Off-campus accommodation

Living in halls on campus may not be right for everyone. Depending on the particular accommodation you choose, living in private rented accommodation off-campus may give you more flexibility to live with a group of friends, with a larger living space.

Overview

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If you prefer to live off-campus, you will find a range of private accommodation in the local area. The University recommends that you choose a PAL accredited landlord or agent.

Make sure you do your homework before signing a legally binding contract. If you would like some advice before committing to a property, please contact the University’s Community Liaison & Support Officer or the Students’ Union Advice & Support Centre.

Please remember, there are likely to be more responsibilities, for example:

  • understanding and signing contracts
  • budgeting for and paying bills
  • cleaning communal areas such as the kitchen and bathroom
  • managing wheelie bins.

You can also view helpful student support guides the University has produced for living in private off-campus accommodation.

FAQs

How do I go about looking for privately rented accommodation?

  • If you are looking to rent locally you can find a list of accredited landlords and agents who have met the PAL standards at the PAL website, (PAL is a partnership between the University and Welwyn Hatfield council which recognises landlords who provide quality accommodation).
  • Contact other lettings agents in the local area.
  • Look for adverts in local papers: Welwyn and Hatfield Times, St Albans Advertiser, Herts Advertiser, The Review.

How much rent can I expect to pay?

Rents will vary depending on lots of factors including location, size and whether bills are included or not. In the area around the de Havilland campus the average cost for a student room is likely to be between £450 and £510 per month and in the area around the College Lane campus £350 to £450.

Apart from rent and bills, are there any other fees or costs involved?

When you find a property you want to rent you may be asked for a reservation fee. This is usually non-refundable and ensures the agent/landlord takes the property off the market while the necessary security and credit checks take place.

You will need to pay a tenancy deposit which the landlord/agent will hold as security against breakages and damage to the property during your tenancy.

Some lettings agencies charge an administration fee to cover the cost of credit checks and drawing up the tenancy contract. This fee can vary from agency to agency, so it’s worth researching the agencies in the area beforehand.

It is advisable to take out insurance cover for your possessions. There are several insurers who specialise in the student market so shop around for the best quote.

Will I need to pay council tax if I live in private rented accommodation?

Some students are exempt from paying council tax.

If you live in a household where everyone is exempt, the household will not have to pay council tax. You (and each of your housemates) will need to apply for a council tax exemption certificate from the University. The exemption will last only for the duration of your course.

If you live in a household where one or more people are not exempt the household will be liable. However if you are personally exempt, you will not have to pay but you must apply for a council tax exemption certificate.

Please visit our council tax exemption page for more information about who is eligible for council tax exemption and how to apply for a certificate.

What facilities can I expect in privately rented accommodation?

Facilities offered (e.g. WiFi, washing machine, parking space etc.) will range vastly depending on the type and cost of the property you are renting. Do not assume a property offers all the facilities you want, always check before you sign any tenancy agreement.

Can I rent on my own or do I need to be part of a group?

If you are not part of a group looking to rent a house together you can look for a single occupancy let. Some landlords will offer bedrooms in their properties individually with individual tenancy agreements. You may also find some one bedroom lets e.g. studio rooms.

I’m thinking about renting outside of Hatfield, is it easy to commute to campus?

Hatfield is well served by public transport and has direct bus links across Hertfordshire. The University also offers a Park and Ride facility for commuting students travelling by car. Remember to consider how much your travel will cost when looking to rent further afield.

More about travelling to University.

Do I need my own TV license or is one license for the whole house ok?

You may need your own licence if you have your own TV and your accommodation is self-contained, i.e. you have exclusive access to washing facilities. Check the TV licensing website if you are unsure.