Private accommodation

You might want to live in private accommodation while you're studying in London. Private accommodation is let out and managed by private landlords, which can feel overwhelming, especially if you are new to the UK. We've put together the following information for those who decide on private housing, so you can get the relevant guidance about your rights and responsibilities as a private tenant.

Make a plan

When planning your accommodation, there are a few important things to consider before choosing where to live.

  • Check term dates and secure your accommodation before your course starts, so you can focus on your studies without worrying about where you'll live.
  • Take the time to research the costs associated with rent, utilities, and insurance and think about how much money you can afford to spend.
  • Consider the location of your accommodation and what amenities are nearby, whether you opt for university or private accommodation, you need to consider how far way it is from campus.
  • Think about who you would like to live with and what type of property best suits your lifestyle.

After considering all the above factors, you can start your search for properties that meet your requirements. During property viewings, it's advisable to examine as many as possible and take a checklist to ensure you don't overlook any important details. This will help you make an informed decision about the best living arrangements for you while studying at Coventry University London. Remember to start your search early and use reputable online resources to find your ideal accommodation.

Remember to start looking for accommodation at least three months before you plan to move to the UK. This will give you plenty of time to research and compare options. You can search for properties independently on the websites below.
Zoopla
Rightmove
SpareRoom
OnTheMarket
Note: Coventry University London has no direct association with any of the websites listed above, nor has it vetted any of the landlords or letting agents that advertise on these websites. Coventry University London shall not be held liable for any loss or damage (however caused) suffered as a result of any dealings you have with any of the listed online accommodation sites. Please contact the external site directly for answers to questions regarding its content.

Types of accommodation

If you're looking for a place to rent while you're studying at Coventry University London, you have a few options to consider.

  • Rent a room in a shared house or flat with other people. This can be a good option if you want to live with friends or if you're on a tight budget. The rent and bills can be split between everyone, which can make it cheaper. However, you'll have to share communal areas and responsibilities like cleaning, and the quality of the accommodation can vary.
  • Rent a place on your own, like a studio or a flat. This will give you more privacy and freedom, but it can be more expensive. You'll also have to take care of all the bills and cleaning yourself.
  • Rent a room from a resident landlord, who lives in the same property as you. However, you'll have less rights than a tenant, and there might be house rules that restrict your freedom and independence. The rent might be inclusive of bills, but the security and quality of the accommodation can vary.
  • Homestay (HFS London) is a high quality, competitively-priced alternative to staying in a hotel or hostel. By living with a host family, you will not only learn more about English culture, but also have an excellent opportunity to practise your English in an authentic environment.

It's important to consider all these options and choose the one that works best for you.

Finding someone to share with

Choosing who you live with is important! If you're moving into halls, you don't get to choose who you live with. But if you're moving into a house, you may be living with a smaller group of people with shared communal spaces.

  • To find housemates you can post on Your Students' Union housing forum or attend live events where you can connect with potential housemates. If you're a returning student, you might already have people in mind from your course, clubs, societies, or previous accommodation.
  • When looking for housemates, consider whether you'd like to live with students studying the same or similar courses, from similar backgrounds, who share your interests, or have similar lifestyles. Be honest with your potential housemates about your preferences, so you can all live happily together.
  • Before signing the contract, make sure everyone has the right to be in the UK, understands the contract, and can afford the rent and bills. Decide whose name the bills will be in and how they will be paid. Once you sign the contract, you're legally bound to it, so it's important to make sure everyone agrees before signing.

Avoid scams

As students search for accommodation during peak times, there are individuals who may attempt to take advantage of the situation by engaging in rental scams. These scammers advertise properties that they do not own or that do not exist online, often with convincing photos and a low rental price, in order to convince students to pay fees prior to viewing the property. Once fees have been paid, the fraudster disappears, and the student loses a significant amount of money.

To avoid falling victim to rental scams, it is important to be aware of certain warning signs.

  • If the rental price seems too good to be true, it probably is. Scammers often advertise properties for rent at low prices in desirable areas to lure in unsuspecting students.
  • If you are asked to pay fees via a payment service that cannot be traced, such as Western Union or Moneygram, it is best to avoid making any rental payments through such services. If the landlord or agent is unable to let you view the inside of the property in person or is pressuring you to pay fees or send personal documents prior to viewing, it is likely a scam.
  • To aid in your search for accommodation, consider using a reputable lettings agency and viewing the inside of the property before signing anything or making payments.
  • You can also search the name and contact details shared on the advert online to see if others have shared information about repeat scammers.
  • Conducting a reverse image search on Google to see if the property photos have been used elsewhere online can also be helpful.

If you have any questions or are unsure about a property, seek further support from Your Students' Union Advice Service.

University guarantor service

Housing Hand works closely with the majority of universities and higher education institutions, with the fundamental aim of helping students to secure the accommodation of their choice –without the stress or financial struggle of paying all their rent in advance.

