The Union Advice Service can help you with the most frequent student housing issues, including:
- information on finding accommodation
- pre signature tenancy checks
- advice on sorting out housemate issues
- getting your deposit protected, and/or getting it back at the end of the tenancy
- advice on your legal rights and responsibilities as a tenant
- support with requesting repairs to your house
- advice on Council Tax liability
- the rights and responsibilities of your landlord
- practical advice on living in rented accommodation
- any problem you may face living in University residences.
Before you sign
Problems with renting
There is a good stock of student housing in Norwich to suit groups of all sizes.
Where to look
Home Run Lettings: Home Let is the Union’s own letting agency, and Home Run is an accreditation scheme run by the Union. Both provide a range of houses and flats. One of the big benefits of using them is that these services don’t charge fees to students. To find out more see
Alternatively you can use one of the many lettings agencies in the city. Most of these charge fees to students, so make sure what you will be expected to pay before you pick an agent.
Think about what sort of area you might want to live in and check some areas out beore you start shortlisting houses. Things to consider:
- Transport links to campus and placements
- Parking, if you have a car
- Availabiilty of facilities which are important to you
- Type of housing - modern, or older style?
- Typical size of houses
Click here for a map of the Norwich showing the main student housing areas and bus routes
Not everyone wants to share with the same people you shared a flat with in your first year. You may want to share with just one or two others, to form a bigger group, live with others from your course or make a completely fresh start.
Whether you are looking for a single room, or put together a big group, the Union has options to help you:
The Home Run message board – once you have signed up with Home Run you can use the message board to find a room or advertise a spare room. Also look out for Union Housing Socials. These take place 3-4 times during the main house hunting period and are a great chance to meet potential housemates in a relaxed sociable atmosphere. We all have the right to a safe and happy home, so advice|su organises LGBT+ housing socials for those in need of finding understanding housemates. Check the Housing Events page for details of when socials are happening.
If a house share isn’t for you, other options include:
- University residences – check with the Accommodation office https://portal.uea.ac.uk/accommodation to see what they have available
- Renting a room from a resident landlord – see our info sheet “Renting a Room from a Resident Landlord” for more information and an outline of the different rights and responsibilities for tenants that live with their landlord.
- Each year, UEA Student Support Services (previously Dean of Students) advertises posts for “Senior Residents” – these are posts where free University accommodation is provided in exchange for providing guidance and support to students living in residences
What to look for
Only you know what sort of house you want to live in. Agree what the essential features you need are, the area you want to live in, then shortlist before you go out to view. Our top tips:
- Make sure that everyone in the group sees the house before committing to a tenancy agreement.
- Don’t sign a tenancy agreement unless you are completely happy that you understand the agreement and can afford the rent and bills
- Ask questions – For example check there is a valid gas safety certificate, and is there a proper smoke alarm system?
Watch this video for the main things to look for when house-hunting and warning signs you shouldn’t ignore:
Here’s a link to a handy downloadable checklist to use when you are looking round properties.
Look out for the Union house-hunting guide which is full of handy tips – you can get a copy from the Advice Service.
Found a house?
Before you sign anything make sure you fully understand your tenancy agreement. Make an appointment with an Advice Worker to explain it and answer any questions you have.
This video sets out some of the important things you need to know about tenancy agreements:
See our downloadable guide to Tenancy Agreements which contains information on what tenancy agreements are, their legal status and some of the things to look out for.
Some agents and landlords will ask you to pay a small holding deposit to take a property off the market while you are deciding whether or not to sign an agreement with them. This is perfectly legal, but if you decide not to take the house after all, it will usually not be returnable.
This is different to the damage deposit, which you will usually have to pay when you sign the contract. This is usually about a month’s rent per person and must, by law, be protected by a deposit protection scheme – for more information on these, see below.
Tenancy Deposit Schemes - this clip tells how to maximise your chances of getting your deposit back in full at the end of your tenancy:
You can use our deposit checker page to check whether your deposit has been protected by your Landlord.
See also our info guide Deposits & Deposit Schemes for more information on deposits and details of the three government registered deposit schemes.
Moving in tips
When you arrive, make sure you check the inventory for the house, and if there is any damage, or anything is missing, notify the agent/landlord straight away. Make sure you keep a copy.
Check what day your bins need to go out
Read your gas and electricity meters and keep a note of the readings somewhere safe.
Check that you know how everything works and ask the agent/landlord any questions before they leave. They won’t thank you for calling them back to explain how to work the shower.
Here’s our downloadable moving in checklist
Now you’ve moved in:
The Advice Service can offer support and guidance with all sorts of problems with rented housing. Where possible, we help you to sort these out yourself, or to avoid them happening in the first place. If that’s not possible, we can negotiate on your behalf or advise you about further steps you can take.
Take a look at this NUS video about your, and your Landlords’, rights and responsibilities, and what to do about common problems:
The Advice Service produces lots of downloadable guides to help you with common problems:
Rights & Responsibilities of Landlords and Tenants
Outlines the legal expectations of landlords and tenants.
Good Landlord &Tenant Guide
Tips for developing a good relationship with your landord.
Repairs to your Home
Looks at the responsibilities of the tenant and the landlord when it comes to different types of repair.
Damp & Condensation Prevention
Tips for preventing and removing condensation in the home.
Security in your Home
Guidance on how to make your house secure, and how to protect your personal property from crime
Time to go? Moving out
Our top tips for getting your deposit back at the end of your tenancy:
- Make sure the inventory is properly checked when you move in
- Take photos of the condition of the house when you move in
- Over the year, report repairs needed promptly to your Landlord, in writing
- Use this handychecklist from Home Run to prepare for moving out
- Take more photos when the house is all clean and shiny ready for you to leave
Then follow the procedures required by your specific letting agency or your landlord.
Norwich City Council – for information on waste and recycling services, parking permits, environmental health, planning information and housing services available from Norwich City Council.
Norfolk Constabulary - Contact information for the local Police.
Shelter - Shelter is a housing and homelessness charity and gives confidential help to people with all kinds of housing problems.