The Student Accommodation Service has a registration scheme for private landlords. We work closely with registered landlords in Preston so that there is a good supply of a range of different types of affordable and suitable accommodation.
We are here to offer advice so that UCLan students who enter into tenancy agreements are fully aware of the contractual implications. We can help with any queries you may have regarding private accommodation. We must stress that students need to be fully satisfied with the accommodation offered before signing a tenancy agreement. This is exclusively between the student and the landlord.
Our Students' Guide (below) is a useful source of information for all students looking for private accommodation. It includes information on tenancy agreements and the questions you should ask landlords prior to signing up or paying any money.
There are numerous types of private accommodation, ranging from large halls of residence and smaller residential blocks to shared houses, bedsits and flats.
We require private landlords who register with the University to abide by our Core Requirements and comply with Preston City Council standards.
The average cost of shared houses is £67.50 per student per week and contract lengths normally vary from 38 to 52 weeks. These details are only a guide and you should check the cost and contract length with your landlord.
Students who enjoyed living in halls of residence during their first year may wish to apply to remain in University halls or move to private halls in their second and third years.
Information about vacancies in University and private registered accommodation can be found on Studentpad.
Although University owned/leased halls are often fully allocated at the start of an academic year (September), we usually get some vacancies after the first few weeks, which students can apply for (if they are not already tied into a tenancy agreement elsewhere).
Once the term has started, in the first instance, you should contact the UCLan Student Accommodation Service to find out if there are any vacancies in UCLan owned accommodation.
You can call our friendly and experienced staff on +44 (0)1772 892529 or visit them at the Students’ Union Building, Room 013.
If you are looking for accommodation registered with UCLan, you can search on Studentpad to find the right property for you.
You will need a password for Studentpad. You can email: email@example.com with your student registration number to obtain this.
This guide has been designed to assist students looking for accommodation in the private rented sector. It contains advice on what to consider when viewing a property, the charges you will be expected to pay plus information on tenancy agreements and your rights as a tenant. Click on the tabs below for more information.
Disclaimer: This is intended as a guide only and is not a complete statement of the law. Its contents are without prejudice to legal rights. If you are in doubt about your legal rights or obligations you should seek legal advice.
Please Note: The Student Accommodation Service visits most but not all premises listed as appropriate for student accommodation solely to ascertain their general suitability in respect of accommodation and facilities offered and the normal upkeep of premises. Registered properties are re-visited from time to time, but no assurance can be given by UCLan that the properties are being maintained properly between visits. Each student should, however, make his or her own inspection before agreeing to take a tenancy.
UCLan does not undertake any detailed inspection of electric wiring, fitments or appliances, gas installations and appliances, water heaters or other similar appliances that may be on the premises. A recommendation or listing of any premises by the University does not imply a guarantee of the safety of any such fixtures or fittings, which are the responsibility of the landlord. If at any time a student has cause for concern over such features, or generally in respect of the accommodation, he or she should contact the landlord immediately.
UCLan does not accept any responsibility in contract, tort (including negligence) or otherwise for any loss or damage whether direct, indirect or consequential suffered by a student as a result of the student using the registered property listings.
The University, whilst not wishing to unduly restrict the freedom of individuals, is committed to ensuring that local residents and students are able to reside peacefully alongside one another.
UCLan's Student Guide to Regulations requires that students behave in a socially acceptable manner and refrain from conduct which may damage the University’s good name. This applies to behaviour both on and off the University’s premises.
Students living in the private sector should be aware that they may be living in an area where neighbouring families have young children, or there are elderly people who need to have undisturbed rest. There may be neighbours who work on shifts and require sleep during the day. Students should be aware that it is unlawful to create unacceptable noise disturbance or to behave in an intimidating manner towards those living nearby and the general public.
The University may take action against any student living in private sector accommodation who breaches the Regulations for Students by behaving in an unacceptable manner. All complaints made to the University will be recorded and investigated. Serious breaches in the Regulations for Students can result in suspension or expulsion from the University.
There is no typical landlord. Some landlords do as much as possible to help their tenants whilst others offer a less than perfect service. To address this, the University has a set of Core Requirements for private sector landlords.
Copies are available from the Student Accommodation Service.
