UCL Accommodation


5 Tips for Finding Private Accommodation

13 August 2020

As you know, UCL guarantees accommodation for most first-years. Students returning for their second year usually don’t have this guarantee. This article gives you five helpful tips for finding a place to live outside of halls, in your second year and beyond.

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Whether you're choosing to live outside of student accommodation, didn't meet the UCL Accommodation guarantee or are looking at your options for when you move out of halls, we've put together some useful advice for you to consider when exploring private accommodation.

Tip 1: Visit the Housing Advice Website

Moving from uni to private housing seems like a lot of work. But it’s more straightforward than you might think. In fact, UCL Accommodation has put everything you need to know on a simple website.

Our Housing Advice website contains advice from other UCL students and experienced housing professionals. You’ll find videos, a free guide, useful contacts and a lot of other resources.

The downloadable guide, for instance, tells you key points to look out for. Did you know that if everyone in your flat is a full-time student then you don’t have to pay Council Tax?

To learn what to do, just treat our website as your one-stop information shop. There’s advice on what to look out for, like unfair contracts, and what to avoid (i.e. potential scams like someone posing as a landlord and asking you for money upfront).

Tip 2: Know When and Where to Start

The starting pistol for the accommodation race goes off in May. Agents and landlords tend to advertise properties one or two months before students can move in. But there’s no need to panic. August / September are generally the best months to look for a flat.

To be fully informed about your options, we recommend you do your research in advance. Check out practical advice from real UCL students on our Housing Advice website.

Tip 3: Find the Right Housemates

You may have heard the saying, ‘good friends don’t always make the best housemates’.

Similar budgets and comparable attitudes to cleanliness, however, are really good indicators as to who will be a good housemate.

Finding someone comparable in these areas will help you avoid arguments over bills, cleaning and day-to-day living.

Tip 4: Pay Close Attention When Viewing Properties

It’s important to keep your eyes peeled when you go on viewings. Needless to say, too many dead bugs on the floor are a dead give-away that this is not your future flat.

Just remember, there’s never any harm in asking a few extra questions. For a start, we recommend listening to James on UCL Accommodation’s Housing Advice website. He has some really great tips.

Tip 5: Read the Contract Carefully

It’s easy to be hasty in the heat of the moment. Before you decide to sign an agreement, it’s important that you read the contract with care. Do not be hustled or panicked into signing something you’re not sure about. A trustworthy landlord will want you to be happy with the contract and will give you the chance to check it.

Make sure to visit our website to find out how to book an appointment for a contract check.

These five suggestions should help get you prepared for your property hunt in advance. 

To get a complete picture and avoid the worst pitfalls, we really do recommend taking advantage of the collected wisdom of UCL students by checking HousingAdvice.London.