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Accommodation Office

Frequently Asked Questions (Queen's Campus)

When should I start looking for accommodation?

Houses for undergraduate accommodation are usually advertised from around November to February for houses for the following academic year with contracts starting from July onwards, but it's always possible to get something at shorter notice if needed. The Durham Students' Union puts on a Housing Fair in Stockton in January.
Houses for postgraduates tend to be advertised from April until October for contracts starting in September or October.

What do I do when I find a property I am interested in?

If you are interested in a property, contact the landlord or Estate Agent to arrange a viewing. If you decide to take the property your landlord will issue you with a copy of the contract and you should be given at least 24 hours to decide whether to take it or not. The Students' Union Advice and Help Centre offers a tenancy checking service and you can either email them a copy of the contract (dsu.advice@durham.ac.uk) or take it in person.

Will bills be included in rent?

Check on the details of each property to check to see if gas/electricity and other charges such as water rates and internet charges are included. If they are not included, you should expect to pay around £12+ per person per week extra. Ask the current tenants/landlord when you visit the property to let you know what they have been paying. Remember, if you go for a bills inclusive option, this may include charges for weeks when you are not actually living in the property i.e. during vacation periods. You may be asked to sign an extra agreement covering the bill free element; you can also have this checked by the Students' Union Advice and Help Service.

How long should I expect my contract to be?

Most properties have fixed term contracts of 12 months unless the advert states otherwise. Most undergraduates sign contracts that start from 1st July and most postgraduate lets tend to start from 1st September. If you have any questions about contract length, start dates, summer rent concessions, etc. this should be discussed with the landlord before signing the contract as they may be negotiable.

What about short-term accommodation?

Rooms often become available for a variety of reasons mid-year. You could contact landlords as they may be prepared to negotiate the rental price and the length of the tenancy in these situations. Occasionally Colleges will have short-term accommodation available, however it is not guaranteed. Please contact your College or the Accommodation Office if you are having difficulty in finding short-term accommodation.

What do I do if I have a problem with my accommodation or I want to leave my accommodation?

If you are having any issues with your accommodation, you should speak directly to your landlord in the first instance. After you have spoken to your landlord, if the issue hasn't been resolved, then you should make an appointment to speak to the Students' Union Advice and Help Service. If you want to leave your accommodation, remember that a tenancy agreement is a legally binding contract. Your landlord will hold you to that contract, which is why it is so important to not rush into an agreement until you are comfortable with the property, your flatmates, and the terms of the agreement.

Why do I have to show my landlord my passport, student visa, or other immigration documentation?

From 1 February 2016, landlords, homeowners, and Letting Agents are required by law to ensure that someone has the right to rent in England before letting them a property. Please see the UK Government Guidance here and the University's Immigration Office FAQs here for more information about the Immigration Right to Rent Checks.