How to apply for student accommodation in the UK

We understand how difficult finding a place to live can be – especially if it’s your first time living away from home, or your first time living in the UK. We know it’s a confusing, and sometimes daunting, process. But fear not: our guide on how to apply for student accommodation in the UK covers everything you need to know. From an overview of the entire application process to frequently asked questions – read on to learn more.

Student Accommodation FAQs

Where do I start?

First thing’s first: You’ll have a whole host of accommodation options to choose from. The most popular ones are:

  • University halls
  • Private halls
  • Off-campus housing

Each option has something different to offer, so think carefully about what’s most important to you. A lot of undergraduate students will opt to live in university halls in their first year, because of on-campus living experience. Depending on your university, there could also be private student accommodation close to campus, with similar price points to what you’d get on-campus.

When should I start applying for student accommodation?

For private student halls and off-campus housing, start your search early to get the best prices and availability. If you’re starting your course in September, we recommend starting your search between January and March of the same year. For current students and unconditional offer holders, you can usually book right away.   If you’re a conditional offer holder, you’ll need to wait until you know which university you’re going to, which will most likely be in August, or whenever you get your results. But it doesn’t hurt to research what’s available before that. You can use to get an idea of what private hall options are available near the universities you’ve applied to. For university halls, the application process and timeline varies from institution to institution. Check your university’s website for further details.

Do I need to be a student to live in student accommodation? 

It might sound like a no-brainer, but yes – you do need to be a full-time student if you want to live in either university or private halls.

Can someone who isn’t a full-time student share with me?

No – not if you’re living in university or private student halls. If you want to share a flat or house with someone who isn’t a student, you’ll need to opt for off-campus private housing.

Can I live with my friends? 

Yes. Ideally, you and your friends will apply at the same time, so you can be allocated rooms in the same flat. If you apply separately, the longer the time between your applications, the harder it’ll be to place you both in the same flat.

Can I share a private room with another student?

It depends on the room type. Shared rooms are usually advertised by the number of beds they have, which equals the number of students allowed to occupy the room. Most private rooms are single occupancy, even if they have double beds. However, a large number of private student halls have studio rooms that offer dual occupancy.

What if I’m studying a language course?

As long as you’re studying 20 hours a week or more, you’re considered a full-time student and are therefore eligible to live in university or private halls.

What if I’m doing an internship? 

If you’re registered as a full-time student and are doing an internship or work placement as part of your course, you can live in student accommodation. If you’re planning student work experience for the summer, read our blog post about it to get some useful tips.  If you’re an international student, you’re also eligible as long as you’re registered as a full-time student in your home country.

Can I stay in halls for just a short period of time? How long are contracts usually?

It depends on the property and the time of year you’re looking to stay. Most halls – university and private – rent rooms to students for an entire academic year, usually in the form of 44 or 51 week contracts. Some halls will allow flexibility with dates, and some offer short-stays or semester-lets. If you have special requirements in terms of dates, the team at can try to help you find something.

Can I bring pets? 

No. Even if it’s a small pet hamster. Most university and private halls have strict policies on pets. If you have a pet that you really can’t leave behind, you might be able to find an off-campus housing option that allows residents to bring pets.  

Do I need to bring my own furniture? 

No. Usually university and private student halls are fully-furnished. If you’re applying for off-campus housing, however, you’ll need to check what furniture the property and rooms have, as it can vary.

Do I have to sign a contract? 

Yes. The type of agreement you’ll need to sign will depend on the type of accommodation you’re renting.

Do I need a security deposit?

For private halls and off-campus housing, you’ll need to pay a deposit before you move in.   You’ll need to check the conditions outlined in your tenancy agreement, but usually deposits are refundable at the end of the tenancy as long as there are no damages.

What is a UK-based guarantor? Will I need one?

Most private accommodation providers require students to have a UK-based guarantor – someone who will pay your rent if you can’t. A guarantor is usually a relative or guardian and you’ll need to share their details as part of your accommodation application. If you’re unable to provide a UK-based guarantor, most accommodation providers will ask that you pay more rent up front. In any case,’s booking consultants can talk you through your options.

I’ve finished my course and will no longer be a full-time student. Can I still stay in student accommodation? 

No – sorry… afraid it’s time to move on!

Ready to apply for your student accommodation? 

Unsure about what room to choose? Read our guide to room types. If you have any more questions in your mind, check out our FAQ page.