Freshers Housing Guide

In General

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The Advice Centre team at SUSU have put together this guide to support you in finding appropriate accommodation in Southampton. 

As you may not have housemates or be familiar with Southampton, this guide will support you in finding housemates, help your knowledge of where to live in Southampton and give you an understanding of how to safely rent a property.  

At all times, if you have any questions, you can contact SUSU Advice Centre  which is your practical support at university. We have advisers trained in housing matters who will be available to offer independent and impartial advice and check your contract before you sign it. You can contact us on advice@susu.org.  

If you are worried about the impact searching for a house may have on you starting your course on time, please email studenthub@soton.ac.uk or phone 02380 599 599.

Who To Live With

To begin, choosing who you live with can be a minefield. You want people you have fun with and enjoy spending time with but not everyone will form compatible housemates. There is more to private renting than just having fun and you do not want to find yourself locked into a contract with someone for a whole year who makes your living experience unpleasant. Here are some things to consider when choosing housemates:   

Are you studying a similar course?   

Some degrees are more intense than others and will require quieter households. Does this fit with your idea of student living? Were you hoping for more parties and socialising?    

What is their lifestyle like?   

Are they messy or chaotic? What is their approach to cleaning? How do they approach their finances? This may seem like details at this point, but it is these details that will cause arguments in the future.    


Are you all working towards similar budgets? Do you have similar ideas for how much rent and utilities should cost?  Also, most students will need a UK guarantor to rent a property.  If you’re an international student or someone who doesn’t have access to a UK guarantor, you may need to pay a set amount of your rent upfront. This shouldn’t be a barrier to renting so if you are in a position where this will be difficult, please email advice@susu.org.

It is important that you get to know the people you will be living with. You will see the best and worst of your housemates and you need to feel comfortable around them.  You can use SUSU housemate finder tool to help you find housemates or to help you find a place in someone else’s house.  

We also have advice on living in harmony on our website to help you resolve conflict among housemates early and get the bets from your living environment:  Living in harmony  

If you have a group of people you wish to live with, you can contact SUSU Lettings who have a variety of fully vetted, high-quality properties available. 

The key thing to bear in mind is that if you are entering into a legally binding contract, and you will be living with these people for a year. Try as best as you can to get to know one another and see if you make compatible housemates.  

Where To Live

Where you choose to live will largely depend on which campus you are studying at but if you’re on Highfield, Avenue or Boldrewood, good places to begin searching are Portswood and Highfield. These areas tend to have a high density of students due to their location near the campus but also the local amenities.

For students studying at Winchester, some will choose to live in Southampton and commute to Winchester using the bus or train, but you may also wish to look at housing in Winchester. Housing here is limited and more expensive than Southampton so do think about your budget when searching.

For those who will be studying at NOCS, you may prefer more central accommodation such as Southampton City Centre or Ocean Village. As with Winchester, this may be more expensive, but it will be closer to your campus. If you don’t mind a short commute, you could also look at Highfield and Portswood as more budget friendly options.

For those at Southampton General Hospital (SGH), you may find that you do a lot of your studying at Highfield so it can be worth looking at Portswood and Highfield. There is a short commute to SGH from these locations. If most of your work will be at SGH, it may be worth looking for rental properties nearer the hospital. There are plenty of houses available, but they do get snapped up quickly but medical professionals wanting to live close to work.

When looking at areas to live, remember to look for local amenities, transport links and check the local crime statistics.

You can search for houses using the SUSU – Housemate Finder tool on our website if you want to find a space in house or find other housemates. SASSH is a Southampton accreditation scheme for student housing which is run jointly between Southampton University, Solent University and Southampton City Councils. To join, landlords need to show that they have met the legal standards required for renting properties. You can also look at Spareroom for spaces in houses that are rented by others.

How To Rent

If you are new to the UK rental market or even if you have rented before, it is important to understand that you are entering into a legally binding contract that you can’t easily back out of, so be sure that when you agree to rent that property you are happy with it.

The UK Government have put together a guide on How To Rent which helps you to understand the types of tenancy available and what to look for in a property.

A second guide by the UK Government advises you on How To Rent A Safe Home.

Our Advice Centre Housing Support page also has advice on tenant fees, letting agencies and preparing to move into a property. 

Once you have found a property you are happy with and you are ready to sign an agreement, make sure to have your contract checked by The Advice Centre. We can alert you to any worrying terms and help you to understand your rights and obligations.

Finally, if at any point you have concerns or require support, you can email advice@susu.org. We offer Microsoft teams or Zoom appointments and email advice so if you’re not at Southampton but still require support, we are here for you.

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