Our Student Life Officer (Julia Oliver) has a range of resources to help students who are looking for external accommodation.
The Student Life Officer can also provide advice and support to students who experience problems in external accommodation and can signpost students to external advice agencies when necessary.
View a recording of our Accommodation Q&A (25 March 2021) here.
We have included some of our top tips below for when property searching in London!
You’ll need to work out your monthly outgoings, to ensure you can afford to pay the rent. Factor in the following costs:
- Food (either catered in halls of residence, or purchased then cooked at home)
- Gas and electricity
- Internet and phone connection
- Mobile phone contract
- Laundry services (if applicable)
- Travel expenses
- Contents insurance
- Social activities
- Books and equipment for college or university
Remember, you may be entitled to a maintenance loan or grant. Don’t include an interest-free student overdraft into your budgeting, as you’ll have to start paying this back after you graduate. If you need assistance with budgeting, check out savethestudent.org, which has online tools to help you.
Keeping an eye on money
It’s worthwhile setting aside half an hour each week to review your spending, and check that you’re not paying out more than you can afford. If possible, place some funds into a savings account – this always comes in handy in the event of emergencies.
There are plenty of financial perks available to students, so do make the most of them. Your TOTUM student card offers plenty of discounts – to apply for one, visit https://www.totum.com/.
Once you’ve got a shortlist of accommodation options, it makes sense to view them in person. One in ten student groups sign a contract for the first house they view, but that doesn’t mean you have to – you may want to see a few, so you can compare what’s on offer.
Try not to be dazzled by fancy appliances or mod-cons. You don’t want to rent a student home, only to find that there are major issues with the property that’ll cause you headaches further down the line.
When viewing student accommodation, pay attention to the following:
Check out what’s in the vicinity. For example, a bus stop or a local convenience store are likely to both be useful to you in the future. If it’s a walkable distance to your university, find out how long it’ll take to get there. If it’s not, make sure you check how much it’ll cost in train or bus fares to get to your lectures.
Surrounding houses Does it look like a good neighbourhood? Are the surrounding properties in relatively good order? It’s never a good idea to rely on gut instinct alone, but neither should you ignore it. If a place doesn’t feel quite right, that usually means there’s something wrong with it.
You’ll be leaving valuables in this property, so you want to be assured that it’s safe to do so. Check the access points, and make sure there are locks on the doors and windows. Ideally, the road will be well lit at night too.
Your safety is a top priority. Make sure fire alarms have been installed, and that fire extinguishers and fire blankets are functional and accessible.
Pests are a real problem, especially if there’s a significant infestation in the house. Look for evidence of mice, rats, slugs, banana flies and pigeons – all of these can cause serious problems.
Water pressure and leaking
Ask to see the showers and taps in action, to check the water pressure is adequate. Look around the bases of sink units too, just in case there are any problems with leaking.
If the property is old, it might not be that energy efficient. This is bad for the environment, and means you’ll pay more for your heating too. Ask about the energy efficiency, and find out if the property is well insulated too.
Damp houses are not only unpleasant to live in, they can be bad for your health as well, especially if mould is present. Check for mould around windows and in the bathroom, and press your hand to the walls. Usually, you can tell if a wall is damp, as it feels slightly clammy and cold to touch.
It’s worth noting that any house advertised as student accommodation needs to supply a desk and chair in each bedroom. Make sure you find out what else is included in the tenancy agreement.
A tenancy agreement outlines the responsibilities your landlord has in relation to the tenant. It details your responsibilities too. Always read your contract carefully, and if you’re not sure about anything, ask your letting agent, or the Accommodation Office / Student’s Union.
Types of contract
There are several types of contract, but the ones you’re most likely to encounter are:
That means you can live in the property for a specified period, and that you agree to pay rent for the entire duration of your time there.
This means that you and your housemates share liability for damages, bills, and rent arrears.
