book university housing and other purpose-built student housing before you come to the UK. Please see 'how to apply' for details of the booking process.

For other long-term housing, it is not usually a good idea to arrange it before you arrive in the UK. There are, however, some exceptions. It can be frustrating, arriving with uncertainty about your longer-term housing arrangements. However, there are things you can do to help prepare:

  • read the guidance from your institution about housing options for international students
  • check the processes for house-hunting and what support you can get from your institution, your students’ union and any other local agencies. They may have lists of local housing available for rent. They may also have inspected the housing to check that it is suitable. The student office at your country’s Embassy or High Commission in the UK may also be able to give you information about housing
  • check online to get an early idea of what is available and the quality and cost of housing in your host town or city
  • use social networks to connect with other students who are starting at your institution at the same time, and who will be looking for housing.  This could give you a head-start in making new friends; it could also be a way of finding housemates with shared interests

If your institution does not have temporary housing, your other options are hotels and guest houses. Guest houses are like hotels but instead of having a restaurant, they may have a dining room where you have no choice about the meals served. Living in a hotel for a long period of time will be expensive. However, hotels and guest houses provide useful temporary housing which you can book before you travel to the UK.  Hostels also offer temporary housing.

After you arrived at your pre-booked temporary housing, start your search for longer-term housing early with help from your institution. Internet searches, housing agencies, local newspapers and advertisements in shop windows or on a institution notice board are useful when you are looking for somewhere to live. This guide from Shelter may also prove useful when considering looking for a private place to rent.

Check if there is any type of accreditation scheme in operation.

Fake landlords operate in the private student housing market, preying on vulnerable (often international) students, for example by pretending to offer housing online, for example, through Facebook or Gumtree. Victims are asked to pay for a deposit for a house or flat that does not exist. Action Fraud has some useful tips on protecting yourself from rental fraud.

Agencies sometimes charge a fee but, by law, they cannot charge you just for registering with them and you should not pay for details of places they have to let.

Other accommodation options

Last modified: 02 June 2023

Not all students live in student housing. There are other housing options. These alternative options may be preferable to those wishing to rent privately also.


Homestay (lodger)



Choosing your accommodation

Last modified: 02 June 2023

Here are some suggestions for issues to think about when choosing accommodation.

Communal living space

En suite bathroom

Mix of people

Social opportunities


Management and security



Your contract

Differences between student housing and other private housing

Bringing a family

Last modified: 31 May 2023

Few institutions provide housing for families.  When they do, there is often high demand and short supply, both for long-term and short-term temporary housing.

Check before you arrive whether and how your institution can help you in your search for suitable housing. It takes several weeks for newly-arrived students to find suitable family housing.

It may be easier for you to initially come to the UK alone, and stay in temporary, single housing while you look for a family home. Once you have found longer-term housing for yourself and your family, your family can travel to the UK.

If you do all travel to the UK together, make sure you have enough money to cover the high costs of temporary family housing. Your institution can advise what this may be. 

Requirements for students with families will vary, but, as a guide, these are the kinds of factors which students with families attach importance to when looking for suitable housing, compared to single students:

  • housing made safe for children
  • a location close to healthcare services, childcare provision, schools, parks/play areas, bus routes, supermarkets, car parking, parent and toddler groups, ante-natal classes and other forms of local infrastructure that can support family life and reduce the risk of isolation for non-studying parents
  • a quieter location, removed from undergraduate residences
  • a stronger emphasis on the quantity and quality of social space
  • a stronger emphasis on the quality of study space
  • longer-term housing contracts
  • affordability

Disabled students

Last modified: 31 May 2023

UK institutions are legally required not to discriminate against disabled students, and not to treat them less favourably than other students. Institutions are also required to make adjustments to services for disabled students so that they are not disadvantaged in comparison with non-disabled students. These laws apply to international students as well as to students who are UK citizens.

Because the UK law is strong on disability rights, you should find your institution helpful in supporting you in your search for suitable housing. Some institutions have housing which is designed or adapted for students with specific disabilities. Your institution may also make changes to housing to support your particular disability. In some institutions it may even be possible to secure housing for the full duration of your course.

There may, however, be no suitable housing available at your institution and no housing which can be reasonably adjusted to support your needs. In this case, it is important you review the options carefully and seek your institution’s support in helping you find housing in the private sector which is suitable for you.

The most important thing is to let your institution know as early as possible that you have a disability which means you have particular housing needs. Although you might declare this as part of your application for a place on a course, it is also a good idea to contact the institution’s housing service and disability officer to raise and discuss the matter directly with them. In this way you are likely to receive the best service that your institution can offer you. If you do not raise it early, you may be disappointed and struggle to find anything appropriate.

International students with a disability do not have access to funding from UK authorities to support their living costs, although funding may be available from your institution to assist with direct study-related costs.

Rent and other costs

Last modified: 02 June 2023

When considering housing, there are many associated costs, not just the rent. Here are some issues to think about.

Can you afford it?


Council Tax



Do you need a guarantor?

Accreditation schemes

Last modified: 02 June 2023

Check that a property, landlord or institution is part of a reputable accreditation scheme. An accreditation scheme is normally run by a local authority working together with institutions or professional landlord associations. Speak to your institution who may be able to provide you with further details in this area.

Landlords in schemes are committed to offering housing and services which meet specific professional standards.  Typically, these are standards for how the contract is written, how properties are marketed and managed, how quickly any repairs are done, health and safety, how deposits and any disputes are handled.

Under accreditation schemes members’ properties are checked to ensure they meet these standards. If they do not, they can be removed from the scheme. If you move into housing which is part of an accreditation scheme, you know that the housing will be of an acceptable standard and that you will receive a fair and professional service. All schemes have a robust complaints procedure that you can use if there are any problems.

The National Codes are schemes for larger-scale student developments. There is one scheme for properties managed and controlled by education institutions, and another for privately rented properties.

Immigration checks

Last modified: 26 January 2024

‘Right to rent’ checks

Exemptions from ‘right to rent’ checks

The evidence needed of your right to be in the UK

If you have limited immigration permission to be in the UK

If you sub-let your accommodation

If you have any questions or concerns