  • I need a UK guarantor. One of the biggest problems international students face when renting a property is not having a UK guarantor. This is a huge worry if you are not able to pay 6-12 months in advance to secure your property. Even if you do pay in advance, you may still need a UK guarantor. Housing Hand can be your UK guarantor so that you can pay your rent monthly. The application process is simple, you can click for a quote.
  • Why do I need a guarantor? If you can’t provide a qualifying UK guarantor, you may be asked to pay up to twelve months rent upfront. This can leave less bargaining power if something goes wrong in your accommodation. Housing Hand can be your guarantor – leaving you to sit back, relax, and pay your rent monthly.
  • What is a co-signer? A co-signer is a second point of contact for Housing Hand. They cannot be a student or be moving into the same property as the applicant who is signing the Housing Hand guarantor agreement. They are jointly liable for repaying Housing Hand should you default on your rent. In the instance you failed to pay your rent, we would attempt to contact you and arrange a suitable repayment plan. If we are unable to do so, or should the agreement be broken, your co-signer would then be contacted to pay what you owe. We do not conduct a credit check or require your co-signer to be a UK home owner or resident. Please note, on joint and several contracts, you and your co-signer are required to repay Housing Hand for housemate’s non-payments that have been made on your behalf.
  • How much does it cost? Housing Hand charges a one off fee paid at the start of your tenancy. Prices start from just £295 for up to 12 months cover. The exact fee depends on several factors, including your rent amount. You can get a free, no obligation quote by making an application! Student fee will be between 60-95 % of your share of the monthly rent, subject to a minimum of £295.

Tenancy agreements

Tenancy agreements are important legal documents that set out the responsibilities and expectations of both tenants and landlords. They cover things like rent payments, how long you can stay in the property, and who is responsible for repairs.

  • Before you sign a tenancy agreement, it's important to read it carefully and make sure you understand everything. If there's anything you're not sure about, you should seek independent advice.
  • When you're checking over your agreement, make sure you know who the landlord or landlord's agent is, how much rent you'll need to pay and how often, and whether you'll need to pay a returnable deposit. You should also check what's included in the rent and whether there are any restrictions on visitors or use of facilities.

There are two main types of agreements for students: tenancy agreements and license agreements.

  • Licence agreements are often used when you're renting a room in your landlord's primary residence or sharing a bedroom with another lodger or a member of the landlord's family.
  • Tenancy agreements are used when you have a legally binding right to occupy a property or room and to exclude other people from it.

It's important to know which type of agreement you have, as the rules for each are slightly different. And remember, the laws around tenancies can vary depending on when the agreement was created, so if you're unsure about your rights, you should seek further advice.

Tenancy agreement checklist

What to look out for before signing:

  • Whenever possible, try to view the property in person before relying solely on the online listing.
  • Book a free contract check with Your Students' Union to review your rental agreement before signing it.
  • Negotiate any terms you are not comfortable with and make sure they are included in the agreement before signing.
  • Check the length of the tenancy and the notice period before agreeing to the terms.
  • Determine if you are individually liable or jointly liable with your housemates for any damages or rent.
  • Ensure that your deposit is protected, as this is a legal requirement.
  • Verify the amount of rent you owe, the due date, and if it includes any utility bills.
  • Double-check that the contact information for your landlord or lettings agency is included in the agreement.

Deposits

A tenancy deposit is an upfront payment, usually equivalent to one month's rent (up to a maximum of five weeks' rent by law), made to your landlord or agent at the beginning of your tenancy. The deposit is held by them until the end of your tenancy and is intended to protect both parties in case of any damage or unpaid rent during your stay.

If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, your landlord is legally required to protect your deposit in a deposit protection scheme. However, if you are a lodger or live in university accommodation or rent a room in a house with the owner, your deposit may not be legally protected.

There are three government-approved schemes for deposit protection:

If your landlord uses any other scheme, your deposit may not be protected. So, make sure to ask which scheme your landlord plans to use.

Before paying your deposit, make sure you have signed your contract, and check how much you're being asked to pay. Your deposit should not be more than five weeks' rent. If you pay cash for your deposit, make sure you get a receipt and attach it to your housing contract to avoid any confusion.

After paying your deposit, your landlord should protect the money in a tenancy deposit protection scheme within 30 days. You should be given information about the rented property, the amount and protection of your deposit, the name and contact details of the tenancy deposit protection scheme and its dispute resolution service, and more.

If your landlord fails to meet the requirements, such as taking longer than 30 days to protect your deposit or not protecting your deposit, you may take legal action. However, before starting any proceedings, seek advice from Your Advice Service or a lawyer, as there are risks involved if you do not succeed.

For more information about tenancy deposits and deposit protection schemes, you can check out Shelter or the government's deposit protection information.

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