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Finding private sector accommodation

How and where to search for privately rented accommodation in Bath that’s right for you.

Terrace housing
How to find and rent private sector accommodation

Private accommodation options

Renting a shared or whole property

This is an option that many students choose, with four to five bedroom properties being the most common size. Studios and one bedroom flats are available but considerably more expensive.

Options vary, but you can expect a 11-12 month contract and an average rent of around £650 per person per month, before bills.

Landlords and agents usually look for groups of students, not individuals, so it is likely you will need to get together with a group you want to live with.

Read our guidance on finding family accommodation.

Purpose built student accommodation

The most similar option to University managed accommodation, but managed by a private company, usually including bills/utilities in the rent.

Rooms can be booked individually, and you’d live with other students, although they may not be from the University of Bath.

Several providers offer studios only, which can be expensive, so consider your budget before applying.

Renting with a resident landlord

Renting a room in a landlord or host family’s home is the most flexible option. Contract lengths are more negotiable, with no minimum length and rent is often more affordable. This makes lodgings a good option for those in Bath for a semester only.

When to start looking

From November onwards, agencies list properties. Studentpad lists properties from December. We advise aiming to have your accommodation sorted around March time. You can still find properties and rooms after this, but you are likely to have to make more compromises.

Accommodation contracts are legally binding, so it is important that you are well informed and make the choice that is right for you.

How to find private accommodation


Whichever of the options you think would be best, we recommend that you use Studentpad to start your search. This has a variety of accommodation types and we ensure that all properties listed have the relevant safety certificates and licencing.

We begin listing properties available for the next academic year in December.

Other search sites

You can also find private sector accommodation by searching on:

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.

Always check whether the agency is registered to both a Redress Scheme and Client Money Protection Scheme.

Read our guidance on what else to be aware of during your accommodation search.

What to consider when looking for private accommodation

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. A good housemate has a similar lifestyle to you, is trustworthy and isn’t afraid of some washing up. For further guidance on living together, see our Shared Living Agreement.

There will be events throughout the year to help you find suitable housemates. We have networking sites available to students too:

  • ResLife programme - is a great way to meet other students and explore your new home.
  • Students' Union events - the SU and our groups host events all through the year, such as music events, food fairs and cultural trips.
  • Studentpad message board
  • use the message board to find available rooms and flatmates, or to let students know if there is a room spare in your student house.
  • Discord Student of Bath Community - search for student flatmates with other students from University of Bath, Bath Spa University and Norland College. Contact


Before signing a contract or paying any fees, you will need to see the property. Contact the landlord or agency directly to arrange a viewing. This might be online or in person.

Viewings often take place months before you move in. It’s likely it will be your only chance to see the property before you live there, so it’s important that you know what to look for.

Some helpful guides are found on Save the Student and Studentpad.

Upfront costs

Before moving into private accommodation, you will need to pay:

  • A holding fee, up to one week's rent
  • A deposit, up to five week’s rent
  • The first month’s rent

These vary but can total over £1,000 per person. Check what is refundable, know what you are paying for and get a receipt.

The Tenant Fees Act sets out limitations on what a landlord or agent can charge.

Be sure that the landlord or agency is genuine before handing over any money.

Checks made by your landlord or agent

Before you can rent a property, a landlord will have some requirements too. We can help you with these:

  • Right to rent - checking you have the right to rent in the UK.
  • Contact with your room and student number for a reference statement. This email can be passed onto landlords or agents should they wish to contact directly.
  • The YourGuarantor scheme - if you can’t provide a UK based guarantor and you're being asked for rent upfront, there are potential solutions like the YourGuarantor scheme.

The contract

Accommodation contracts are legally binding, so it’s important that you understand your rights and responsibilities.

The ResLife Team offers a free contract reading service. Arrange an appointment by emailing or book an appointment.

You can also use our Housing Contract Helper, which helps explain common terms and clauses found in accommodation contracts.

Other useful information can be found at:

  • Studentpad – make sure that you understand all clauses, so there are no nasty surprises after you've signed.

  • Shelter – when you move in with other people, you may be offered separate tenancies, a joint tenancy, or a tenancy in only one person's name.

Find out about alternative locations to live, beyond Bath.

Widening your accommodation search

More help and advice

If you need further help or advice, contact the ResLife Team:

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