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Living in private accommodation

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

Advice on renting accommodation

Advice 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 Accommodation Service: see the list of useful contacts at the bottom of this page.

Legal protection

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, eg sufficient bathrooms, cooking facilities, lighting, heating, ventilation and so on.

Council Tax

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.

Useful Contacts

University Accommodation Service

Kellet Lodge, Tennis Court Road Cambridge CB2 1QJ
01223 (3)38099 (general or private sector housing) 01223 (3)33316 (university housing)

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.

Citizens Advice Bureau

72 Newmarket Road Cambridge
03448 487 979

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.

Cambridge City Council

Cambridge City Council The Guildhall Cambridge CB2 3QJ
01223 457000
0300 303 8389 (emergencies out of hours)