Private sector accommodation
Private sector housing is accommodation that is owned and managed by a private landlord. It is not owned or managed by Royal Holloway. To rent a property in the private sector you’ll need to sign a contract with the landlord and provide a damage deposit in advance (this is normally six weeks' rent). For more information about the private sector, please visit the Students' Union Housing website.
Living in the local area
Royal Holloway is situated in the safe, green and leafy town of Egham in Surrey. Many of our students choose to live in private sector housing a short walk from campus in Egham or Englefield Green or in the neighbouring towns of Windsor and Staines-upon-Thames
We don’t have any agreements with letting agencies in the local area and we don’t inspect private sector housing so can’t guarantee the condition, safety or suitability of the housing. It’s your responsibility to view private sector housing yourself to decide if it is suitable. You can download the Students' Union Looking Guide for a useful house-hunting checklist.
We have a Community, Wellbeing and Student Outreach team that are here to support and advise you if you have any concerns throughout your time living in the local area and our Community Wellbeing Officers are available to provide advice on settling into private sector housing and help you with any issues you may have. We also liaise with local residents and community partners to ensure Royal Holloway students are welcomed into the neighbourhood.
The Students’ Union Advice team are also available to discuss a range of private sector queries from contract information, problems with housemates and landlord disputes.
Cost of private sector housing
The average rent for a room in a shared house in the private sector is approximately £92 per person per week (£400 per person, per month) - this doesn’t include bills, which you’ll need to budget for on top of the rent. A wide range of properties and rents are available and it’s possible to find somewhere to live both above and below the average price range. If you’re a full time student, living in a house with other full-time students you’ll be exempt from paying council tax and can prove this to the local council by presenting your Student Status Certificate.
Finding private sector accommodation
There are a number of ways in which you can look for accommodation to rent in the private sector:
- Use a letting agent
- Check online – there are websites advertising spare rooms/properties
- Facebook groups.
For more support on looking for housing in the private sector, please contact the Students’ Union. Why not take a look at the Students’ Union Housing Guide for more information?
Finding someone to live with
If you haven't found other people to live with, you can find housemates or flatmates in the following ways:
- ask amongst friends to see if they know anyone who is looking for housemates
- 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).
- Attending 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 that are stated. Contracts normally last for 12 months.
You might find that you’re coming under pressure to sign an accommodation contract months before you’re due to move into the property. The main reason for this pressure is competition in the student-rental sector, but don’t worry, this is often exaggerated and 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. If you’re unsure, you can contact the Students' Union who run a Contract Checking service.
Once you've signed a contract
If you have signed a private sector contract, you shouldn’t then apply 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.
Right to Rent scheme for international students
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. As part of Right to Rent checks, 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 conducted 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.
For more information, please visit the UK Government’s website on the Right to Rent scheme.
Tips and advice
Take out possessions insurance
Your landlord's insurance is unlikely to cover your possessions should anything happen to them, so make sure you take out possessions insurance. See the Students' Union's pages on insurance for more details.
Going away over the holidays
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.