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Heading off to university is an exciting milestone, especially if it’s your first time living away from home. To help you navigate this new chapter, we’ve compiled essential advice on choosing the right accommodation, what to pack, and understanding your rights as a tenant.

Know before you go

What’s included in your university accommodation?

  • What’s included in your university accommodation? (e.g. is there a toaster or kettle included? What about an iron or ironing board? Is there a TV in a communal area?)
  • Do you know who you’re going to be living with?  This can help you plan things like what to bring so you don’t end up with 5 woks!
  • Where do you go when you first get there? Where do you get your accommodation keys from?

Affiliation with local services

Does your university have an affiliation with a doctors surgery? How do you sign up? This is especially important if you have any pre-existing medical condition.

What to pack for university

If you’ve never lived away from home before, it can be difficult to know what you need to take with you to your new accommodation. Download this checklist so you don’t forget anything important.

[Download link]

Accommodation checklist: What to consider before signing a contract

If you’re looking for accommodation, then here are some things to consider before signing a contract.


  • Is the house in a convenient location for university?
  • Are there good public transport links and nearby supermarkets?


  • Check if the property has a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO) license if required. Ask the landlord or letting agent for a copy.

Gas and electricity

  • Ensure all gas appliances have a CORGI gas safety certificate and that the heating and electrical systems are functional and safe.


  • Verify that sinks drain properly, taps work, the toilet flushes, and there are no leaks in the bath/shower.


  • Check for a working burglar alarm, secure doors, adequate locks, and lined curtains for ground floor bedrooms.


  • Confirm there’s enough furniture and storage space in the kitchen. Check the condition of the fridge/freezer and other furnishings.

Outside the property

  • Inspect the condition of woodwork, gutters, drains, and the roof.

Financial considerations

  • Understand what costs are included in your rent, whether you need to pay a deposit, and who is responsible for bills.


  • Determine if services like window cleaning, gardening, and waste disposal are included in your rent.


  • Consider getting quotes for insuring your belongings.


  • Make sure you understand the contract, know the landlord’s contact details, and have a copy of the signed agreement. Keep a written record of any agreed repairs or alterations.

This might look like a lot to remember, but any landlord or letting agent should be able to answer any of these questions for you. Ask your university if you want help with checking the legitimacy of any paperwork or landlords.

Understanding your tenants’ rights

For more information on your rights and responsibilities as a tenant, visit the GOV.UK page on private renting.


Last updated: 15th July 2024

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