Housing Advice.

What can we help you with?

We know that housing plays a really important role in your university life. Whether it's first-year halls accommodation or private housing in the local area, we want to ensure that you're getting the most out of your housing experience.

On this page, you'll find advice for a range of common issues. We give you top tips on how to find your ideal property, live happily, and make sure you know your rights when it comes to all things housing!

Need help finding new housemates?

Whether you're looking for a group to join, on the hunt for someone to complete your group, or seeking a replacement housemate, it can be hard to find the right person. We've pulled together some handy resources to help you out!

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Private Housing

On-campus accommodation

University of London Housing Services

ULHS offers a range of services to assist and support students and staff who are looking for and living in private accommodation in London. All Royal Holloway students have free access to these services so make sure you check out what they can help you with.


Before you move into a privately rented property, you will usually need to pay a security deposit of no more than five weeks’ rent to the landlord or estate agent. This is for the protection of the landlord to cover instances of rent arrears (if you fail to pay rent) or damage to the property.

You should get the full amount returned to you at the end of your tenancy, unless the landlord has reason to request deductions. Unfortunately, in most cases, some deductions are proposed, and they are often unfair.

If you are renting in an Assured Shorthold Tenancy (the most common type of tenancy), your landlord must put your deposit in a Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDP) within 30 days of receiving it.

There are four schemes which are recognised and approved by the government: Deposit Protection Service (DPS) , mydeposits , Tenancy Deposit Scheme (TDS) and Reposit.

These schemes will make sure that you get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy, provided you have left the property in a good condition, and paid your rent and bills on time. They can also act as independent adjudicators if you cannot come to an agreement about deposit deductions at the end of the tenancy.

If you have issues with your landlord requesting unfair deductions from your deposit, or not returning it on time, then we will guide you through the process to get your deposit back.


After your landlord has put your deposit into a TDP scheme, they should then provide you with written confirmation of the details of the scheme, including the amount that has been protected, and arrangements for the return of the deposit.

Most landlords and agents place this information in the deposit section of the tenancy agreement (contract). It is important to check all the details are correct when you receive this.

If you are renting as a group in a joint tenancy, you will usually pay a single deposit for the property, split equally between the tenants. This means your deposit will usually be protected as one whole single deposit, with one tenant named as the “lead/head tenant,” responsible for contacting the TDP scheme in the event of a dispute.

If you are unsure whether your deposit has been protected, you can search on each of the scheme websites to check.


If you think that your deposit has not been put into a TDP, you should contact your landlord or agent as soon as possible to ask them why this is the case, and request that they protect it as soon as possible. We find that most landlords DO protect the deposits they receive, because if they don’t, tenants can take them to court for one to three times the value of the deposit.

If you are not provided with the correct deposit protection information, or find that your deposit was not properly protected, you can pursue legal action to get compensation. In this case, please contact us for support in taking these steps.

  • Landlords – property owners
  • Estate Agent – landlords’ representatives
  • Contract/tenancy agreement – gives certain rights to both you and your landlord, for example, your right to occupy the accommodation and your landlord’s right to receive rent for letting the accommodation. Both you and your landlord have rights and responsibilities given by law.
  • Guarantor - as a young student, your landlord might require you to ask someone to act as ‘guarantor’ – to provide a guarantee that the rent will be paid. This means that if you fail to pay the rent one month, the landlord can legally call on your guarantor to pay up instead of you. It is illegal to charge you for a guarantor credit check. Admin fees – most admin fees are now illegal and you should not be asked for any before you move in.
  • Holding fees/holding deposit - this is a fee agents charge to guarantee the property to you and stop advertising it. A holding deposit usually contributes towards the security deposit you pay when you move in. Legally this cannot be more than one week's rent.
  • Security deposit - the deposit acts as security against non-payment of rent or damage to the property. Legally this cannot be more than five weeks' rent.
  • Tenancy deposit protection schemes - the landlord or an agency, must protect deposits in a government-approved tenancy deposit protection scheme. This helps ensure that you get back what you're entitled to at the end of the tenancy.
  • Rent in advance - this is rent upfront which is usually one month's rent in addition to you security deposit and any fees. By paying your rent in advance you'll always be paying rent for the month/s ahead. You might be asked to pay several months’ rent in advance if you’re an international student, or if you don’t have a guarantor.
  • Standing order - an instruction to a bank by an account holder to make regular fixed payments to a particular person or organisation. Some landlords will ask you to set this up with your bank so your rent is automatically paid out of your account when it’s due.
  • Inventory – a document, which can be accompanied by photos, that documents the property, its contents and their condition. The tenant and landlord should both have their own copies. Two identical inventory reports are performed – one before the tenant moves in and another one when they move out. Other synonyms you might encounter are: move in/move out inventory, check in/check out inventory, schedule of condition, tenancy inventory, etc. It is illegal to charge you for the inventory for contracts starting after 1 June 2019.
  • Council tax - a tax collected by the borough for local services. Full-time students are exempt from this tax.
  • TV Licence - a TV Licence is a legal permission to install or use television receiving equipment to watch or record television programmes as they are being shown on TV or live on an online TV service, and to download or watch BBC programmes on demand, including catch up TV on BBC iPlayer.
  • Fine - a sum of money exacted as a penalty by a court of law or other authority.
  • Deposit deductions - money deducted from your security deposit before it's returned to you at the end of the tenancy. Only things that cost money can be deducted. For example, it's reasonable for your landlord to take money off your deposit to cover:
    • damage to the property or furniture
    • missing items that were listed on the inventory
    • paying for cleaning because the property was left in a dirty condition
    • outstanding rent owed by you or a joint tenant