The purpose of the Core Requirements is to encourage landlords to conduct their business in a professional manner and to carry out repairs promptly. The criteria have been chosen to reflect common sense obligations and responsibilities and to set standards which are achievable.
Landlords who register with the University must sign to agree that they are willing to abide by these requirements.
The key to effective house hunting is to get organised before you start. Ask yourself::
In addition to the rent which will be payable monthly, termly or for the whole academic year in advance, you are likely to have to pay a damage deposit, gas and electricity bills (if not included in the rent). Depending on your contract you may have to pay water rates and, if you reach an agreement early in the year, a summer retainer.
They say you only get to know someone once you start living with them! Decide how many people you want to share with and try to choose your future housemates carefully. You shouldn’t rush into this, especially if you are a first year student and have only been here a few weeks. There is plenty of accommodation and plenty of time to make sure you are really happy with your chosen flat/house mates before you start your accommodation search. Once you have signed a tenancy agreement, it is usually too late to change your mind!
Most rented accommodation is within a one mile radius of the campus and within easy walking distance. If you own a car you should check whether parking is permitted outside, or near to, the accommodation. Please note, all registered accommodation is within walking distance of the Campus and the University discourages the use of cars in accordance with the Sustainable Travel Strategy. Please see our sustainable travel page.
When you do start looking for accommodation, give yourself plenty of time. There is a good supply of furnished private University registered accommodation but choices are inevitably more limited by late summer. Some landlords will not be able to meet you on the day you call. Try to make appointments during daylight so that you can take a good look at the internal and external environments. Make sure all the people you intend to share with have a chance to view the property.
Do not be afraid to ask the landlord if you can take a copy of the contract away with you to read before signing. Make sure you understand all the terms and conditions. If anything is unclear, seek advice from the Student Accommodation Service. We will offer you as much help and advice as possible but you have to make the decision on whether a house is right. Let the landlord know whatever decision you reach as soon as possible as other students may be interested in the property. Above all, be patient. A lengthy checklist is provided within this guide to help you decide if the accommodation you are viewing is both safe and suitable. View a few properties so you get an idea of rent levels and standards of accommodation and never sign a contract without having made a thorough inspection. Do not take the first place you come across unless it meets all your requirements.
Current private registered accommodation vacancies are listed throughout the year on our searchable website called UclanStudentpad, which is linked to UCLan's accommodation website. Here you will be able to search for accommodation and post messages to other students, if, for example, you are looking for housemates. Most students due to enter their second, third and fourth years of study secure private accommodation some time during the spring or summer term, in preparation for their return to University the following September. Most landlords register their vacancies for next September on Studentpad from mid-December onwards The site is password protected and if you are a current, enrolled student you can contact us to obtain this. (email:firstname.lastname@example.org). New first year students will be given information about how to access the site at the appropriate time, when we have received their accommodation application forms and looked at their choices.
Private sector accommodation falls into two main categories:
This type of accommodation usually involves having your own bedroom but sharing the communal facilities with other tenants. Average rents for this type of accommodation are between £45 and £65 per week per person exclusive of gas and electricity bills. If bills are included your rent will inevitably be higher. Single bed-sits with your own kitchen area and communal bathroom are sometimes available. Contract lengths are normally between 37 and 43 weeks, but make sure you check because some are longer.
There are a number of these, of varying size, either in cluster flats or traditional halls arrangement. Some are en-suite, whereas others have communal bathrooms. Rents range from around £52 to £95 per week. Studios which are self- contained with a personal shower room and kitchen, are approximately £90 to £105 per week. Most, but not all include gas and electricity bills. Contract lengths are usually for 42-44 weeks, but you must check as each hall may differ.
In addition to rent, you should consider the following charges:
If, during the spring or summer term, you find a property you would like to live in for the following academic year, the landlord will probably ask you to pay a summer retainer to reserve the property until you take up occupation in September. This is usually a lump sum of about £150 - £250 or a nominal rent for the summer vacation period, which is around 10 - 12 weeks (but will depend on the length of the contract the landlord offers). Some landlords charge half rent, so you should check and compare your choices carefully. A retainer is normally non-returnable so, should you decide after paying, not to move into the property, it is unlikely that you will get your money back. You should obtain a written receipt from the landlord when you pay the retainer. If any works are required on the property, then you should agree these with the landlord and include details in the retainer agreement.
