Housing Costs: What to Expect When House-Hunting

In celebration of Housing Week, today we’ll be going through some of the costs that come with searching and signing for a house so that you know what to expect when you start house-hunting!

advicecost of livinghousing week 2023

In celebration of Housing Week here at the Students’ Union, today we’ll be going through some of the costs that come when searching and signing for a house so that you know what to expect when you start house-hunting! 

As a student, you may have access to different sources of income, but it's always best to monitor how you are using it. You can book an appointment with the Advice Centre to help you budget for the year ahead, especially when you're considering signing up for a new house.

Often, students use their last loan payment to help fund deposits and fees when signing. While this is useful, don’t forget that you may have other costs at this time.


  • Security deposit (which will be a maximum of 5 weeks’ rent).
  • First month’s rent in advance with a UK guarantor (3-6 months’ rent in advance for students without UK guarantors).
  • You could also be asked for a holding fee (maximum 1 week’s rent; refundable unless you cancel) to stop advertising the property. We strongly recommend against paying a holding fee before using our free contract checking service – simply email your contract to advice@su.rhul.ac.uk with the subject ‘contract check request’.

What if I don’t have a guarantor?

If you don’t have a guarantor, please look at the following companies and make an enquiry/application:

The above companies will act as your guarantor if you proceed with them. They do charge a fee for this service.

If you are unable to afford the fee that these companies require, you are able to apply to the University’s Study Support Grant to reimburse these costs to you.

You’ll be required to confirm that you are unable to secure a guarantor for this academic year. You will also need proof of payment for the arrangement fee so that you can be reimbursed for these costs.

You can check your eligibility by contacting Financial Wellbeing at moneymatters@royalholloway.ac.uk


Rent prices at the moment can be unpredictable due to the cost of living crisis. Look out for communication regarding this from the SU and the University.  

However, the Tenant Fees Bill passed on 1 June 2019 stops landlords and letting agents from charging most fees that were considered standard fees before. See the government guidance for tenants here

When working out how much rent you can afford, you’ll need to think about the other regular costs you will have during your tenancy. 


If you don't have the funds for your deposit, you could consider borrowing money from family/friends or checking out student accounts/overdrafts/loans – get further advice from Financial Wellbeing.


It's important to be flexible with your who, where and when! 

When you're thinking about location, consider that Englefield Green is usually cheaper than Egham and definitely cheaper than London. If you’re willing to split up your group, you’ll have more options and can wait longer. There are always lots of spare rooms advertised on RHSUHouseMating throughout the academic year and holidays.

And, the longer you wait, the more deals you’ll find as landlords scramble to fill their rooms before term starts. However, waiting longer will mean less choice in property sizes.

Remember, you can ALWAYS try to negotiate. The later it is in the academic year, the more negotiating power you will have. Feel free to book an appointment to discuss your housing and ask us for negotiating tips.


Stay in the know with the latest news and advice on our Housing Week. We'll be publishing articles throughout the week, where you'll find tons of other useful information to help you with the entire housing process! 


During term time, our Advice Centre runs drop-ins on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday from 13:30-15:30. You can find more information on our Events Calendar, and can join the virtual drop-ins using this linkEmail an advisor if you need a different meeting time, or would prefer to get advice via email. 

The Advice Centre is a free, independent and confidential service for all students here at Royal Holloway. Our friendly, experienced and professional staff will provide a listening ear and offer general and specialist advice. We’re here to support you with a whole range of issues, big and small, and if we’re not the best people to help you with a particular issue, we’ll point you in the right direction.