This article provides information on where to look for private accommodation.

Many of you will be moving into a shared house or flat. Typically these will be houses of between three to six students (average size house is for 4 people), each with their own room and sharing the communal areas of the house.

For many, this will be your first time renting a property and it is important that you know what to look for.

See the steps below or our handy house-hunting guide which provides essential information on how to find your perfect student home!

Step one: Looking for the right property

  • Make a list of what it is that you are looking for in a property and prioritise the amenities and facilities. Examples include the location, type of hours, if bills are included in the rent or if these are in addition to the rent.
  • An excellent place to start looking is the University’s only official  accommodation search engine:
    More information about Portsmouth StudentPad is available here.
  • Explore your options. Have a look at all the properties available online with both individual landlords and letting agents to understand what you can get within your price range. Make sure to enquire regarding any additional fees and costs before signing up to a property.
  • Arrange as many viewings as you need, until you are happy with the choice you made. There’s nothing worse than signing for a house and after a week finding another one that is cheaper and more suitable for what you’re looking for
  • Check that the property you are viewing is in good condition.
    Student Housing have a check list of things to look for including: is the furniture in good, clean condition? How is the house secured? Are any big repairs needed? Are there any signs of damp?
  • Make sure to speak to the landlord when you go on property viewings and – if things don’t seem right or there seems to be multiple issues – then this may cause further problems if you take up a tenancy with them

Step two: Found the right house, what to think about before signing a contract

  • You can get the contract checked by the Student Housing Team based on Floor 6, Mercantile House, using our Contract Checking Service before you sign.
  • While you are there feel free to ask any of the Housing Officers for more advice on the letting agents or landlords and we’ll do what we can to help. 
  • Ask the landlord or the agents which Tenancy Deposit Scheme they are going to use. By law they have to protect your deposit by using one of the government authorised schemes and give you the prescribed information. To find out how this works go to the Government website. If they can’t tell you, WALK AWAY! Contact the Student Housing Team if you have any problems.
  • Make sure the property contains everything you need – use the checklist available via Portsmouth Studentpad.

Other options of where to look for houses

There are a variety of other places you can search if you feel you need to widen your search including:

  • Local letting agencies (either in their shops or via Rightmove)
  • Facebook - use the Student Housing-vetted groups only for your own security (our groups are strictly vetted to make sure only University of Portsmouth students are using them) to find housemates or a room in a house:-

Please note that if you use other groups, these may not be as secure and could have scammers operating on them so please exercise caution when using these.

If you are thinking of approaching an agency or a landlord who is not registered with Student Housing, it is important that you remember the following:-

  • What are you paying for? Get everything written out clearly for you before you part with any money. Letting agencies are now required by law to clearly display their fees so if something has not been highlighted/shown to you, question it!
  • Get receipts!
  • If you meet with a landlord to make any payments or to discuss a tenancy then please ensure that this is in a safe and secure environment that you are comfortable with
  • All agreements should be in writing and dated.
  • Get a copy of what you sign.
  • Any extra terms and conditions should be clearly written out.
  • See safety and any applicable HMO certificates for your property.
  • Get an inventory.
  • Know your rights and responsibilities.
  • If you don’t understand it, don’t sign it.

If you have any other queries or more specific questions to ask the Student Housing team, contact details available here.



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