If you make any arrangement with the landlord to store your possessions in your new accommodation during the summer vacation, this will be at your own risk. Landlords do not insure your personal belongings. You may find that insurers will not insure your possessions if the property is to be unoccupied during the summer.
A damage deposit is usually charged by private landlords either before or at the start of the tenancy. The amount varies from one landlord to another but the average is between £100 to £250. This deposit is returned at the end of the tenancy provided that you have not damaged the property (fair wear and tear excepted), and if your rent has been paid in full. The landlord, must, by law, secure your deposit in a government approved Tenancy Deposit Scheme. See section 9 for more information on deposits and inventories.
Gas and Electricity
Most rents in small properties do not include fuel bills. When you move in you will need to take meter readings and open an account (in all the names of the tenants) with your chosen supplier of gas and electricity. When you leave, inform your supplier that you are leaving, take a meter reading and obtain a final account. Some suppliers may require you to pay a deposit. If possible, check with previous tenants for average running costs. A few properties have pay as you go meters (coins or cards).
Water rates are usually paid by the landlord but you should check your contract to see who is liable. If your contract states that the tenants are responsible for paying the water rates then you should arrange to make the payments monthly so that you only pay for the length of your tenancy agreement. You should also ensure that the supplier is aware of when your liability commenced.
The landlord will be responsible for insuring the building and the furniture and furnishings he/she has provided. You are responsible for insuring your own personal possessions including any furniture that belongs to you. You can obtain leaflets about student insurance from the Students' Union Advice Centre.
Students living in shared houses require individual television licences if they have televisions in their own bedrooms. If you only have one television between you which you watch in a communal area, only one licence is required. If you watch live television on your laptop, computer or mobile telephone, you will almost certainly need a licence also. If your property does not have the appropriate licence(s) you could face prosecution and a fine of up to £1,000.
If you require more information about use of televisions, please refer to the TV Licensing site.
Council Tax is payable to the local council and is based on the value of the property. If all the occupants of the property are full-time students during the period stated on the tenancy agreement, the property will be exempt from Council Tax.
So long as you are a full-time UCLan student and you inform the University of your term-time address, the landlords should be able to gain exemption for the property. If you do not do this you may be asked to obtain a Council Tax Exemption Form from the <i> in the Library. If the landlord is unable to gain Council Tax exemption as a result of your failure to inform the University of your term time address (or by providing an exemption certificate), it is likely there will be a clause in the tenancy agreement stating that the charges for Council Tax will be passed onto you.
If one adult occupant of the property is a part-time student or a non-student 75% of the Council Tax will be due on the property and if two or more adult occupants of the property are part-time students or non-students, full council Tax will be due on the property.
If any of the occupants finish their course and continue to stay in the property over the summer vacation, a 90% charge may be payable. The landlord may ask you to agree to pay a higher rent to cover this charge.
If you are a part-time student you should discuss Council Tax with the landlord before you agree to take up a tenancy. A landlord may only accept you as a tenant if you agree to pay a higher rent to cover the Council Tax charges which result from your occupation of the property. If, as a part-time student, you are entitled to claim Housing Benefit, you may be entitled to claim an increase to cover the extra cost incurred. Any agreement made between you and the landlord should be in writing and signed by both parties
Understanding the contract between you and your landlord is very important. There are certain statutory rights that you have as a tenant that nothing in your agreement can alter (despite what your landlord might think). It is essential that you ask your landlord to provide you with a written tenancy agreement, which must be signed by both you and the landlord.
Make sure you read the tenancy agreement very thoroughly and that you understand all the terms. Where a property is let to UCLan students, the length of the contract, if fixed term, will normally be between 37 and 43 weeks (the period may be subject to negotiation between you and the landlord). Such a period gives you security for the academic year (if you keep to the terms of the tenancy) but means you, as well as the landlord, are committed to the tenancy for that period. At the end of the period fixed in the agreement the landlord can seek possession of the property.
