How to Find Affordable Student Housing in the UK

How to Find Affordable Student Housing in the UK

Did you know that some of the most sought after housing in the United Kingdom is student housing? In fact, London universities have over a quarter of a million full-time students and almost 70% of them are unable to find university housing.  Much of the same is true in most large urban cities in the UK. What does this mean for a student getting ready to study overseas in the UK?

Begin  your housing search as soon as possible!


First Year Undergraduates

Most universities provide first year undergraduates housing on campus.  It is important for students to register for housing with the school as soon as possible so you do not loose a room. Spaces can be limited. 

2nd Year Undergraduate up to Postgraduate

If you are not a first year student you will need to find private accommodation.  However, universities recognize the need to house postgraduate students separately from undergraduates. Be sure to look for this type of arrangement through your university.

Do Your Research

It is important that you find accommodation that fits all of your needs, and is safe and secure. Depending on where you apply, you may want to ask the following questions:

  • Is there Security?
  • How close is the housing to campus?
  • Will you be sharing a bathroom or kitchen with other students?
  • Is there a communal area?
  • Is there internet access?

Arrange Housing Before You Arrive

It is better to have secured your housing before you land in the UK, rather than wait until after your arrival.

Where to Begin Housing Search

If you are a first year undergraduate and you have received your acceptance letter, you need to inform the university that you require accommodation! If you have made other arrangements, we suggest you reserve a room through the university until your 100% positive your housing is secured. If you are on a tight budget, housing through your university is the most affordable option. However, if your school is in a popular location, these rooms can fill up quickly.  This is why it is so important that you reserve your housing as soon as possible.

University Halls of Residence

University housing is the most popular and affordable option for international students. The residence halls are usually located close to the campus and are all inclusive. The average cost is provided below:

  • Standard room: $159 – $248 per week
  • En-suite room: $153 – $307 per week
  • Studio apartment: $165 – $401 per week

*These are only estimates. Students should contact the university for exact costs.

Private Student Halls

If you have decided that you would rather not live in university housing, there are many private students halls of residence available throughout the UK.

The best place to start looking for private housing is with your university’s housing service.  Some universities have their own private housing which they manage both on and off the campus.  Other universities provide advice centers to help students find housing around campus.  Student unions may also be able to help provide students with a list of housing options around campus. Your university may also be able to to provide a list of housing establishments to avoid or landlords with bad reputations.

If you will be studying in London, the city is full of private student halls.  A list of our favorites are provided below:

Flat Share & Private Rentals

If you are looking for a flat share or private rental, the web has many housing portals listing accommodations throughout the UK. Our favorites are listed below:

Tips & Tricks for Finding a Private Rental in the UK

  • Do not try to rent a private rental online while you are in your home country.  Landlords and letting agents have no incentive to rent property to a foreigner whom they are not able to see face to face, and have never met.
  • Consider cost when looking for a rental.  Different areas can be very expensive in the UK, especially London.  You may have to live far from campus to find affordable housing within your budget.
  • Transportation can get very expensive depending on where you are living.  Make sure that your transportation costs will exceed your budget if you have to live far from campus.
  • Landlords will most likely want a substantial down payment to secure your apartment.  They will most likely want this up front and before you move into your flat.
  • Many landlords will also not rent to you if you do not have a British Bank Account.  You may need to open an account before you can even begin your housing search.
  • Anyone who is willing to rent you an apartment from overseas is most likely a scammer and should be avoided.
  • Do not send a potential landlord money via wire transfer, check or express mail.  Make sure you see the rental in person and meet with the landlord face to face before letting any money exchange hands.
  • Make sure you review the rental contract thoroughly before signing the document. You may want to bring someone with you to help you review to ensure you are not being scammed.

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