Finding private sector accommodation
What to do when looking for a privately-rented house, flat or room.
When to start looking
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 December. Agencies tend to list properties earlier in the year, around October and November.
Although demand for housing in Bath is high, don’t 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.
Providers advertise their accommodation independently, but you can find some on MyStudentHalls.com.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Arrange an appointment by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org or visit the West Accommodation Centre.
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