Where to Start: House Searching and Viewings

Our Advice Centre gives you all the information you need so you can start your search for accommodation with confidence. Get an idea of what to expect when you're looking for housing and attending viewings.

Our Housing Looking page is packed with all the information you need to know so that when you're ready, you can search for accommodation with confidence. For now, we have collated key highlights from the page, so you have an idea of what to expect and look out for.

What are my rights when looking for housing?

Consumer law applies to you during this time and so estate agents have a legal obligation to abide by consumer law.

  • If you are inexperienced renters, estate agents have an obligation to make sure you understand key elements of the renting process, sharing the government’s How To Rent Guide with you before you sign.
  • Pressure sales are illegal. Estate agents must give you time to get your contract checked. Before signing, ask them to email the contract to you, and email it to the Advice Centre with the subject ‘contract check request’ to get impartial feedback.
  • If you suspect that an estate agent or landlord is being dishonest, or pressuring you, don’t pay or sign anything before getting guidance. If you are worried after signing or paying, ask an advisor for guidance.

When should I start looking?

Now is a good time for looking, NOT signing. Signing up to housing usually requires over £1000 and committing to a long-term contract. See our Keep Calm campaign page to make sure you make an informed decision about when to sign. For now, we recommend you start thinking about who you might want to live with and looking at accommodation prices with your friends to get an idea of what you can afford.

I don’t know who I’ll live with!

Fret not! In term two to three, our HouseMating Facebook Group is buzzing with people looking for housemates and you’ll be spoilt for choice! Join now and get looking.

Where do we search?

Start by doing a search for the size property you need with the area you’d like to live in, e.g. ‘4 bedroom student house to rent Englefield Green.’ The ads you come across will usually lead to a local estate agent’s contact details, which you can use to book viewings.

What happens in a viewing appointment?

The estate agent should meet you at the property and the current tenants should be expecting you as they are required to be given 24 hours’ notice. You will have a chance to look around the property and ask any questions you have. To make the most of the viewing and avoid being misled, use our essential Viewing Checklist.

More questions?

During term-time, our Advice Centre runs drop-ins on Zoom every Tuesday and Thursday 13:30-15:30, and in-person every Wednesday 13:30-15:30. You can find more information on our Events Calendar and can join the virtual drop-ins

Email an advisor if you need a different meeting time, or would prefer to get advice via email.

What Else is Happening?

We've got plenty of events running throughout Housing Week! Check out our campaign page for more events and blog posts.