Private Sector Accommodation

Group of students

1. Deciding who to live with

Deciding who to live with is the most important step, you are most likely going to live with fellow students you've met through halls, on your course or through university activities and societies. You can be living with close friends but may be at each others throats within a month over who hasn't done the cleaning up. Everyone comes with bad habits and learning to deal with them can ease tension in the household.

2. Finding a place to live

If you are applying late for university or need to find a place immediately you can look online to find other students advertising a spare room in their house. You can view a property and meet up with them first to make sure you get on! 

These can be found on the University's official search engine: south wales student pad.  Note:  This is the only place to find University Accredited Landlords. 

Student hands on laptop
Emmalene Accommodation

3. Deciding to live alone

If sharing a shower or living space is something you don't want, then there are flats available to rent around the area for people wanting to live alone and under their own terms. Shop around for these to find the best price, it is always cheaper to split the rent of a house with a group of people than live alone but if you feel you can afford this then keep an eye out for notices around the area, online or estate agents. Always view these flats - some landlords will create cheap student flats to make the biggest profit at the cost of quality to the living space and amenities.

Group in Library

4. Plan for your house

Try and make a list of needs and wants for the house you are looking for, if you are with a group plan this together and find somewhere similar you all agree on. Do you want a communal area to relax, are there enough facilities for the amount of people you are living with and where would you best like to live. By doing this it makes it easier to search for the place you want.

5. Location

Decide what you want, what nearby that you want? Is it close to the bars, shops, public transport that you may need to take every day? All this can be handy and should be decided during the planning stage. Safety is also something to be considered, would you feel safe walking through or to the area during night time? Finally, is it right for you? Is it quiet or lively. Living close to the university might seem great but if it's near all the bars be prepared for some noisy nights.

The Hayes, Cardiff
cardiff digs

6. Shop around

One in eight students sign a contract to the first house they view. The number one rule is don't rush into it - you are signing for up to 12 months and it can be costly if you decide to leave the contract early.  We always recommend selecting a University registered property where possible.  Look first on The University has checked that all these properties are properly licensed (where necessary), have the relevant health and safety documents and are accredited with Rent Smart Wales. We also support the  Treforest Property Accreditation Scheme which has been launched to raise the quality, amenity and management of student housing and these are identified on with a star rating - the more stars, the better.  Rental agencies can be an easy way to search for a house but they usually hold administration fees and you are not guaranteed to find better accommodation just because you find it via an agency. Look for rental agencies that are accredited, click here to find a list of student friendly letting agents. When applying in Cardiff keep an eye on Cardiff Digs which holds a list of student friendly landlords and letting agents for this area.

7. Always view a property before signing

A house may sound perfect on paper and look amazing online that you may want to sign up as soon as possible so no one else will take it while you decide, but it could be plagued with problems so always view a property before signing a contract as once you sign, it’ll be difficult to back out when you find out the house is full of issues within weeks of living there.  You may find it useful to refer to our Moving House Checklist

Private Accommodation
Teaching cropped

8. Ask questions

Don't be afraid to ask questions, sometimes a question that may sound stupid is one that can help in the decision making process such as, is all the furniture on show included? A nice comfortable leather sofa and double beds may be a selling point to you when viewing a property but by the time you move in they have been replaced with uncomfortable chairs and old single beds, or sometimes nothing at all.

9. Ask about the rent

At the end of the day it all comes down to money, always ask how much it will cost to live there, on average rent is around £50 a week excluding any bills. If the price is higher than this ask if the rent includes any of the bills such as water and then do some math to see if this is saving you money or not. Landlords will sometimes hike up their prices and say it includes some utilities and appliances around the house as a selling point but you could still be getting ripped off. This may seem easier but you could be paying more per week than paying rent and bills separately. There are rent calculators online that can help do the math towards all this.

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10. Are there any problems

During the viewing as well as looking at the rooms you are also looking to see if there are any problems. Do you notice any of the paint or wallpaper flaking? Are there black mould patches around? Is there a musky smell? All these are signs of damp and can be hazardous to your health. There may also be problems of infestation so look if there are traps around, are there any droppings or slug trails? Landlords will try and cover these up to rent the house to you under a long contract so keep a lookout before you sign the contract.

Renting tips

Tenancy Deposit Protection tips

Tenancy and Unfair Terms

Viewing a property

Shared Housing