With such a wide variety of accommodation on offer to students in Bristol including university halls, private rented accommodation and homestay accommodation, knowing where and how to start looking can be difficult.
The Students' Union at UWE, in conjunction with the UWE Global Centre, have put together this handy guide for all students coming to UWE Bristol to help you feel ready to tackle the rental market head-on.
If your question has not been answered below and you need further advice, please don’t hesitate to contact the Advice Centre - Advice@uwe.ac.uk.
If you have viewed a property and paid a holding deposit but are yet to sign a tenancy agreement, you can still change your mind about renting the property, however, you may be at risk of losing the deposit regardless of whether the property is re-let. It is advisable to check any paperwork you have and speak to the landlord/agent to see what the position is.
The decision to sign a tenancy agreement depends entirely on your circumstances. As the document is legally binding, the Advice Centre would recommend you think very carefully before signing it. It would be advisable to discuss with the landlord/letting agents the terms of the contract. We would advise discussing potential break clauses that may allow you to change your contract start date and also the possibly or being able to cancel should you not be able to move in. However, these are not something you can demand and are entirely at the landlords/letting agents’ discretion.
The Advice Centre is available to check any tenancy agreements before you sign them, should you have any concerns.
When you are living in private accommodation there are additional costs, other than rent and deposits that you will need to budget for. These include:
Internet, Landline Phone and Cable TV – If you want internet or cable TV in your new accommodation, you must first check with the landlord that they are happy with this being installed.
TV License – A standard TV License costs £159. It's a criminal offence to watch live TV or use BBC iPlayer unless you have a valid TV licence. Without one, you risk prosecution and can be issued a fine of up to £1,000, plus court costs. You still need a licence even if you don't own a television and only watch TV on a phone, tablet or computer. You do not need a TV Licence if you only ever use services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Now TV to watch on-demand or catch up programmes.
As a full-time student you will be exempt from council tax payments for the period of your course. The University sends a list of all full-time registered students to the council, so you shouldn't get a bill, but sometimes mistakes happen. You might have to prove to the council that you are a full-time student and that you don't have to pay - to do this all the full-time students in the property need to get a letter confirming their student status from your faculty/school reception. This needs to be sent to the Council Tax department of Bristol City Council.
This form can be found via either MYUWE or by contacting the Information Point.
Students living in UWE-managed Halls of Residence are automatically exempt from Council Tax.
The rules for part-time students are different so we recommend you come and see us if you are part-time so that we can advise on your specific situation.
If you live with non-students but are a full-time student yourself, you will not be liable for council tax but your housemates are likely to be, but don’t panic, the council will only pursue the non-students for the council tax liability, not the students.
Check with your letting agent/landlord whether an inventory check-in/out list can be completed during a vacant period before/after your tenancy begins/ends. Your letting agent/landlord should be able to send a copy of all documents to the incoming/outgoing tenants for comment along with supporting dated photographs/documentary evidence. This process mustn't be forgotten as deposits could be at risk if there are disputes about damage to furniture etc.
If you've decided that it is more convenient to do your food shopping online there are many different suppliers in Bristol that you can choose from. There are a few things to consider when doing this, such as:
The top suppliers are listed below: Can each supermarket name link to relevant website below.
The first thing to do is to contact your landlord/letting agent to explain the situation. They may agree to a rent reduction for a period or to accept rent at a later date (known as a payment holiday). They might even consider reducing the tenancy term if they won’t release you.
However, if you agree to delay your rent payment the full rent will still be due at a later date. Repayable rent reductions are where rent is reduced for a period but the overall amount will still be due just at a later date by mutual agreement. If you are experiencing financial difficulties, including living costs as a result of the current disruption, you may be eligible for support from the University’s Student Money Service. Further details can be found at https://www.uwe.ac.uk/life/money-and-finance/student-money-service.
No. The deposit cannot be released until the tenancy ends unless your landlord has agreed to a mutual surrender of the tenancy. If the landlord/letting agent does not agree to surrender the tenancy, then the deposit must remain protected by the deposit protection scheme and cannot be used as payment of rent or rent arrears.
If you have an Assured Shorthold Tenancy, your landlord can only evict you with an order from the court and notice that they plan to regain possession of the property. This would be either a Section 8 or Section 21 notice.
If your landlord has already issued you with notice, they will not be able to evict you for a further three months.
Unfortunately, this will not apply to lodgers of live-in landlords as they can evict you without a court order, however, it is still a criminal offence to evict you by force or intimidation. You would still be legally entitled to reasonable notice unless it is at the end of your fixed term.
Unless a surrender/termination of the tenancy has been expressly agreed with your letting agent/landlord then the contract continues along with all of your responsibilities and liabilities. Each situation is unique so it’s not advisable to compare your housing situation to other students.
