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Durham University

Accommodation and Allocations Office

Student Union Updates


Under the STOP.THINK.SIGN. campaign, the Students’ Union encourages students to take their time to sign a contract for private accommodation.

Some advice from older students at Durham University…

  • “You don't have to decide where to live in November, when you have just arrived at University”
  • “There are more houses than students in Durham.”
  • “I wish I had known I didn't have to live with my flat mates from first year.”
  • “Get involved with societies and your course mates so you have a bigger selection of potential house mates.”
  • “Take time in choosing both the house and housemates.”
  • “An accommodation contract is legally binding. There is no going back once it is signed.”
  • “Many landlords release their good houses in January.”

The University Counselling Service and the Students' Union Advice and Help Service have noticed a distinct rise in students seeking support and advice about their health and well-being in private accommodation since students started to sign housing contracts earlier in the academic year. In over 80% of these cases, students had signed contracts by November.

Student housing is a very competitive and lucrative market, which is why landlords/letting agents put pressure on students, by telling you that the “good ones go early” and “you won’t be able to find anywhere if you leave it too long”. Remember that landlords/lettings agents are salespeople and are trying to sell you a service, they are under pressure to let their properties.

The campaign is saying that the culture of signing early for accommodation has to stop. We are saying do not be pressurised into signing a contract before you are fully ready, sought advice from family and friends, and have fully researched your options in terms of potential houses and housemates.

For more information, please get in touch with your Students’ Union Community Officer by emailing

*Provided by Durham Students' Union Community Officer*