Accommodation Hints and Tips

•Don’t wait until it’s too late; find out what accommodation is available to you and what conditions are attached. If you want halls, shared house or flat, start your search early with the university accommodation office and University of London Housing Services.

•Most halls will have 39 week contracts with bills and internet included in the rent. Even though it is often cheaper to rent privately, remember that contracts can be for 12 months and do not usually include utility bills or internet.

•For private accommodation, a deposit will be required, and some landlords or letting agencies will deduct an administration charge from your deposit. Therefore make sure there are no hidden charges that may come back to bite you.If you need assistance when signing a contract with a private sector landlord you can take advantage of the UCL Guarantee Scheme. Please contact UCL Student Accommodation for further information. 

•Remember to read contracts thoroughly and make sure you understand everything, including the “small print”, especially if you are renting a private house or flat and have to deal with a landlord or agency. Whenever possible try and secure single tenancy contract, instead of a joint contract, otherwise, if one of your friends moves out, you will have to pay their share of the rent if no-one else moves in.

•If you live in private accommodation, you should always check that there’s an up-to-date gas safety certificate too. Take care of your own security – keeping doors and windows locked, being aware of the local area, and making sure that you have some insurance for your belongings. You may need to check with your halls if they provide contents insurance.

•When you move into private accommodation in your second year, you may be placed on a provider's 'standard‘ utilities tariff. This is rarely the cheapest tariff to be on, so have a look at "save the student bill comparison guide" to find the best deals offered by a range of suppliers.

•It is always a good idea to notify your utility suppliers that you and your housemates are new tenants when you first move in to ensure you are not left paying for someone else's usage.

•If you are responsible for utility bills, all tenants will be jointly responsible for payment. Make sure that you decide amongst yourselves how you are going to pay before a bill arrives.

•Remember that it is a criminal offence not to have a license if you watch or record live television programmes. A colour TV license costs £147.00 - visit the TV license website for more details.

•If you live in University accommodation, or in a house where everyone is classed as a full-time student, you'll be exempt from paying Council Tax. To ensure your council knows you are a student, download a council tax self declaration certificate form.

For lots more useful tips about living in London please take a look the University of London Housing Services - "How we can help" guide.

UCLU also offers some useful advice on the key points of renting private accommodation such as “assured shorthold tenancies”, “inventories”, “T.V licence” etc.