Finding private sector accommodation
What to do when looking for a privately-rented house, flat or room.
When to start looking
(As we adapt our service in line with the latest government guidance on COVID-19, this information is subject to change).
You can start researching private sector accommodation early by using sites like Studentpad. This will give you an idea of location, price and availability.
Landlords list their properties here in January.
The rental market in Bath is healthy, so do not rush your decision. It is important that you are well informed and make the choice that is right for you.
Private accommodation options
Shared houses and flats
Renting a shared house or with other students involves sharing a kitchen, living room (if included), bathroom and toilet. En-suite rooms are rare in shared accommodation.
These are self-contained living areas, usually with a kitchen or lounge, bedroom and en-suite bathroom in one space.
A room or self-contained accommodation which can have a small kitchen and/or bathroom. Communal facilities are shared with other residents and potentially your landlord.
Lodging in a landlord’s home
This is a popular option for exchange and visiting international students because:
- It can help you adapt to living in the UK
- You'll be introduced to new cultures and traditions
- Contracts are more flexible
- Rent can be less expensive
You can stay with a host family or landlord for one or two semesters.
You’ll have a bedroom, usually containing a bed, desk and chair, in their home. Bills and utilities are generally included and meals may be provided. House rules can vary so it’s best to talk to the host about their expectations.
Some websites that list homestay accommodation are:
Purpose built student accommodation
There are several private student accommodation blocks in the area that are similar to halls of residence but not associated with the University of Bath.
These are a popular option as:
- The majority of residents are students
- Bills are usually included in the rent
- The accommodation is high end, including facilities such as a gym, games room and communal study space
The contracts for these can be more than 50 weeks long.
Many are for studio rooms, which can be expensive, so consider your budget before applying.
Several providers advertise their accommodation with us on Studentpad and independently.
How to find student accommodation
We recommend that you use Studentpad to start your search. Studentpad is a property search site managed and maintained by the Student Accommodation team.
It lists a variety of accommodation types and the site is only for University of Bath students and staff.
We ensure that all properties listed have the appropriate certification and licencing.
Other search sites
You can also find private sector accommodation by searching on:
- Rightmove Student
- On The Market Student
- Accommodation for Students
- My Student Halls
Wherever you search, be sure that the person you are dealing with is genuine before paying any fees or signing a contract.
There are several local agencies in the area that specialise in student accommodation. They will have local landlords on their books and may be able to suggest a few options for you.
What to consider when searching
Most privately rented accommodation does not include bills in the rent.
When working out your budget, make sure you allow for gas, electricity, water and internet.
The average student spends over ￡500 a year on energy in the private-rented sector. Read some advice on how to make sure you’re not paying too much for your energy.
If you're a student who lives on your own or with other students, you do not have to pay council tax.
If you live in private accommodation with non-students, you may be eligible for a council tax discount.
Who to live with
You might choose to live with friends from your course, a club or society, current housemates, or people you meet at a housemate finding event.
Do not rush into decisions about who to live with, as you will entering into a legally binding agreement with them.
Where to live
Read more about areas of Bath if you need help deciding where to live.
Read reviews about what it's like to rent in different areas in Bath.
It is likely that you’ll need to travel to University by bus so make sure you include transport costs in your budget.
You should also consider how long your commute will be when searching. You can use Google maps to help estimate how long it will take you to travel to and from campus.
Viewings during the COVID-19 pandemic
Current government guidance means that you should remain where you are if possible.
Viewing rooms and properties for the next academic year is not essential during the current national lockdown. We recommend that you only view properties online during this period.
Make sure you follow these instructions for in person viewings once lockdown has ended or if you are looking for accommodation for semester two.
- Check in advance that the agent or current tenants do not have any COVID-19 symptoms or have been in contact with someone who has tested positive and/or has symptoms. Likewise, you should not go to view a property if any of the above apply to you.
- Initial viewings should be done virtually wherever possible. Agents/landlords should be able to help you with this.
- Wear a suitable face covering where appropriate.
- Viewings should be arranged by appointment only, and ‘open house’ viewings should not take place.
- When viewing properties in person, you should avoid touching surfaces wherever possible, wash your hands regularly and/or use hand sanitiser.
Keep yourself and the community safe when attending viewings.
When you move into private accommodation, you will need to pay:
- A deposit
- The first month’s rent
- A holding fee (up to one week's rent)
These will vary, but can total over ￡1000 per person.
Check what is refundable, know what you are paying for, and get a receipt.
Be sure that the landlord or agency is genuine before handing over any money.
Right to Rent Checks
Before you start renting you will need to prove you have the right to rent a property in the UK.
You will be asked to provide your passport and/or visa when signing the contract or when collecting your keys.
Online letting agents
If you use an online letting agent to find your accommodation, it is important to check they operate legally. This is particularly significant if you are an international student searching from overseas.
If using an online letting agent, you should check:
- They have a Bath business address and a landline phone number, so you can easily speak to them if you need to
- If you have to pay any fees, what they are for and how much
- That your deposit will be kept in an official protection scheme
- That the letting agent legally belongs to an official scheme that helps resolve complaints
If you do not check these details, it can be difficult to resolve any issues you have whilst living there, such as repairs. It can also lead to problems getting your deposit back.
Subletting is when a tenant lets a room or house to someone else.
Without permission from the landlord this can be illegal and have serious consequences.
If the person you rent from does not own the property, make sure that they have permission from the landlord.
Read more about subletting.
- Advice on what to look for during viewings - UniHomes' Student House Viewing Guide and Save the Student
- Energy efficiency in rented accommodation - Student Switch Off
- Information for students in private accommodation during the pandemic
- Reviews of landlords, locations and properties from previous tenants - Marks out of Tenancy
- Moving house during the COVID-19 pandemic - Gov.uk
How the University can help
The Student Accommodation team offers a range of services to help make finding accommodation easier for you:
The Housing Forum is a talk for first year students who are searching for private sector accommodation for the first time.
Get tips and advice on starting your search and how to manage the transition from University accommodation to private housing.
The Student Accommodation Team can read through your accommodation contract for you. They’ll offer guidance to help ensure you understand your responsibilities and rights.
This is a free service that can only be provided in person, not via email.
Most landlords and agents will require a reference. If you have lived in University of Bath accommodation, we can provide a reference for you.
You can use the below information as your referee:
- Landlord: University of Bath
- Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note, we can only provide references by email.
When renting, you will need to provide a guarantor.
This is someone who will be responsible for paying your rent if you fall into debt whilst living here.
Your guarantor must live and work in the UK on a permanent basis. If you cannot provide a guarantor you can choose from two other options:
- Use the University of Bath guarantor service provided by YourGuarantor
- Pay the full rental fee up front at the start of the contract
More help and advice
Read our information for students in private accommodation during COVID-19 here.