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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

It’s important that you have accommodation in place before you arrive in Southampton.  Both private and university residence options are high in demand so you will need to start planning well in advance.

Most landlords and private providers of accommodation require a UK guarantor and or six months’ rent in advance as a minimum.

We strongly advise you to make sure that you have accommodation in place before making travel plans.

Here, we've put together some information to help guide you when looking at accommodation options in and around Southampton.

If you would like to stay in Solent University residences, you will need to make an online application for accommodation in advance of your arrival. You can find out more here.

You will need a unique reference number to be able to register and apply for accommodation with us which will be sent to you by email if you have chosen Solent University as your first choice. If your course starts in January, you won’t automatically receive an email from, us so you will need to email accommodation@solent.ac.uk to ask for your unique reference number. Please note that accommodation options in January are very limited so you will need to look at your options well in advance of your arrival to the UK.

The University has a private housing scheme called SASSH. SASSH is run in partnership with the University of Southampton and Southampton City Council and contains a list of properties which landlords have agreed will be managed to a certain standard.

Landlords who list properties on SASSH agree to:

  • a set of property standards to ensure that students live in good quality homes,
  • a code of management and practice, and
  • provide a full set of safety certificates for the property.

To search for properties, you will need to first register on the SASSH website. If you do not yet have a University email address, please register on SASSH and email private.housing@solent.ac.uk to request access.

You can use the SASSH website to search for housing by university campus and you can also view a map which shows the location of each property.

SASSH message board

The SASSH website also has a message board function where students can advertise for house mates or spare rooms. Many students who are looking to leave a contract and have an available room also advertise here.

This can be a useful function for finding shorter term contracts. Please be aware that students can advertise a room in any property, therefore the properties may not meet SASSH standards.

There are several purpose-built student accommodation providers across the city. Often described as hotel style, each site is run by a different private operator (company), and they are completely independent of the University.

Options in private halls range from single room to studio apartments, and everything in-between.

You can view a list of developments local to Southampton on the SASSH website. Importantly, all the listed providers are signed up to the ANUK Code. Any provider signed up to the code has agreed to manage their accommodation to an approved national government-approved standard. Find out more on the ANUK Code website.

Private halls of residence have been very popular this year and filled up very quickly. Many developments may state on their website that they are full, however it’s still worth contacting them as they may hold waiting lists and sometimes have cancellations if a student has decided that they no longer require a room.

All private halls have different contract conditions and some are more flexible than others. It’s a good idea to contact each provider directly to find out what they might be able to offer.

For further advice on this, or any other accommodation options contact private.housing@solent.ac.uk.

The University does not have any family accommodation. If you require accommodation for your family, you will need to source housing in the private sector.

Due to legislation, there are conditions imposed by the local authority around the number of people who are legally and safely able to share a property if they are not from the same household. This means that in most cases it is not possible to share a room with a friend.

Accommodation suitable for families is in short supply and the average price of a two-bedroom, market rent property in Southampton is currently £1,205 per calendar month (without bills).

In most cases you will need to be able to provide rent for the duration of the contract in advance, and often a UK guarantor.

The University is unable to recommend specific websites to find family accommodation, however Southampton City Council suggests looking at the following websites: ZooplaRightmove and Southern Daily Echo.

Read more on the Southampton City Council website

Remember it’s crucial that you have accommodation in place before making any travel arrangements.

If you choose to use an agency to find accommodation, ensure they are signed up to a professional body such as NRLA.

Redress schemes

By law, letting and estate agents must be signed up to a property redress scheme.

A letting agent redress scheme can resolve disputes between letting agents and their customers. Both landlords and tenants can complain to a scheme.

Important: remember, if a property is not listed on SASSH, the University is limited in the assistance we can provide if things go wrong.

Agency fees

The Tenant Fees Act 2019 places very strict rules on what tenants can and can’t be charged for. Accommodation providers/agencies and landlords can only charge for what is known as a ‘permitted payment'. For example, a refundable holding deposit, capped at no more than one week’s rent

If you would like further information on private housing, you can contact the University's private housing adviser by email: private.housing@solent.ac.uk.

Some landlords let out spare rooms in their home - this is commonly referred to as lodgings.

Arrangements may be self-catering or may include meals. Please be aware that if you live with your landlord, you will have less security. However, this option may be appropriate for you if you require a flexible or short contract as you are able to move out at short notice. Some students also enjoy the home-like atmosphere of living with a family.

There are several guest houses, bed and breakfasts, and hotels across the city. Although more expensive, this may be a useful option if you are looking for a short stay. Please note that the Southampton Boat Show takes place during September and it can be very difficult to find short term accommodation during this time as many hotels and bed and breakfasts are booked up in advance. If you would like to arrange short term accommodation, early booking is strongly advised.

What’s a guarantor?
A guarantor is someone who agrees to be responsible for your rent and your other legal obligations in a tenancy agreement. They may also be responsible for the rent and legal obligations of any co-tenants you share with. For example, if you or any of your co-tenants don’t pay your rent, the landlord can ask your guarantor to pay. If your guarantor doesn't pay, the landlord can take your guarantor to court.

A guarantee agreement is a contract that sets out the guarantor's responsibilities. It must be in writing.

The contract is a legally binding agreement so the person signing it as the guarantor must be prepared to do what they promise to do in the agreement.

Letting agents and referencing companies have different requirements they will want guarantors to meet. Generally, they will want someone who:

  • lives in the UK, and
  • is over 18 years old, and
  • is a homeowner, and
  • has a good credit history, and
  • has a steady job that gives them enough income to pay any debts that the tenant owes the landlord.

If you don’t have a guarantor
If you are struggling to get a guarantor, speak to the landlord as they may be willing to negotiate, for example, some landlords may be willing to accept rent in advance instead.

Guarantor companies
There are private guarantor companies (such as Housing Hand and UK Guarantor) who offer to act as guarantor for working professionals and students in return for a fee.

Unfortunately, the University is unable to recommend guarantor companies. For further advice on accommodation or housing contact the University’s private housing adviser by email: private.housing@solent.ac.uk.

If you are not studying for a full year you will require a shorter contract. Many landlords offer contracts for 12 months so it’s important to make sure that you check the length of the contract before you sign it. Contracts can be legally binding and complicated so it’s always a good idea to get it checked before you sign anything. By law a landlord must give you reasonable time to ensure you understand your contract and to get it checked if required. The University Accommodation Office offers a free contract checking service.   

Joint and several liability

If you move into a shared property, it is likely that you will sign a contract with ‘joint and several liability’. This means that all the tenants in the property are equally liable for their own and each other’s rent for the duration of the contract. All tenants would also be jointly responsible for observing other conditions, such as maintaining the property, and could be equally liable in the event of any damages.

Sole contract

This is a contract which is only in your name, and you are solely responsible for the conditions of the contract.

Importantly remember to get everything in writing, for example, in a contract or email.

Contract checking

You can ask the landlord or the letting agent for a ‘sample copy’ of the contract before signing it. The University offers a free contract checking service. You can use this service by emailing private.housing@solent.ac.uk to book an appointment.

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 private.housing@solent.ac.uk 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.

Virtual viewings

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.

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