House Hunting

The Students’ Union want to help make house hunting as simple as possible for you.

Firstly, download and read our 'Finding a new place. What to do, when to do it and how' guide:

Secondly, read and download our 'Finding a New Place. Your guide to househunting':

The main points to remember are:

When should I start looking?

Some housing providers start advertising accommodation for the following academic year as early as November. However, we would encourage you not to feel pressured into signing up for accommodation too early. 

Where should I look?

This depends on where you want to live next year. Students find accommodation through a variety of ways, often through seeing lettings boards on houses, word of mouth or via the internet - have a look at our Finding Accommodation page for places to look online.

You can also go through the University's Accommodation Services webpages to view your options.

What should I look for when viewing properties? 

The first thing to do is to check that your property is accredited through the Nottingham Standard, if you are looking in the Nottingham City area. The Nottingham Standard helps tenants identify properties that meet a minimum quality standard and it accredits good landlords providing quality approved and well managed accommodation.

Taking the time to inspect a house properly, and asking the right questions may save you hassle later on so it’s worth doing. Make sure you look at the SU Advice checklist in our house hunting guide before you view can also take it with you when viewing.

Marks Out Of Tenancy - the SU has recently partnered with this organisation so that UoN students can leave reviews about their property and landlord/agent, so it's worth looking to see if any of the reviews are relevant to any potential properties you are looking at.

The NUS have also got the following info, which you should also find useful:

 - Househunting Checklist

- Before You Sign: Things to consider before you sign that contract

Can I get my contract looked over before I sign it?

Students’ Union Advice can go through your contract with you to make sure you understand what your rights and responsibilities are and to highlight any clauses that you may want to discuss further with your landlord/agent. Your landlord should give you 24 hours so you can take the proposed contract away and read it through properly. You will need to book an appointment, as we often get booked up in advance.

What money am I likely to be asked to pay?

Many landlords and estate agents request a holding deposit to reserve a property. From 1 June 2019, a holding deposit can’t be more than 1 week’s rent. This may or may not be refundable so only pay a holding deposit if you're serious about taking on the tenancy or you may lose it. If you go ahead with the tenancy, the holding fee will usually form part of your tenancy (damage) deposit. This should be protected in a tenancy deposit scheme within 30 days of handing it over. You may also be asked to pay a retainer/half-rent for the summer period.

Tenant Fees

From 1 June 2019 all upfront fees for tenants will be banned.

If you sign a new tenancy or renew your tenancy after 1 June, you can’t be asked to pay for:

  •  referencing

  •  credit and immigration checks

  •  administration

  •  renewing your contract

The only fees that you can be charged will be:

  •  for the cost of replacing a key if you lose one

  •  if you are more than 14 days late with your rent

  •  if you want to change your tenancy or bring it to an end

The ban will apply to most private tenants. This includes if you have an assured shorthold tenancy, are in student housing or if you are a lodger.

If you sign a contract now to start after 1 June 2019, you can still be charged a fee before the ban comes in

If your tenancy has already started, the ban on fees will only apply if you sign a new contract.


Some landlords and agents ask for a guarantor form to be completed. Your guarantor will become liable for your financial responsibilities, which means they will be liable for your rent if you don’t pay. If you are not happy about this, look for somewhere else to rent.

What type of contract do most students sign?

Most students sign joint fixed-term assured shorthold tenancy agreements. Assured shorthold tenancy agreements are the most common form of tenancy for anyone renting privately. A joint contract means you are renting the whole property as a group and, importantly, the landlord can hold everyone jointly responsible for the rent. A fixed-term tenancy means you will usually be tied to the contract for the whole term – most students who want to leave a house have to find a replacement.

If you have any questions about house hunting, please contact Students' Union Advice.

Useful Links

Shelter – information on finding a place to rent and letting agencies:

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get in touch with us if you think there is something missing, or if you have a question you can't find the answer to.