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Student accommodation guide #3: private halls

If you've got your place and now you’re considering private student halls (perhaps you’ve missed out on university-managed halls), here’s what you need to know - from typical costs and pros and cons to how your university can help...

We explain more about all the living options available to you in our student accommodation guide.

Missed out on a place in university halls?

If you didn’t get a place in student halls, you’re not the only one – just over one in 10 (13%) of the students we spoke to last year who went through Clearing said they ended up not getting university accommodation.

Don’t panic too much if you missed out on university-managed halls – a second option could be a room in private student halls.

Your university housing office can help 

Your university housing team isn't there just to place you in university managed accommodation; staff there can help you find a private housing option, too. 

They should have an approved list of student accommodation providers, and may have a more formal partnership in place with a private company to provide student accommodation. Chat through your options with your housing team before contacting a private provider directly. 
I stayed in private halls because I went through clearing. I would recommend my halls to anyone - don't be put off by the fact it isn't university accommodation. In fact, it's possibly better than being in halls because you get a break from university if you want. It was located in a perfect place, a 10 minute walk from the city centre, five mins from the quayside and 15 mins from the far side of campus. Second Year French Student | Northumbria University

If you’re struggling to find a private provider with any rooms left, you should consider a private rental property

Choosing private halls: pros and cons

So spaces are available in private student halls. Before completing your accommodation application, weigh up these pros and cons... 


  • Purpose-built for students: expect something very similar to university halls
  • Bills included: many private halls will include utilities and broadband in the rent
  • Generally convenient location: you'll be near to campus / the university community.


  • Can be pricey: ask yourself whether you really need an ensuite or studio rental
  • Other unis: you might also be sharing with students from other universities which is great to meet people, but a little different to university halls
  • Extra support: they're less likely to have in-house pastoral care services such as counselling and disability support
  • Same student halls pitfalls apply: noise, not choosing who you live with, mess and so on.

Typical costs: private halls vs. private housing 

While rent is inclusive of bills and contracts may be slightly shorter than in the private rented sector (although they are typically longer than with university halls), private student halls is still overall likely to be the most expensive accommodation option overall.

According to the NUS Homes Fit for Study report, private student halls is a significantly more expensive option than privately rented accommodation, with average rents of £467 per month (versus £366 in the wider private rented sector). Costs are more similarly aligned to average university accommodation rents (£426 per month).

Tip: It’s worth comparing with a private rental house and checking your budget before you go for it – try tools like Brightside's Student Calculator. Your maintenance loan might not completely cover your rent, so consider how you might make up the difference.



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