Student renting: What does it cost?

When you rent privately you have to pay rent and bills, plus other upfront costs including deposits and fees.


Rent is your biggest regular outgoing. It is usually paid monthly. The easiest way to pay is by direct debit.

If you are a joint tenant, you and all of your flatmates are responsible for the rent. If one of you moves out, the rest must pay their share.

You are only responsible for your rent if you have a sole tenancy agreement for a room in a shared flat or house.

Check if your tenancy agreement covers the whole year or just term time.

You usually have to pay at least one month's rent in advance before you move in.


Before you move in, you have to pay a tenancy deposit. This is usually equivalent to one month's rent.

If you are an assured shorthold tenant and you pay a tenancy deposit check your deposit has been protected.

Your deposit is returned to you at the end of your tenancy. But your landlord can make deductions for things like unpaid rent or any damage you cause.

Letting agent fees

You can use a letting agent to find a private rented home.

Letting agents find tenants and manage properties on behalf of landlords. They charge fees to tenants for various aspects of the letting process.

Ask the letting agent for a full list of their fees before you agree to rent a property.

You may be able to negotiate with the agent to lower the fees, especially if there is not much demand for the property you're looking at.

Fees for registering or looking at properties

Letting agents cannot charge you to register with them or show you around properties.

Don't pay if an agent tries to charge you for viewing homes or for registering. They are breaking the law.

Report the agent to your university or college accommodation office.

Contact a Shelter adviser online, by phone or in person if you have already paid one of these fees.

Other costs of renting a home

Other renting costs include:

  • moving your things to your new home
  • the weekly shop
  • buying furniture and household equipment
  • gas, electricity and water charges
  • TV licence
  • internet and telephone, including installation fees
  • contents insurance

Council tax and housing benefit

You don't have to pay council tax if you and all the other tenants in your home are all full-time students.

Find out more from about students and council tax.

Full-time students can't usually claim benefits to help pay the rent but there are some exceptions.

Last updated 19 Sep 2016 | © Shelter

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