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Private housing

Finding a place off campus

You can live in private housing near our campus. There are flats and houses to rent in Egham, in nearby Englefield Green or in the neighbouring towns of Windsor and Staines-upon-Thames.

If you choose private housing, it’s owned and managed by a private landlord, not Royal Holloway. You’ll need to sign a contract between you and the landlord and pay a deposit, normally six weeks’ rent.

We don’t have agreements with letting agencies and it’s your responsibility to view private sector housing yourself and decide if it’s right for you. We can’t guarantee the condition, safety or suitability of the housing, but our Community, Wellbeing and Student Outreach team can help you settle in and help you solve any problems.

We also liaise with local residents and community partners to make sure Royal Holloway students are welcomed into the neighbourhood.

There’s a wide range of properties and rents, but the average rent for a room in a shared house in the private sector is about £92 per person per week (£400 per person, per month). That doesn’t include bills, so don’t forget to budget for them. If you’re a full time student, living in a house with other full-time students, you don’t have to pay council tax. Present the local council with your Student Status Certificate to prove you are a full-time student.

There are a number of ways in which you can look for accommodation to rent in the private sector:

  • Use the Students’ Union HouseSearch
  • Use a letting agent
  • Check websites that advertise spare rooms/properties

If you’ve asked around your friends and you haven't found other people to live with, you can find housemates or flatmates in the following ways:

  • Post a message on the Campus Noticeboard
  • Look for one or two bedroom properties to rent
  • Look for larger shared properties where the landlord will let the rooms individually (so you’ll share with a larger group, but wouldn't know your housemates before you all move in).
  • Go to one of the Students' Union housemating events. Find out more by reading the Students’ Union Looking Guide and Housing Guide.

When renting a property from a private landlord, you’ll need to sign a legal contract committing to pay the rent and abide by the terms and conditions. Contracts normally last for 12 months.

You might find that you come under pressure to sign an accommodation contract some months before you’re due to move into the property. There is some competition in the student rental sector, but this is often exaggerated. In our experience properties can be available as late as August. Please don’t feel pressured into arranging something as early as November or December for the next academic year as your circumstances may change.

Make sure you check your contract carefully before you sign it.

Use the Students' Union Contract Checking service.

If you have signed a private sector contract, you shouldn’t then apply to nor accept an offer to live in Halls. If you do, you would be taking out two accommodation contracts at the same time and as a contract is legally binding you’ll be liable for the rent for both properties.

If you’ve applied for accommodation in Halls and already have a contract in the private sector, please let us know so that we can cancel your application and avoid sending you an offer.

All private landlords in England are required by law to check that any tenant entering a residential tenancy agreement has the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. The Government Right to Rent scheme has been introduced to deter individuals who are in the country illegally from remaining in the UK.

Your landlord may ask to see identity documents that show you’re legally allowed to live in the UK. If you hold a visa, these checks will need to be done within 28 days of the start of your tenancy contract. The checks have to take place in person and the landlord is required by law to take a copy of your documents and retain them for at least one year following the end of your tenancy.

Your landlord's insurance is unlikely to cover your possessions.

See more details on insurance

Tell your landlord or agent if you’re going away for the holidays and when you expect to be back. This will make sure that your landlord doesn’t get into difficulties with his insurance company and he can keep an eye on the property, especially if the weather conditions are a cause for concern.

If your heating is off while you're away your water pipes could freeze and split, resulting in flooding and damage to your home. Worse, if you're responsible for turning the heating off, you could be liable for the cost of repairs and clean-up.

It's best to leave the heating on continuously and not on a timer, as a few hours of heat a day might not be enough to stop your pipes freezing. Your central heating may well have a 'frost setting' (often represented by a snowflake icon) which will keep your pipes above freezing but your energy costs down. Some insurers require properties to be kept warmer, though, so check with your landlord what temperature setting to use.

If your central heating isn't working, contact your landlord or agent immediately and ask them to repair it.

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