Private accommodation refers to rooms or whole properties let by a private landlord, offering more independent living than a halls of residence. Finding a home in the private rental market can seem daunting, especially if you are renting for the first time or new to London, but SOAS will provide support and advice including referral to a free contract checking service to help you find the right place to live.

Before getting started, visit the University of London's Housing Service to find more information about living in private rented accommodation, including tips about where to look, a house viewing checklist and budgeting advice.

Living in private rented accommodation

Many SOAS students live in private rented accommodation and commute an average of 5-40 minutes to SOAS. Private renting may offer more privacy, independence and cheaper rents than halls of residence, but also means more responsibility and can increase your transport costs

Houses are advertised 4-8 weeks before they are available

To find somewhere to live, you should come to London before the start of the academic session to view houses. Houses are usually advertised 4-8 weeks before they are available and it takes at least 2 – 3 weeks to find a place that you are happy with, so think about coming to London between August and September. Dinwiddy House offers affordable short stay accommodation during the summer; its central location makes it a good place to start your search.  

There is a University of London Housing Fair which this year takes place on 11th May 11 am - 3 pm BST at Senate House. A mix of university managed properties and accredited private rented properties will also be made available online at University of London Housing Services if you are unable to attend.

Make sure to read through the following information presented to you here, it can make the challenge of finding the right place to live easier: read about the various types of accommodation, how you can choose housemates, where to look for private rented accommodation and where to live in London; You'll also find guidance about viewing propertiesdeposit protectionguarantors, referencesmoving in and moving out of rentals and rights to rent checks.


Types of accommodation

Where to look for accommodation

University of London Housing Service

The University of London Housing Services has a property database for landlords and letting agents who offer private rented accommodation suitable for students. Look out for their Housing Events including the Housing Fair and Flatmate Finder event in early summer. They also offer legal advice and contract checking free to SOAS students.

Letting agents

You can register your details with letting agents in the area you are looking in to find out if they have any suitable properties within your budget: ULHS registered agents

Check that your letting agent is registered with one of the following schemes:

All letting agents should be a member of a client money protection scheme to ensure they keep your money safe.

Some agents might also have signed up to a voluntary accreditation scheme and be registered with one of the following:

Property rentals websites

Agents and landlords also advertise on the following sites

SOAS Students' Union

Some students or landlords advertise using posters in the Students' Union.

Newsagent windows ads

Local shops sometimes put adverts in their windows for people looking for lodgers or tenants. Be cautious and always view the property first.