It’s your responsibility to:
- Pay the rent on time
- Pay the bills on time
- Maintain the property to an acceptable standard
- Tell your landlord if any problems arise
- Comply with all other terms of the contract
Your landlord’s responsibilities
Your landlord must:
- Let you live in peace – if they need to enter the premises, they must give you 24 hours’ notice in writing
- Maintain the structure and exterior of the property
- Ensure the house is safe and habitable
- Keep all appliances, heating and electrics in good working order
Having a guarantor is an increasingly popular option. Your guarantor is usually a parent or guardian, and they will offer to ‘guarantee’ that you can pay the rent, and agree to cover the costs if you fail to do so. The advantage of having a guarantor is that it makes you a more appealing tenant to prospective landlords. You may be able to secure a better quality of student house too.
What do you need in order to secure your student accommodation?
If you’re ready to sign the contract, you’ll need to supply the following:
- ID (usually in the form of a passport)
- Visa (if applicable)
- A letter from your university, confirming your place there
- The necessary funds to secure the property
Student Affairs Resources
Information and advice on how to start your search for external accommodation - when and where to look, who to live with, and how much to budget. It includes lists of useful external resources and accommodation providers.
Information about funding and the average cost of rent, travel and other day-to-day expenses.
If yes, then please contact firstname.lastname@example.org in order to add your name to a list of Guildhall students looking to share accommodation with other students.
The Student Life Officer manages a list of rooms, flats and houses available to rent from private landlords. Please email email@example.com to request a copy of this list of adverts.
Please note that the School does not have an accreditation service for external accommodation and is not able to verify or inspect landlords and accommodation providers.
Rather than sending a mass email to all students, send the details of the room to let to firstname.lastname@example.org so that this can be forwarded to the students who have signed up to the accommodation mailing list.
Please note: the School does not endorse any particular agent(s). The details below are for estate agents who have attended accommodation events at the School and have provided their contact information for students looking for information and advice regarding their rental search.
Sundial Court, the School’s hall of residence, is located in Chiswell Street, just around the corner from the Silk Street building. Sundial Court has 176 bedrooms in thirty-nine flats, each with either three, four, five or six bedrooms.
Each flat has a communal kitchen with dining area, shower room and separate toilet. Some bedrooms are large enough to accommodate an upright piano and are furnished to a high standard. All rooms are equipped with internet access. There is also a wheelchair accessible flat with a specially adapted kitchen and bathroom. There is also a Deaf Alerter system for the hard of hearing.
Music students may practise in their bedrooms during permitted hours. Local amenities, including supermarkets, bars, restaurants and sports facilities are all within easy walking distance. Two underground stations are within minutes of the residence. Underneath the accommodation is the Basement, which houses the School Bar, a self-serve laundry, practice rooms and a communal television room.
Security and Support
A Reception service is provided 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, to oversee the safety and security of the building and its residents. In addition, a team of Residential Assistants, live in the building to provide peer support. A key part of their role is to encourage a sense of community amongst residents and throughout the year they organise a range of social activities, from market trips to museum visits, film nights to exercise clubs.
With a total of 176 rooms, it is not possible to offer a place at Sundial Court to every student. However, every attempt is made to provide accommodation for first year undergraduate students. All those offered a place on a full-time course of study at Guildhall School are welcome to apply. (Part-time students with medical or disability needs are also eligible).
Weekly cost of accommodation at Sundial Court in 2021-22 is £210 per week.
Accommodation for students with disabilities and/or medical conditions
When allocating rooms at Sundial Court, priority is given to students with disabilities and/or medical conditions, that have a substantial and long term effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities. Part-time students with medical and/or disability needs may be eligible for Sundial Court under specific conditions, and are advised to contact the Senior Health & Welfare Advisor for further information. Find out more about disability support at the Guildhall School. Please note: Students who wish to apply on medical and/or disability grounds will need to complete an assessment form and provide confirmation of diagnosis from either a practitioner recognised by the GMC, NMC, HCPC, or a nurse practitioner. Students will need to re-apply each year and provide up-to-date supporting documents if they wish to continue to live in Sundial Court after their first year.
Applications on medical and disability grounds are reviewed by a Student Affairs panel that meets twice a year, in the spring and summer terms. Information provided in applications is treated in strictest confidence and not disclosed to other departments.