Private accommodation costs

Helpful information on budgeting when living in private accommodation.

Costs to budget for

If you’re living in private rented accommodation, you’ll need to budget for certain bills on top of your rent.

Holding fee

A fee you will pay to reserve a room/property which you'll usually get back once your tenancy begins. This is usually equal to one week's rent.

Deposit fee

This is to cover any issues with security or damage to the property which you'll usually get back at the end of the tenancy unless you have incurred costs to the landlord. This is usually five weeks rent (if your total annual rent is under £50,000) or six weeks if over.

Gas and electric

If you’re living in your own privately-rented house or flat, gas and electricity charges won’t usually be included. You’ll need to make your own arrangements for paying these, and split them between the residents, as appropriate.

Make sure you contact the gas and electricity providers to give them your meter readings at the start and end of your tenancy – so they only bill you for the energy you use.

If you’re living in a resident landlord property, gas and electricity charges are often included in your rent. However, you’ll need to check this with your landlord before you move in.

TV licence

It’s your responsibility to buy either a joint or an individual licence, depending on the type of tenancy agreement you’ve signed. If you have any queries, see this TV Licensing information.

Contents insurance

University-managed accommodation includes personal possessions insurance in the rent, but private accommodation doesn’t, so you’ll need to take out your own insurance. You can get a quote through Cover4students, who are one of the companies providing insurance to students living in private accommodation, or you could have a look at the usual comparison websites.

Water and sewerage

Landlords are normally responsible for paying water and sewerage bills, but check your contract to confirm this.

Typical student budget

If you're living in private accommodation you'll need to budget for additional bills on top of your rent.

This is an example of a typical student budget – costs are based on what you would pay living in a four-bed house with other tenants.

Category Expenses  Monthly


Utilities Electric/gas £50  
(based on a four-bed house) Water/sewage £12  
  Contents insurance £10   
  Broadband £7  
  TV licence  £3.30  
Course costs  Books, printing and photocopying  £35  
Food   £140 £1,680
Clothes and toiletries   £68 £800 
Sports/Entertainment Active card membership   £199 
  Gym-only membership    £180 
  MOVE membership   Free 
  Sports club membership   £20 
  Societies    Up to £5
Travel 16-25 Railcard   £30
  Bus £67.10   

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