Students' Guild advice

See what advice the Students' Guild give about your private accommodation search.

Private housing for students

Many students will need to secure private accommodation in the City as the University of Exeter offers its 5,500 bed spaces to those students who meet our Accommodation Guarantee.

Please note landlord adverts for the 2018/19 academic year will go live on our Studentpad portal on the same date as the Students' Guild Accommodation Fair which takes place on 21 November 2017 in the Great Hall.

To help you to look for accommodation in the City, please see below for further information.

What private accommodation is available?

Whether you are looking as an individual or as a group, Exeter has a lot of private student accommodation options available in the city centre and surrounding areas.

For all of these properties, you should ensure that you have a written contract in advance which will detail any additional charges above the weekly rent that you will need to pay. You may need to pay a deposit, of up to a month's rent, to secure the accommodation. The contract will also detail the number of weeks of the contract which may vary between 40 to 51 weeks.

The Students' Guild offers a free contract tenancy checking service to all students.

These options include:

Purpose-built private halls of residence

There are a large number of purpose-built private halls of residence within the city which offer individual tenancies. These tend to be similar to University accommodation with cluster flats or en-suite and studio rooms available for all-inclusive rents. Remember that many 'all-inclusive' rents have a reasonable usage policy - if you use more energy than expected your rent may rise significantly. Some of the larger providers within the city include:

Shared houses and flats

There are many shared houses and flats available for students including those with a joint tenancy or a sole occupancy contract. Some of these properties will be advertised and managed by the landlord directly whereas other landlords will use letting agencies to manage their properties on their behalf.

Properties through private individual landlords

A number of landlords purchase one or two properties within the city and rent these out directly to students. Many of these landlords will advertise their properties through the Studentpad portal which go live on the same date as the Students' Guild Accommodation Fair in November.

The Students' Guild encourages landlords to get accredited, please see the information below to find out more about 'landlord accreditation'.

Properties through student letting agencies

There are some landlords who own a large number of properties in the city who will advertise through a student letting agency and will then manage the properties whilst the students are in residence.

There are lots of student lettings agencies in Exeter. All release their own student accommodation lists, but not all are free to use; many agencies charge non-refundable registration, booking and administration fees plus deposits, so please check before commencing your search. Prices do vary but we have included some approximate prices below:

ChargesApproximate cost
Application/Administration fee Between £100.00 - £125.00
Moving out charge £12.00

Resident Landlord/Host Family

Some students decide to live in a house with the landlord and these will be listed on the studentpad website as 'Resident Landlord/Host Family'. These rooms are lets on short contracts then the other options and are often suitable for students who will not be in Exeter for the full academic year, or who want to secure accommodation for a short period whilst looking for longer term accommodation.

To see what private accommodation is available to rent in Exeter, including private student halls, house shares and rooms for rent please visit our Studentpad pages. These pages are updated continually updated throughout the year as we receive details of new properties.

There is a room mate finder facility on studentpad where you can register to find other students who are looking to share private accommodation. To access this you will need to log into the Studentpad messageboard.

Purpose-built private halls of residence and shared houses/flats are currently being advertised on Studentpad for the 2017/18 academic year. Adverts for 2018/19 will go live from 21 November 2017.

If you are considering living with a Resident Landlord/Host Family or in a self-contained flat, you will find that this type of accommodation is only advertised 6-8 weeks before the start of the academic year so you may need to delay looking for this type of accommodation until early part of the summer before you want to move in.

Once you have signed an accommodation contract (and paid deposits where required) it is very difficult, and sometimes impossible, to reverse the decision. We therefore recommend that you consider the following questions prior to starting your search:

  • Do I want to live in a shared house or in purpose built accommodation?
  • Do I want to live on my own or which friends do I want to live with?
  • Do I want to have a shared tenancy (with others) or an individual contract?
  • Which areas of Exeter are of interest to me?
  • What is my budget?
  • Does my budget include bills or will I be willing to pay extra for bills?
  • How long do I want to rent for?

Areas in Exeter which are close to the University of Exeter and are areas where student live include:

Close to the Streatham Campus

  • Pennsylvania
  • Stoke Hill
  • St Davids
  • St Thomas
  • Mount Pleasant

Close to both the Streatham and St Lukes Campus

  • Central
  • St James
  • Mount Pleasant

Close to the St Lukes Campus

  • Heavitree
  • Newtown
  • St Leonards


The postcode for the Streatham Campus is EX4 4QJ and for the St Lukes Campus is EX1 2LU. If you enter this when searching on the websites it will show you rooms available near the University.

