Types of Private Accommodation
- Shared House
- A house leased by a group of students collectively. The individuals share a single tenancy agreement and also share the responsibility of looking after the house, the utility bills, cleaning and so on. This is the most common form of leasing among students.
- House in Multiple Occupation (HMO)
- Students living in these houses have individual tenancies and each of their rooms has a lock on it. Tenants usually share the cooking and bathroom facilities.
- Living with a resident landlord
- The agreement between tenants and resident landlords all differ. Some landlords will provide additional services such as meals or laundry and rents may include the utility bills.
You will have to enter into a contract with a landlord, so do seek advice from your College or the University Accommodation Service.
Where to look for available properties
- The University Accommodation Service (see useful contacts below).
The University’s accommodation newsgroup:(The University’s Usenet news server was shut down on 2 August 2010.)
- The Graduate Union Accommodation Forum
- The Cambridge Accommodation Noticeboard
- Noticeboards, including those at the Graduate Union, the University Centre and in colleges and departments.
- Rooms are often advertised in the local newspaper, the Cambridge Evening News
- Estate agents and letting agents can be found in the telephone directory or Yell. Many advertise properties for rent online in cambridgeletting.net, a searchable database.
Advice on renting accommodation
AAdvice on how to find accommodation, minimum standards of fitness for human habitation, tenancy agreements, inventories, TV licenses, utility bills, eviction and so on is available from the Graduate Union and the Accommodation Service: see the list of useful contacts at the bottom of this page.
You have a reasonable level of protection in both college and private accommodation through the 1985 Housing Act. Even if you don’t get a written contract, as may be the case at some colleges, you are covered by an implied contract. In this case, you will need to give 28 days notice of leaving your accommodation so as not to be liable to pay rent after you move out. Make sure you do this in writing, even if your landlord is the college.
The Environmental Health team at Cambridge City Council can investigate whether accommodation meets minimum legal standards or not. These standards require that any HMO (which includes a lot of college housing) has sufficient baths or shower rooms (one for every five people), cooking facilities, lighting, heating, ventilation and so on. They also have a tenancy liaison officer who can help you resolve problems with your landlord.
- Cambridge City Council
- 01223 457000
- 01223 457457 (emergencies out of hours)
Council Tax is a local government tax to fund local services and amenities. Students in college accommodation, and full-time students in private accommodation, are usually exempt. For full details, please see our Council Tax page.
University Accommodation Service
- Kellet Lodge, Tennis Court Road
- 01223 (3)38099 (general or private sector housing)
01223 (3)33316 (university housing)
- 01223 (3)38098
The Accommodation Service can provide you with lists of accommodation including rooms, bedsits, flats and houses for individuals and families. They will also be able to help with understanding the details of tenancy agreements, the rights of tenants and landlords, etc. It is important that you are aware of the different tenancy agreements and the legal obligations of different parties.
Citizens Advice Bureau
- 72 Newmarket Road
- 08701 264010
The Citizens Advice Bureau is able to guide you to the right people who can deal with your queries. It also offers free legal advice should you encounter any problems relating to your tenancy agreements or landlord.
The Housing Aid and Advice Centre
- Hobson House
44 St Andrews Street
- 01223 457918
- Housing Advice and Information
The Housing Aid and Advice Centre has a booklet ‘Assured tenancies and assured shorthold tenancies – a guide for tenants’, which is worth getting hold of. It gives detailed information on the different types of tenancy agreements and outlines the rights and responsibilities of landlord and tenants.
Cambridge City Council Revenue Services
- Revenue Services
4 Regent Street
- 01223 457000