Ebrington Street, Plymouth

Private accommodation

Plymouth offers a wide range of private accommodation for students to choose from. Whether you are a new starter, postgraduate or returning student, there is something to suit all budgets and requirements. 
Accommodation can be found both in the city centre and in popular student areas which are just a short distance to the University and city centre amenities. As a city centre campus, Plymouth is easily reached by a number of bus routes and next to the railway station, so commuting is also a convenient option. 
Aerial image of Plymouth and campus
Student houses in a  Plymouth street

Do you need a guarantor?

For private accommodation, some landlords may require students to provide a guarantor as a condition of the housing contract. 
The guarantor – a third-party individual or organisation – guarantees to pay the landlord any rent which the student fails to pay and the cost of any damage for which the student is responsible. Landlords generally insist that a guarantor is UK-based, or alternatively there’s the option to use a Guarantor Scheme
Please note: landlords or agents will normally have a preferred form of guarantor or guarantor service. You should always check with them to confirm which type of guarantor they accept – don't make assumptions.

Finding accommodation in the private sector

It’s really important to make accommodation enquiries before arriving in the city, as student accommodation is in high demand. The University works hard to support students but does not currently offer an approved landlord scheme, nor does it inspect houses. You can see the types of accommodation on offer by searching online. Demand is high – particularly for properties outside the traditional academic year. 
In order to move in, you will need to complete a legal contract, arrange your guarantor checks (which can take some days) and pay any advanced rent and deposits required by the landlord. It’s a good idea to have this in place before you travel, or make arrangements for a few days' stay – for example, staying in a hotel whilst everything is finalised.
Door key attached to a key ring shaped like a red house, with a bleached wood background. Image courtesy of Shutterstock (227591032).

What sort of accommodation is out there?

Before you enter into any tenancy agreement, you should always check the following:
  • Reviews – what do others say about this landlord or property? 
  • Contract type – are you happy with the contract and do you understand your responsibilities as tenant? 
  • Contract length – will the property be available for the duration of your course? 
  • Bills – what is included in the rent and will there be any additional costs? 
  • Charges – what do you need to pay to move in and how is the rent paid? 
Shared flats/houses: Renting a shared house with other students involves sharing a kitchen, living room (if included), bathroom and toilet. En suite rooms are rare in shared accommodation. Rents can appear good value, however ensure you take into consideration any additional costs and bills before committing. Many students choose University-managed Halls during their first year at university and then move into private housing for their second year, once friendship groups are made. 
The University does not have an approved list of properties or landlords, nor does it inspect any private sector properties. However, there are many letting agencies around Plymouth that do cater to the student market. It is therefore important to research the local market and to check what guarantor services are required (if any). There are multiple discussion threads and reviews available on many student websites that you can use to help learn about your choices within the local private sector.
Individual flats/houses: If you are moving to Plymouth to study with your family, this is probably the best choice for you. Letting agencies will be able to advise you on all of the local amenities (for example, local schools).
Studios: Studios are self-contained, flexible living spaces, used for living and sleeping in, that include your own bathroom facilities and a kitchenette. There are some student buildings that contain several studio flats if you are wanting to combine privacy with meeting other students.
Home-stay: A home-stay is where students can rent a bedroom in their landlord's home and live as part of the family. Home-stays are often popular with students visiting for only a few weeks as the duration can be flexible. The University does not have a recommended list of home-stay landlords, however, there are dedicated websites you can visit, just be sure to check reviews beforehand.
Private-sector Halls of Residence: Plymouth has a selection of purpose-built student halls, which are owned and managed by companies specialising in the student market. Private halls will generally have in-house teams to assist with resident issues or queries and will offer a range of facilities and services, usually including some cleaning, laundry facilities, maintenance, and post. You may be living with students from other local universities and colleges as these halls welcome all registered students within the city. Room types differ and it is important to check all terms and conditions, including the length of your tenancy and any cancellation policies before booking.

Can the University support me if I have issues with my private accommodation?

The Accommodation Services Team supports the residents of our University-managed Halls. Any questions concerning your private accommodation (including booking, rents or your contract) would be the responsibility of your landlord or management company.
The University does not recommend any particular privately-owned Halls of Residence. However, properties which hold ANUK accreditation are part of our 'good practice' network. Although Halls of Residence are popular, individual rooms often become available so check back regularly. 
Individual rooms in flat and house shares are often advertised on social media. It is important that you make appropriate checks and stay safe online, but this can be a good way to connect with groups of students looking for a housemate.
UPSU can offer advice on a range of topics and offer a tenancy checking service. They also provide checklists of what to look for when you are viewing properties and the legal requirements landlords are expected to meet. 

Advice for renting in the private sector

Do your homework

Research what each property has to offer. In addition to reading online adverts, you should also view the properties to ensure they are the right option for you. University-managed halls can be viewed on open and offer holder days throughout the year. You can arrange viewings directly with private halls and private landlords.

Know what you want and what works best for you

Think about what you require from your potential new home. For example, do you want to be in the city centre among the hustle and bustle? Or would you prefer a quieter location? Other important elements to consider are the facilities, tenancy lengths (the most common tenancy lengths are for 41, 42 or 51 weeks, check your tenancy agreement to ensure it meets your needs), security, number of housemates, and what amenities are close by. Making a checklist of the things that are important to you will help ensure that you make the right choice choosing your accommodation. 

What's my budget? 

Ensure that you have worked out exactly how much you can afford before committing to a room, as once you have signed your license/tenancy agreement, it is legally binding and you will, therefore, be liable to pay all costs until the agreement has ended. 

Ensure your private halls/landlords have accreditation

Looking for accredited accommodation ensures that the provider complies with a set of codes that set out standards, to measure the good management practice of student accommodation. The codes aim to ensure that you have safe, good quality accommodation. This means that they can offer you a way of dealing with things if something isn't right in your accommodation.

Further advice

For further advice please visit TheCompleteUniversityGuide.co.uk or ucas.com

The Student Accommodation Code 

We adhere to the Student Accommodation Code which means that we go the extra mile to make sure that you get the best quality accommodation while you are with us. The Code is managed by an external group which inspects our halls to ensure that they are in tip-top condition.
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