These include:

Pinhoe

  • 3 miles from Streatham Campus
  • Trains usually every 30 minutes and is a 30 minute journey to St David’s.
  • Buses K and B from Pinhoe travel to the city centre. From here, students can walk to the university (approx. 15 minutes) or connect to local bus services.
  • 25 minute bicycle ride to Streatham Campus

St Thomas

  • 1 ½ miles from Streatham Campus
  • Trains usually every 30 minutes and is a 4 minute journey to St David’s.

Topsham

  • 5 miles from Streatham Campus
  • Trains usually every 30 minutes and is a 20 minute journey to St David’s.

Exmouth

  • 11miles from Streatham Campus, on the South-West coast
  • Trains usually every 30 minutes and is a 30 minute journey to St David’s.

From St. Davids, students can connect to the University’s free shuttle bus to campus.

There is a free shuttle bus which runs from St David's train station to both Streatham campus and St Luke's campus  Monday-Friday.

Frequent Stagecoach bus services serve both of the Exeter campuses. You can find out about subsidised bus prices and timetable information by visiting our sustainability website.

Exeter has two mainline railway stations - Exeter St David's and Exeter Central. The Streatham campus is a 15 minute walk from St David's station and 20 minutes from Exeter Central station. For St Lukes, it is approximately 30 minutes walk to St David's station and 20 minutes to Exeter Central station. The walking route to the Streatham Campus is signed from St David's' station and the campus map shows the walking route.

Students could consider purchasing a Young Person’s Railcard which offers them a discount on UK-wide train travel (off peak) which will be advantageous for exploring the UK.

There are a number of different teams within the University who can offer you support when you are looking for accommodation or living in the private sector:

The Students' Guild offer:

  • free tenancy and contract checking service for students who may have found a property.
  • free independent advice if you have any contractual issues with landlords
  • free advice if you have any issues with your housemates
  • pop-up events and advice
  • an annual Accommodation Fair where they invite landlords and large private providers to attend in order to show students what private options are available. The Accommodation Fair for students looking for private accommodation for 2018/19 is on 21 November 2017. Please check our weekly blog for any updates on this.

The Community team:

  • offer advice and support once you are living within the city through private housing via the Community Wardens.

The Accommodation Office team:

  • maintain a list of properties and rooms available in the City via Studentpad.

Accreditation

To help students make more informed choices about their accommodation and its quality, the University and Students' Guild encourage landlords who advertise with us to sign up to the Unipol Code in Exeter Accreditation Scheme

Find out more about how landlord accreditation can provide you with confidence whilst renting by reading the Students' Guild landlord accreditation advice and support guide

Advice

From 1 February 2016, all private landlords in England will have to make right to rent checks. This means checking that their prospective tenants have the right to be in the UK.

When viewing a property, you should check that flats, houses or bedsits are adequately furnished for your needs. Make sure the property is clean and in good condition both inside and out and in particular:

  • Check for dampness*.
  • Check the electrical and gas appliances work.
  • By law landlords have to have gas certificates for all gas appliances, ask to see one.
  • Properties of three or more storeys with five or more student residents should have a House of Multiple Occupation (HMO) License from the local Council. Check the landlord has registered.
  • Find out who else has keys to the property.
  • In private housing you are responsible for insuring your possessions. We strongly advise you do so.
  • Do not visit a property alone. If you have to go on your own make sure someone knows where you are going and the time you should be back.
  • Don’t rush to arrange your accommodation. There is plenty of student housing in Exeter. Take your time. Make sure you are happy with who you want to live with, where you want to live, and how much you can afford to pay.

*There are many causes of damp, including poor air circulation. Make sure you air your rooms regularly to avoid the appearance of mould.

Whether you are asked to sign a licence or tenancy agreement or whether you have an oral contract, make sure you understand the implications and take legal advice if necessary: the Students’ Guild Advice Unit can help. Keep copies of everything you sign.

If you are in doubt about anything to do with renting private accommodation, check with the Accommodation Office, the Guild's VP for Welfare and Community or the Exeter Citizens Advice Bureau.

Housing terminology

Please see our useful download below which provides information on the terminology which is used by landlords and letting agents.

Scams

Please be careful when responding to adverts for private accommodation, as there have been a reports of people being scammed out of money.

Do not send money for accommodation prior to viewing the property. Verify the person is the landlord or a representative of the landlord (such as a letting agent) and ensure you receive a copy of the tenancy agreement prior to signing.

Scams usually involve you being asked to send money via a payment service such as Western Union, Bidpay or Money Gram and to then fax or send a scanned copy of the receipt of the money being paid via this service along with the reference number to secure the accommodation.

If you have been caught out by such a situation please keep any correspondence (emails/texts etc) and report it to the UK police as soon as you can.

Council Tax

The majority of students are exempt from paying council tax, but there are a few exceptions. For further advice and assistance, please refer to our comprehensive guide.

A video guide on searching for private accommodation