The UK Council for International Student Affairs provides advice to international students. They run a telephone helpline but have lots of information on their website, so look there first and only call the helpline if you can’t find what you are looking for on their website.
Arranging accommodation safely from a distance
Action Fraud urge students to be aware of rental scams when looking for accommodation. Never hand over any money without being sure the property exists. Make sure you use a trusted website when looking for accommodation, anyone can advertise on some websites. Action Fraud advise students to use their universities approved accommodation scheme where possible, for example www.sassh.co.uk.
Check with the University's accommodation team
The University can provide advice and guidance on landlords and agencies, we can also confirm if an agent or landlord is known to us or if we have received complaints about them. Email email@example.com for further information.
Checking property ownership
Some unscrupulous people or companies may try to let out properties that do not belong to them without the knowledge or permission of the owner.
- You can use the Land Registry website to check property ownership - a search costs £3.
- You can pay online using a debit or credit card.
- Search using the full property address and post code.
- If there is a choice between 'leasehold’ and ‘freehold’, you should probably choose ‘leasehold’
- Where there is only ‘freehold’ available, this is probably the document you need
If your prospective landlord is not the property owner, ask for proof that they have the authority to let it to you.
If you are unable to view a property in person, it may be possible to ask a trusted friend or family member to view it on your behalf. If this isn’t an option for you, most accommodation providers now offer virtual viewings.
It is important to ask as many questions as possible so preparing a list of queries in advance of the viewing and writing down the answers would be useful.
You can also request additional information from the landlord/accommodation provider such as additional photos of floor plans to assist in your decision making.