Assured Shorthold Tenancies
An Assured Shorthold Tenancy can be either for a fixed term or open ended. If the agreement is open-ended then after six months your landlord can obtain a possession order at any time provided he has served you with at least two months’ notice to quit in writing. Landlords can also seek possession of the property during the tenancy if they have ‘grounds for possession’ under the Housing Act 1996. Examples include if a tenant is in rent arrears of more than two months or if he/she is causing or likely to cause a nuisance to the other tenants or neighbours. Details of these grounds are available from the Student Accommodation Service. There is a procedure that landlords must follow if they are seeking ‘grounds for possession’. If your landlord is seeking possession please discuss this with the Accommodation Officers or Students' Union Advice Centre or seek legal advice. A tenant can terminate an open ended contract at any time after serving the landlord with at least four weeks’ notice in writing.
If you want to terminate your fixed term contract before the end of the tenancy, you can only do so if there is a clause in the contract that permits it, if your landlord agrees to it or if your landlord allows you to find a suitable replacement. Failure to seek permission from your landlord to break the contract could lead to court action for the unpaid rent up to the end of the tenancy. You may also be able to terminate the contract if the landlord has significantly breached the tenancy agreement, but seek legal advice first.
If you are uncertain about your contract, get legal advice, or for general advice about tenancy agreements, ask at the Student Accommodation Service or the Students' Union Advice Centre.
Landlords who register their properties with the University agree to abide by our Core Requirements , and in doing so agree to issue single tenancy agreements to individual students. You should avoid signing a joint tenancy agreement - this is where all tenants sign a single agreement and the agreement states that tenants will be held jointly and severally liable for the rent.
If you are a student with a family, or a couple, and you will be the sole occupants of a property, it is acceptable to sign a joint tenancy.
Landlords have a duty to ensure the safety of their properties for tenants. These duties are laid down by legislation and are as follows:
This is extremely important. A small number of students in Britain have died in the last few years from carbon monoxide poisoning resulting from badly installed or maintained gas appliances. Legislation requires your landlord to carry out a gas safety inspection on all gas appliances at least once every 12 months. The servicing must be carried out by a CAPITA/GAS SAFE engineer. You have a right to a copy of your landlord’s current Gas Safety Certificate and should request a copy prior to entering into the tenancy agreement and a renewed copy if the certificate expires during the tenancy.
Carbon monoxide is a gas which is highly poisonous. It has no colour, smell or taste and so can be difficult to recognise. With enough air, burning domestic fuels produce carbon dioxide and water vapour in safe amounts and these products are normally taken away by a chimney or flue. However, if there is too little air and the air vent, chimney or flue is blocked, any carbon monoxide produced cannot escape. Look out for stains, soot or discolouration around a gas fire. There should not be a strange unusual smell when a gas appliance is on. The flame on a gas fire or heater should not burn yellow or orange.
The main symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning are: unexplained headaches, sleepiness, streaming eyes and general lethargy. If you are at all worried that a gas appliance is faulty, switch it off immediately. Call National Grid Gas Emergencies (Formally Transco Gas ) – 0800 111 999 (This is a 24 hour emergency line) immediately. Contact your landlord and notify them about the problem. If they have not made any effort to rectify the problem after a reasonable period of time, contact the Accommodation Office or the Health and Safety Executive. If National Grid Gas Emergencies disconnect a heating appliance then the landlord must provide you with emergency heating.
Remember - never attempt to repair a gas appliance yourself and never block up air vents, even if there is a draught.
Landlords have a legal duty to ensure electrical equipment and the installation is safe. Check that your landlord has had all wiring and electrical appliances inspected by an approved contractor and ask to see his/her Electrical Safety Inspection Report. (N.B. All electrical appliances should be tested for safety annually. Fixed installations and wiring should be tested for safety every five years.)
Remember - never attempt to repair electrical faults yourself. Always report the fault as soon as possible in accordance with the method agreed with the landlord.
All upholstered furniture including mattresses should be fire safe by conforming to the Furniture and Furnishings (Fire Safety) Regulations 1988. Look for sewn on labels that state that the furniture complies with these regulations. If there are no labels ask the landlord for proof that the furniture does comply with the regulations. The landlord must replace any furniture that is not compliant with the law. If they refuse you can report them to Trading Standards, which could result in them being fined.
Whilst the Student Accommodation Service insists landlords abide by the above legislation we cannot guarantee compliance. Students must satisfy themselves that legal requirements have been adhered to.
