Help and Advice

Independent housing advice on all aspects of housing in university accommodation and the private sector.

What's On Offer and When to Look

There are loads of different options available in Leeds to suit all tastes and budgets.  And, with a surplus of 5000 bed spaces in the student market, you can afford to take your time and find a good quality, affordable home in an area that’s right for you.

What are my options?

Checking out the property search on the Unipol Website will give you a good idea of what’s on offer.

Some of the most common options include:

Can I stay on in halls after my first year?

If you loved your time in Halls, Accommodation Services welcomes applications from continuing University of Leeds students who want to return to University accommodation. Every year they house hundreds of second, third and fourth years, either on their own, with a friends or as part of a group.

Is there a start date for house hunting?

Unipol have an administration date when all the properties for next academic year are online.  This is to make sure properties are ready to view when you’re ready to look.  For the 2015/16 academic year, Unipol will be advertising properties from 24 January 2015.  However, there will continue to be plenty of properties advertised on the website later in 2015, so there will still be lots to choose from if you are looking later in the year.

Many properties that are advertised before 24 January 2015 are either still left over from last year, or being advertised by landlords who aren’t in the Unipol Code.

When should I start looking?

Previous LUU house hunting research showed that students did not want a start date to tell them when they should look for a house.  Students wanted to start looking when they were ready not when they felt pressured to by landlords or their peers.  

Students felt the best times to start house hunting were between February and April.  

We'd strongly encourage you not to sign before the Unipol start date of 24th January, otherwise you won't be taking your pick from the full range of properties.  To meet a range of Unipol Code landords, visit our Housing Fair in the Riley Smith Hall on Monday 26th January 2015 from 11am - 4pm.

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Why should I wait?

  • There is a surplus of good properties available
  • It’s quieter after January
  • Landlords are more likely to negotiate as time goes on – they’ll feel more pressure to let their properties
  • You’ll have more time to think about what you want and who you want to live with
  • Some landlords put their rent up in December and January and then reduce it in mid February
  • Unipol don’t release their list of Code properties until 24 January 2015.
  • It’s hard to get out of a contract once you sign.  If you take your time, you can make sure the property is right for you. 
 
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Won’t all the best houses go quickly?

Landlords will tell you that 'the good ones go early' or 'leave it too long and you'll get the worst properties'. They will be wrong on both accounts but if you feel the pressure they will use it to their advantage.

LUU's former Community Officer Ben Fisher signed for his house in August and lived less than 10 minutes walk away from Uni, and there were still a lot of houses in Hyde Park and the surrounding area.

Last year there were nearly 5000 empty bed spaces in the main student areas.  This year is likely to be the same, so why start early and pay more?

Landlords will not give the impression they are worried but they are. With so many empty houses, they are in a very competitive market.

Looking in December and January actually puts you at a disadvantage because landlords know you are keen to get something sorted.

Where are the good areas to live?

Many students choose to live in Hyde Park and Headingley.  These areas have lots going for them, but they can also be very expensive, crowded and suffer from a high burglary rate.  There have been long standing issues with noise, rubbish, and parking.  Some students have got great deals in the City Centre or other parts of Leeds such as Beeston.

Only you will know whether an area is good for you.  If you get on a bus or go for a walk, you might find your new favourite part of Leeds.

Who will I live with?

If you’re looking to link up with housemates, use the Unipol Noticeboard.  Unipol also organise 'find a housemate' events throughout the year.

Choosing housemates is obviously a personal decision, and one we can''t make for you.  Here are our top tips for avoiding problems:

Moving out of halls for the first time? Don’t feel pressured to form a group too soon.  If you wait ‘til later in the year to find a place, you might have a better idea of who you want to live with.

Think about what’s important to you and talk about this with your housemates:  Quiet study space? Cleanliness? Parties? Think about whether you want to live in/with a couple.

Make sure everyone has seen the property and the read the contract before you sign.  If someone isn’t happy, don’t sign.  Remember: once you sign the contract, you’re usually tied in.  You could also be jointly liable for your housemates’ rent.  Although, it's worth noting that if you are in University Accommodation they won't hold you liable if one of your housemates doesn't pay their rent or withdraws from the University.

I’m studying abroad? Will I miss out if I’m not in Leeds for house hunting?

Firstly, don’t panic! There is a surplus of bed spaces so there will still be properties available if you wait until you get back to the UK to look.  

Thinking of signing for a place you haven't seen?

Remember there is a big risk involved. If you don’t like the place, you’re still tied into the contract. 

Read more about what you'll be signing up to

However, if you really want to get something sorted before you’re back, Unipol offer a rent online service .

If you’ve already got a group to live with next year:

Talk to them about whether they really need to find a place before you’re back. 

Waiting could be in their interests too.  If your housemates sign a joint contract before you do, they could still be liable for all the rent, even if you don’t end up signing.

Worried about finding housemates?

Unipol’s noticeboard can help you link up with other people who are looking.

Have you thought about coming back to University Accommodation?

Details about all University residences and properties, including the rents, are available from Accommodation Services.

You can return with a group of friends or on your own as Accommodation Services can find suitable flatmates for you.

If you're abroad at present and want to continue your international experience, you may be interested in living in Ellerslie Global Residence. With 50% UK residents and the rest from all over the world and a programme of intercultural events, Ellerslie offers a uniquely diverse social life and the opportunity to further broaden your horizons.  Ellerslie also won "best complex" at the 2012 and 2014 Landlord Awards.

Need help & advice while you’re away?

I’m only in Leeds for part of the year.  Can I get a shorter term let?

Many student landlords advertise 12 month contracts.  However, this might not be suitable for you if you're going abroad or on a placement part way through the year.  Or, you might be arriving part way through the year as an Erasmus student.

There’s a big risk involved in signing a twelve month contract if you know you won’t want to live in the property for the whole time.  Check out our contracts section for more info about getting out of contracts (it’s not always easy).

So what are the options for finding shorter term lets?

Some of the big developments offer flexible deals, especially if they still have places to let later in the year. 

Unipol has information on finding shorter term lets, including information about current offers from the larger developments.

Living with the owner of a property can also offer greater flexibility.  You can use Unipol's advanced property search to select "living with an owner occupier".

University Accommodation might be a good option for you as they do offer accommodation to those needing a shorter contract due to their academic course commitments.

You could try negotiating with landlords – outside of the student market it’s common for private tenancies to be let for a minimum of 6 months.  With a surplus of student properties in Leeds, you might find some landlords who are more willing to offer shorter term lets, particularly if you look later in the year (May/June onwards).

Use Unipol's Noticeboard to find rooms in shared houses.  It is quite common for rooms in shared houses to become vacant part way through the year.

Where can I find family accommodation?

Click below to find information and advice about family housing from:

Family accommodation can become available at any time of the year.  However, there is a high demand for family accommodation from both the University of Leeds and Unipol.  If there are no vacancies, you can look for other private rented sector family accommodation. 

How much will it cost?

Family accommodation from University of Leeds and Unipol is generally cheaper than the private market.

For an idea of the average weekly rent in the private sector, check Leeds City Council's local housing allowance rates.

If you have not yet arrived in Leeds, it is often advisable to come to Leeds early to arrange accommodation before your family joins you.  This will save costs for temporary accommodation.

 

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