We hope this information will help you when renting in Bristol, if you need my further advice, we are available via email between 10:00-16:00 Monday to Friday.
Bristol is a big city, and there are many different areas within the city that each offer their own character and community. Knowing about each of these areas is key when narrowing down your property search, this will help you to you decide where you want to live, or perhaps more importantly, where you don't want to live. Many students prefer to live close to their university campus, but this may not always be the best choice.
You will need to balance cost, quality and convenience, especially in a large city such as Bristol. Issues to think about include the following:
It may be on campus; it may be near your place of study, or it may be some distance away. If it is not on campus, check that the area offers everything you need: for instance shops, friends living nearby, places for meeting friends and socialising, good transport links, parking provision (if needed), but most importantly that it feels like a safe environment.
This is particularly important if your accommodation is not on campus or if you can’t reasonably walk (or cycle) to your place of study or to other places that you need or want to get to frequently. In some towns living further out, away from university, shops etc., can save money, as housing may be cheaper. If you are thinking of living further out, try and check that possible extra travel costs do not outweigh your savings on rent. Below is an overview of the different areas of Bristol.
The city centre is a good place to live if you want shops, bars and clubs on your doorstep. Cabot Circus, St Nicholas Market, the Waterfront and Park Street are all here. Most of the accommodation in the centre is converted office blocks and warehouses, and here you will find many of the larger commercial purpose-built residences. Be aware that parking is very limited so you'll be reliant on other forms of transport to get to campus.
Gloucester Road is one of the most popular areas for students to live because of its vast array of shops, bars and cafes; in fact, it has the largest number of independent traders on any one road in the UK! You'll find lots of student houses and flats available to rent here and in its surrounding areas.
Bishopston and St. Andrews are popular student areas due to their proximity to the city centre and walking distance to the popular Gloucester Road. The number 70 bus also services these areas making it easy to get to the Frenchay Campus. There are a lot of large Victorian houses giving students in bigger groups plenty of housing options.
Another popular student area off of Gloucester Road, Horfield is further away from the city, but close to Frenchay Campus. A very residential area with lots of accommodation options for students and you’ll be able to park here too.
These areas have a growing student population and are all walking distance to Gloucester Road and the city centre. They are more multi-cultural than some of the other areas mentioned above, with a reputation for being edgy and alternative. Stokes Croft is the heart of Bristol’s graffiti art and music scene.
These areas are on the opposite side of Gloucester Road and equally popular with students. Living here you'll also have the benefit of being within walking distance to Whiteladies Road, another busy main road with shops, bars and cafes aplenty.
A largely residential area in Bristol, popular for students studying at Glenside and Frenchay. The main Fishponds Road has a mix of pubs, shops and cafes, although not as trendy as the Gloucester Road.
Popular for students because of its proximity to the Frenchay Campus, but if you are looking for the hustle and bustle of Bristol you’ll have to travel a little further towards the city centre.
All of these areas are close to the Frenchay Campus, but bars, shops and cafes are few and far between, as they are very residential.
These areas are increasingly popular with Bower Ashton students. North Street, a few minutes’ walk from the campus, is home to the Tobacco Factory Theatre, the Hen and Chicken comedy venue and a range of coffee shops and restaurants. Bedminster Parade is also a thriving street of independent traders.
On top of the town, as their names suggest, these Victorian terraced streets may be more economical than Bedminster or Southville but are still close to Bower Ashton, especially by bike. Some Totterdown streets are amongst the steepest in the country!
Accommodation around Bristol Temple Meads train station has a definite inner-city feel and puts you bang in the centre of things. It is close to Broadmead and is a short bus ride to Bower Ashton.
Close to the Clifton Downs, the Suspension Bridge and historic Clifton Village, these areas are great for walking and cycle rides and it’s a short run/bike ride down the hill to the centre. Close to Bower
Ashton Campus as the crow flies, but can be one of the more expensive areas to live.
MILES FROM CAMPUS
BISHOPSTON & ST ANDREWS
MONTPELIER, ST PAUL’S & STOKES CROFT
REDLAND, KINGSDOWN & COTHAM
STOKE PARK, FRENCHAY & CHESWICK VILLAGE
TEMPLE MEADS/ST PHILIPS MARSH
Bus routes to each campus can be found at https://journeyplanner.travelwest.info/directions
UWE Bristol has benefited enormously from the recent investment in largely traffic free cycle routes that criss-cross the city. If you are interested in cycling into campus, The Students’ Union does offer a bike loan scheme (please hyperlink bike loan scheme to the ‘Hire a bike’ page once created) which will allow you to hire a bike to use for the year. Cycle routes to each campus can be found below.
Photo by Jon Tyson on Unsplash