If students find that their landlords are not complying with the above legislation they should contact :
In addition all homes must be "fit for human habitation" (i.e.) the property must have or be:
If you are not happy about any aspect of disrepair the most important step is to write to your landlord stating exactly what repairs need to be made. Keep a copy of the letter. Give the landlord a fixed time to get the repairs done and inform him that if the repairs are not implemented you will take further action. If the repairs have not been completed after this time you should contact the Student Accommodation Service or Students’ Union who can appeal to the landlord on your behalf. Sometimes a phone call from the University is all that is required. If, however, this has no effect Student Accommodation Service will advise you to contact Housing Standards at Preston City Council. A Housing Standards Officer will normally come out to investigate your complaint and take action if appropriate. If the landlord fails to carry out the repairs, the Council can prosecute or do the work and send the bill to the landlord. Do not stop paying rent during this period as you will be breaching the terms of your tenancy agreement. There is a strict procedure if you are going to stop paying rent. Seek advice first.
Examples of problems which may occur are:
The above list is not exhaustive and if you believe your accommodation is defective or unhealthy you should follow the advice given above.
When you begin your tenancy make sure you find out from the landlord what you should do in the case of an emergency or an urgent repair.
Houses in Multiple Occupancy (HMOs)
Most private student accommodation is classed as an HMO. This is where groups of unrelated tenants live in the same property, having their own bedroom and sharing the common areas such as the kitchen and bathroom. There are regulations in place that put the landlord under a legal duty to manage your accommodation properly and that state what amenities and fire safety requirements it is reasonable for tenants to have (i.e.) toilets, fire escapes, facilities for food storage etc. The University’s Registration Scheme requires landlords to become compliant with Preston City Council’s Standards and Means of Escape from Fire and all current requirements for HMOs. If you have any concerns about the safety of your accommodation, contact your landlord immediately. If you need advice, contact the Student Accommodation Service or Housing Standards at Preston City Council.
Harassment & Eviction
Your landlord is harassing you if his/her behaviour stops you having "quiet enjoyment" of your home. "Quiet enjoyment" is a legal term which means that you have a right to live comfortably in your home without undue interference from your landlord. It is a statutory requirement of the Landlord and does not have to be written into your contract to be binding on the landlord.
Harassment is a criminal offence and does not have to be extreme or intentional before you can do something about it. Examples of harassment are:
A landlord cannot evict you from a property without a court order. Throwing you out of the property or changing the locks whilst you are out are examples of illegal eviction. In these instances, or if you are being threatened with violence, call the police and contact the Housing Advisory Service at Preston City Council. They can help you enforce your rights.
Occasionally students suffer harassment from their fellow house mates. If this happens to you, and you feel unable to resolve the situation, you should try and discuss this initially with your landlord. You can also come for advice to the Student Accommodation Service or the Students' Union Advice Centre. It is unlawful to harass another person, and it is also a breach of the Regulations for Students, so seek help if you require it.
Tenants are legally required to take reasonable care not to hinder or frustrate the work of the landlord. They must :
A deposit is paid to the landlord at the start of the tenancy to safeguard against any damage caused to the property beyond normal wear and tear or against any unpaid rent. Most student landlords take a deposit of around £150 - £250 but you should check with each landlord to see how much they are asking for.
When you pay a deposit to a landlord, it must be protected by law. The landlord must safeguard your deposit using a government authorised tenancy deposit scheme. This means that you will be able to get your deposit back when you are entitled to it, and if there is a dispute over the return of the deposit it will be easier to resolve.
When you sign a tenancy agreement you should pay the deposit as requested by the landlord. Then, within 30 days, the landlord must give you details about how your deposit is being protected, including:
If the landlord does not mention anything to you about deposit protection, make sure you ask him!
We would normally expect landlords to have made an inventory already when you move in, and ask you to check and sign it, but if you are not given one, make a detailed inventory of the contents and condition of the house as soon as you move in, listing all the defects, and give a copy to the landlord when s/he has agreed it. If the landlord refuses to check the inventory with you, ask an independent witness (a friend will do) to agree and sign it with you. A sample inventory is available from the Student Accommodation Service.
Take photographs of any damage that is there when you move in. It may seem silly at the time but photographic evidence can be very useful if there is a dispute at the end of the tenancy.
