How to Navigate Student Accommodation in the UK as an International Student

Anna Varela·25 February 2024·6 min read
How to Navigate Student Accommodation in the UK as an International Student

Moving to a new country for your studies can be both exciting and overwhelming, especially when it comes to finding accommodation.

Whether you're starting your journey as a first-year student or navigating the housing market in your second year and beyond, understanding the options and processes can make the transition smoother.

Here’s a comprehensive guide to help you find the perfect place to call home during your time in the UK.

First Year: Halls of Residence

For many international students, the first year of university often means living in university-managed accommodation, such as halls of residence. These halls are typically owned, managed, and maintained by the universities themselves, providing a convenient and supportive living environment.

In university halls, you can expect a single, private room with shared amenities like kitchens and lounges, fostering a sense of community and making it easy to meet new people.

Additionally, some halls offer catered options, providing meals as part of the accommodation fees, simplifying your daily routine.

To secure a place in university halls, make sure to meet application deadlines and pay any required deposits promptly. Keep track of important emails from your university, as they may contain crucial information about accommodation applications and deadlines.

Second Year and Beyond: Private Accommodation

After your first year, you may choose to explore private accommodation options, which offer greater independence and flexibility. Most students tend to start considering second year housing in November/December of their first year of University.

Private halls of residence, like university-owned halls, provide inclusive bills and shared spaces, but with a potentially higher cost for more modern facilities.

Alternatively, renting privately allows you to choose your own living arrangements, whether it's a studio flat, shared house, or homestay accommodation. This is the option most popular with students as it offers a wider range of choice in budget, size, location, and more.

While renting privately offers independence, it's essential to understand your responsibilities, including managing bills and property upkeep. Some private houses may offer bills inclusive while others leave it to the tenants to sort.

When searching for private accommodation, websites like Accommodation for Students can help you browse available options and contact landlords for viewings.

If you’re still unsure which type of accommodation is best for you, you can read our blog here which breaks it down even further.

Understanding Guarantors

One essential aspect of renting accommodation in the UK is having a guarantor—a UK-based individual who agrees to cover your rent if you're unable to do so. As an international student, finding a guarantor can be challenging, but there are options available to you:

  1. Pay Rent Upfront: If you have the financial means, paying your rent upfront for the entire year eliminates the need for a guarantor. While this option may be costly upfront, it provides peace of mind and avoids the hassle of finding a guarantor.
  2. Online Guarantor Services: Websites like Housing Hand offer online guarantor services for students who don't have a UK-based guarantor. While this option incurs additional fees, it provides a viable solution for international students unable to pay rent upfront or secure a traditional guarantor.

For more information on guarantors, read our blog here.

How to use Accommodation for Students

Accommodation for Students makes the accommodation searching process easy and convenient. Here's a step-by-step guide to help you navigate our platform and secure your next home away from home:

  1. Start with our Website: Begin your search journey by visiting our website at Accommodation for Students. Use the search bar to enter your city or university location.
  2. Explore Available Listings: Once you've entered your city, you'll be presented with a comprehensive list of available housing options. Take advantage of our filters to narrow down your search based on your preferences. Filter by the number of bedrooms, price, type of property (house, flat, studio, etc.), bills included, and letting period.
  3. Review Property Details: Click on any property that catches your interest to view detailed information and photos. Get a clear picture of what each property offers, including amenities, appliances provided, bedroom details, and general property information. You can also view the property's location on a map to ensure it suits your needs.
  4. Make an Enquiry: If you've found a property that meets your criteria, scroll to the bottom of the page to make an enquiry and book your viewing. Our platform makes it easy to connect with landlords or letting agents and schedule viewings to see the property in person.
  5. Get Support and Information: If you have any questions or need assistance during your search process, don't hesitate to get in touch with us. We're here to help you every step of the way. Additionally, consider attending one of our online events for more information and resources.

Final Thoughts

Navigating the UK accommodation market as an international student may seem daunting at first, but with careful planning and research, you can find the perfect place to live during your studies.

Remember to stay organised, understand your responsibilities, and seek assistance when needed. By following these steps, you'll be well-prepared to embark on your UK university journey with confidence.

Start your search today on