Accommodation Advice

Whether you choose to live in on-campus or off-campus accommodation recommended by the University of Suffolk, or choose to source your own accommodation in the private rental market, you may find the information below very useful when renting accommodation.

The information below may be particularly useful if you are renting for the first time.  This guide provides an overview of tenancy agreements and deposits, providing you with useful “need to know” information.

You will find useful housing advice and renter checklists on the Housing Advice section of Suffolk Studentpad.  See also below for links to independent advice.

  • Research your options; don’t just settle for the first accommodation you find.  You will be the one living there so make sure you are happy with your choice before you make a booking.
  • What can you afford?  Remember to budget enough for food, transport, text books and materials for your course, and entertainment. Don't spend all your finance on accommodation if you have no other sources of income.
  • Always view the accommodation where possible.  No one knows what you are looking for better than you and viewing the accommodation yourself can make all the difference.
  • Save for your deposit and advanced rent payments so you do not have to wait on your student finance coming through before you can move in.  Your landlord will tell you the amount due and when you must pay it by.
  • Check the tenancy dates.  You won’t be able to change the dates once you’ve signed the tenancy agreement.  Check your timetable so you can book an appropriate length tenancy.
  • Read through the tenancy agreement in full before you sign it.  A tenancy agreement is a legally binding document.  Make sure you understand and agree to be bound by all of the terms and conditions and get assistance if you do not understand any of it.  See the Glossary of Terms below for more information.
  • Check your chosen accommodation has all of the facilities you require: accessibility, ensuite, laundry facilities, security, parking, near shops, near the University, near public transport.
  • Is there a cancellation clause or cooling off period?  Under what circumstances would you be released from the tenancy agreement or be entitled to a refund of your deposit if you have a change of circumstances?

Accommodation is likely to be the biggest expense you have whilst at university so it is important to get it right.  It will be your second most important expense, after food.

It is normal to expect to pay a deposit and advanced rent prior to moving into your accommodation.  Four weeks rent for a deposit and four-six weeks rent for advanced rent is normal outside of student accommodation, but landlords can choose to charge more; the exact amount payable in advance will depend on the room and property you choose to book.

It is likely you will need to pay the deposit and advanced rent before the first instalment of student finance is due to you.  We strongly recommend that students plan for this and save for their deposit/advanced rent over the months leading up to the start of the tenancy agreement.

Students moving away from the parental home may be entitled to a more substantial maintenance loan from Student Finance England; see their website and online calculator for more information.  Getting an idea of how much funding you are entitled to may be useful in helping you decide what accommodation you can afford.

Most landlords, including private accommodation providers that rent properties to students, require a third person to act as a ‘guarantor’ before a tenancy agreement can be completed.  

A guarantor is a third party, for example a family member, who agrees to pay the rent if for any reason you as the tenant cannot. In some cases a guarantor is also liable for other costs that might be incurred, for example any damage to the property that happened whilst you were living there. Agreeing to be a guarantor is a binding legal commitment, and landlords can take legal action against your guarantor if the rent, or other costs, are not paid.

Check if you need a guarantor for student housing that you are interested in and be sure to get this in place before you start.

Who can act as a rent guarantor?

A person acting as a guarantor would normally have the following credentials:

  • UK individual citizen — to enable a landlord to pursue action through the UK court system if required
  • Solvent — credit checks may be taken to assess ability to meet any potential liability

If you do not have a UK-based guarantor, you may wish to consider using a rent guarantor company, such as Housing Hand, who will act as your guarantor for a fee.  

You cannot normally terminate a tenancy agreement earlier than the end date specified in the contract. Should you wish to be released from a tenancy you have already committed to, it is likely that you will need to find a suitable replacement tenant to take over your responsibility — this is known as a tenancy takeover.

Useful Steps:

  • Inform both your landlord and the Student Centre that you are looking for a tenancy takeover, in case they receive any direct enquiries.
  • Use social media and friends/cohort to spread by word of mouth.
  • Keep up to date. Notify your landlord of any direct interest you receive and edit your advert as required or delete it when it is no longer required. Your Suffolk Studentpad advertisement will be visible for a maximum of 90 days; if you are still searching for a tenancy takeover after 90 days, please repost your advert.

What information should I include in my advert?

Give as much information about the property and tenancy agreement as possible such as price, tenancy end date (and start date if it has not yet begun), academic year, ensuite or shared bathroom, kitchenette or shared kitchen, if bills are included in the rent.

You must not give any personal details of the other members of the flat/house. You may advise if they are male/female for those looking for mixed or same sex flats and their year of study if known, but no identifying characteristics.

Useful Terms

Feeling confused by all the new termionology surrounding student housing? No need to worry - check out our helpful glossary, with all the key terms you'll need to know explained.

A student smiling and holding a mug in a kitchen

How can we help you?

At the University of Suffolk you have the freedom to choose your accommodation.

