It's Housing Week - so we're sharing all our tips and tricks to help you find your perfect place! Our Advice Service took over our Instagram stories yesterday to answer your questions about housing, and we've compiled the most useful into an article for you. So, without further ado, here are the answers to your questions on all things housing...

My landlord wants me to pay 12 months rent upfront, is that risky?

By doing this, you’ll have paid all your rent for a full year and don’t have to worry about doing it later!
You’ll be parting with a lot of money in advance, so it’s especially important to check you’re happy with the accommodation. See our handy renting checklist for tips on what to check for and you can get advice from us if you're not sure.

Paying in advance can cause problems if you leave your accommodation early, for example if you have a break clause. It’s sensible to get it put in the contract what will happen to rent paid in advance in that case.

I'm in accommodation - can I extend my contract once it ends?

Some UCL accommodation has summer availability if you continue to be a full time student, for example you are in your 1st year of an undergraduate degree. If not, UCL also open up residences to the public for booking over the summer.

Is there a system for students leaving this year to pass down properties? 

If you are looking to move out of your privately rented flat and pass your lease onto another student, please first check with your landlord that you have permission to do this - you are liable to pay your rent until the end of your tenancy agreement. If your landlord is happy to pass your tenancy onto another student, there are some useful places to look for students needing accommodation in London: 

  • This Facebook group is dedicated to UCL students looking for a room 
  • The University of London also have a Facebook Group where students can advertise rooms to rent 
  • Unipol (Student Housing) have a forum where you can advertise rooms for rent to students only 

Which part of London is best to live in so it's relatively cheap, but safe?  

Before looking at location, it's good to figure out your budget first and then look for accommodation that you can afford. Remember to factor in travel and the cost of bills.If you're not sure which areas are within your budget, check out page 28 of the University of London Housing Guide for Average Rents, or visit our webpage.

We don't recommend any particular area as being safer than any other, but we understand that it can be a big step moving to somewhere unfamiliar. If you want to explore crime rates in more detail, the Metropolitan Police publish statistics on types of crime across London here.

Does the UOL housing fair have options for short term accommodation?  

It's probably better to search online - University of London advertise short stays esp for the summer downtime.  Furthermore, UOL provide this information on short stays
Alternatively, students often use homestay, hostels, hotels, air bnbs and also have properties available. 

Around how much do bills cost?

This depends on how much you use, how energy efficient the property is and what rate you're on but take a look at UCL's average living costs here: or page 33 of University of London Housing Guide to give you a better idea here.

What is most important to look out for when signing a contract?

Use our Advice Service Checklist to help you understand what's in your contract and what it all means before you sign it.