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

  • Decide on what you need and want, then make a list of all the facilities you want to prioritise. e.g. the area you would like to live in, type of house, if bills are included in the rent. A great place to start looking is the University’s only official housing list online at: www.portsmouthstudentpad.co.uk. 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.

  • 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 nicer.

  • Check that the property you are viewing is in good condition. Is the furniture in good, clean condition? Are the walls clean and not too marked? Is the house secure (good windows, strong front door)? If any big repairs are needed or it has a very obvious damp problem, do not take it - when you look at the house and talk to the landlord, if things aren’t right then, they won’t be right when you take up a tenancy with them and by then it will be too late.

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 5, 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:

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 other groups.

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!

  • 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.

For more information about private housing, please see our advice leaflets:

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


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