However, if you do need help in making an informed decision about where you wish to live we can provide you with details about accommodation that we recommend. We can also provide you with information about tenancy agreements and other factors to help you make the right choice for you. 

If University of Suffolk Recommended and Accredited Accommodation is not for you and you choose to arrange your own accommodation elsewhere, you will find a variety of online property search engines and lettings agents that advertise accommodation that may be suited to your needs.  Local publications may also have regular or periodic housing sections and supplements detailing local agents and vacancies.  Please note, not all landlords are prepared to accept students which means you may need to search a little longer than a non-student in finding your perfect property in the private rental market.

Independent advice can also be obtained from the following resources:

The University of Suffolk does not own or manage the accommodation recommended to its students. Instead, it is provided by private landlords and property managers that we have a close working relationship with. Currently, recommended and accredited accommodation is only available on and around the Ipswich campus. 

The University of Suffolk Accreditation Scheme has been established specifically for our students, to ensure they have access to accommodation that meets our levels of quality and safety.  All of the accommodation recommended by the University of Suffolk is surveyed by the local council to ensure that it meets our criteria. In this way we hope to remove some of the stress and anxiety of moving to a new town, and/or moving out of the family home for the first time.  

While the University of Suffolk can highlight trusted properties and providers, it is the student’s responsibility to assess the suitability based on their individual requirements. 

Athena Hall, the on-campus halls of residence, is the recommended accommodation for first year students or those studying at the University of Suffolk for the first time. It was built specifically for our students and the University of Suffolk was involved with the development and planning of the building to ensure it meets our criteria. 

Being an on-campus halls of residence, Athena Hall does not require accreditation, but it does meet the requirements nevertheless. Athena Hall is perfectly positioned to get the most from student life, with a waterfront location and within walking distance of the University, Ipswich town and the train station.

Rooms in Athena Hall are furnished; utility bills and broadband costs are included in the rental price. Rent is typically quoted weekly to make it easy to compare the price of different properties, and a total contract price so you can see how much it will cost in full for the duration of the tenancy.

Here at the University of Suffolk, we understand that on-campus accommodation does not suit all students. As a result we have created the Accreditation Scheme to provide a wider range of options for students choosing where to live.  The Accredited Accommodation Scheme was established specifically with our students in mind. Properties within the Accreditation Scheme are privately owned and managed and we only advertise properties that have been inspected by Ipswich Borough Council to ensure they meet our standards of quality and safety. 

Accredited off-campus accommodation can be a useful alternative to on-campus living if you are working within a budget or looking for a property with specific characteristics, such as within a specific location or offering car parking.  Members of our Accreditation Scheme will only be able to advertise to students via the University of Suffolk if their electrical wiring and gas inspection certificates are current; an incentive for the property to be kept safe and well maintained.

Accredited off-campus accommodation is furnished; utility bills and broadband costs are included in the rental price (unless otherwise stated). Rent is typically quoted weekly to make it easy to compare the price of different properties, and a total contract price so you can see how much it will cost in full for the duration of the tenancy.  Off-campus properties are all within easy walking distance of the campus; the town centre and local amenities are nearby.

Properties recommended by the University of Suffolk are suggestions only; you are under no obligation to book the accommodation that we recommended. Some students may prefer to make their own arrangements in privately rented accommodation elsewhere. You are responsible for determining the suitability of the accommodation you choose based on your own individual requirements.

The tenancy agreement is between you and your chosen landlord; the University of Suffolk has no legal involvement with the tenancy agreement. Signing a tenancy agreement is a big responsibility; find the information you need to know in these pages. Whether you have rented before or this will be your first tenancy agreement, the information in these pages will take you through the basics.

Before you book a room or sign a tenancy we strongly recommend you do the following:

  • Read the Accommodation Advice section of this website, and the Housing Advice on Suffolk Studentpad.
  • Read the tenancy agreement, any relating terms and conditions, and booking conditions before you commit yourself to a room.
  • Check if there is a cancellation policy or cooling off period before you book a room so you know in advance if there are any conditions under which you can cancel the tenancy before it starts just in case you need to.
  • You cannot normally cancel a tenancy before the end date unless there is a break clause so make sure the tenancy is right for you before you sign it.  Check the start and end dates, and make sure you can afford the rent.
  • It is likely that you will be required to pay a deposit and sum of advanced rent before being able to move into the property; the exact amount can be confirmed by your landlord once you have chosen your room.  This payment is likely to be required before you receive any student finance so we recommend you plan in advance by saving money in the months leading up to the start of your tenancy to be able to make this payment when it is required.

The University may be required to contact landlords to confirm a student is enrolled with us, or if they withdraw from their course. Please note, ceasing to be a student will not automatically release you from the tenancy agreement; a tenancy agreement is a legally binding document for the full duration of time specified within it.  

If you need any further information, please contact the Student Life Centre, their details can be found on the Get in Touch page.