Report any breakages to the landlord in writing and keep a copy.
When leaving the property, make a list with an independent witness, to go alongside the initial one made when you moved in, to compare the defects and take more photographs.
Check the circumstances in which your landlord could have a claim on your deposit.
Always remember that money cannot be deducted for reasonable wear and tear.
The three government authorised schemes are as follows:
You can apply to the local county court. The court can order the landlord to repay the deposit to you or protect it in a scheme. If your landlord has not protected your deposit he will be ordered to repay three times the amount of the deposit to you.
You should try and leave the property in the same condition that it was given to you at the start of the tenancy, fair wear and tear excepted. Make sure you have paid your rent and utility bills. Agree with your landlord how much of the deposit should be returned to you. You should receive this agreed amount within the next 10 days.
If you cannot agree with your landlord how much of your deposit should be returned to you, there will be a free service offered by the scheme protecting your deposit to help resolve your dispute. Your landlord is obliged to provide you with this information when he protects your deposit in his chosen scheme.
Your landlord cannot serve notice stating that he wishes to repossess the property at the end of the tenancy until he has protected the deposit and given you all the details about this.
This list is by no means comprehensive and there may be other things you wish to check before moving into a property however it does contain a number of items that we think are important. By following this checklist you will look more closely at the property and be prompted to ask questions of the landlord. This will enable you to make an informed decision.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Useful Telephone Numbers
UCLan Student Accommodation Service (01772) 892517 / / (01772) 892521
UCLan Students’ Union (01772) 513200
UCLan Student’s Union Advice Centre (01772) 894880
Preston City Council (01772) 906000
Housing Advisory Service (01772) 906412
Housing Standards (01772) 906907 Environmental Health (01772) 906907
Health and Safety Executive (01772) 836200
Trading Standards 0845 404 0506
Consumer Direct (First line legal advice for trading standards) 0845 404 0506
Council Tax Office 01772 906 900
Citizens Advice Bureau 03454 04 05 06
Preston City Council (Council Tax)
South Ribble Borough Council (Council Tax)
What is Council Tax?
Council Tax is a charge set by local authorities to help pay for certain public services, such as libraries, schools and police. It is based upon the value of the property in which you live. The level of the charge may be reduced depending upon the number of adults living in the property and their circumstances.
Do I have to pay it?
Full time students normally don’t have to pay Council Tax if they are living in a hall of residence or a property where all the adult residents are also full time students. Where the property is occupied by a mixture of full time students and part-time or non-students the property is not exempt from Council Tax, but you shouldn’t have to pay more than your own share.
You qualify as a full time student if you’re taking a course that lasts for at least one academic year and you have to attend for at least 24 weeks a year, and at least 21 hours per week. Most Councils require an 'Exemption Certificate' to confirm that you are a full-time student.
If I live in Preston or the South Ribble area - Do I need an Exemption Certificate?
If you are living in districts covered by Preston City Council or South Ribble Borough Council, UCLan has a special arrangement whereby you do not need to provide a certificate to obtain exemption from Council Tax. All full-time enrolled students have their details sent electronically, by the university, to these councils in early November.
If you pay Council Tax yourself – simply make an application direct to the Council. Your name will then be checked on the electronic database sent by the University. Provided you have enrolled on a full time course here at UCLan your details will be included on the electronic database.
My landlord says I still need a certificate
If your landlord pays Council Tax he or she can apply direct to the Council simply submitting the full names of the students living in the property, together with copies of the Tenancy Agreements and, where appropriate, retainer receipts. The names will then be checked against the database. The landlord should fill in the Student Exemption Form for Landlords and submit this to the Local Council.
I live outside Preston or the South Ribble – do I need an exemption certificate?
If you live outside these areas you can apply for a certificate via our Online Council Tax Exemption Certificate Request Service or by contacting The <i> based in The Library at Preston Campus.
If you have any queries regarding any of the above processes you should contact The <i> in The Library.
If you receive a bill do not ignore it! You must seek advice as soon as possible to ascertain if you are liable. Further information can be sought from The <i>, Students' Union Advice Centre or the Accommodation Service.
If you are looking for advice on council tax benefit as opposed to council tax exemption please contact the Students' Union Advice Centre.
Student Information Centre
Student Accommodation Service