Looking for private student accommodation can be a daunting experience and there are many things that students need to consider. The accommodation service is available to provide advice to students looking for private student accommodation.
We have set up a website where you can search for properties that are being advertised specifically to St Mary's students, you can see a list of available accommodation and sign up for alerts when new properties are added at www.stmarysstudentpad.co.uk. You can also use the message board on the Studentpad website to talk to other students who have space available in a student house or to find other students also looking for student accommodation.
There is also a St Mary's Facebook group where you can meet other students also looking for private accommodation, or who have spare rooms in their student property.
We are fortunate to have many Private Halls of Residence in the local area, including Twickenham, Kingston, Norbiton and Central London.
The Accommodation Service holds a number of information and guidance sessions for first year students looking for off-campus accommodation in their second year. These are held after the Christmas closure period – the dates, times and locations are announced on the St Mary's Facebook page, SIMMSpace and on posters around campus.
Searching for Private Accommodation
The St Mary's campus benefits from fantastic transport links including local trains and the R68, 33, 281, 285, 481 and X26 buses all travelling within walking distance. TFL supply maps outlining areas that are served by these bus routes.
Due to having these transport links St Mary's students find accommodation and employment in local towns such as Teddington, Kingston, Norbiton, Surbiton, Tolworth, Whitton, Hounslow and Isleworth.
There are many student residences in areas close to St Mary's, such as Kingston, Norbiton and Twickenham. Privately run halls will provide a similar experience to living in university halls of residence and are ideal for those who want a supportive and social living environment. While generally all-inclusive, the prices for private halls of residences do fall into the top bracket. Room types vary from single or single en-suite rooms in cluster flats and many local halls of residence have availability of studio apartments which are self-contained with their own bathroom and kitchen facilities. In some instances these apartments can be converted to ‘Twin' style accommodation with two single beds rather than a double, which can help to reduce the price.
Private Halls of residence in the local area include;
- Greencoat House, Kingston - Twin rooms and single occupancy rooms available
- Kingston Plaza - Single occupancy and dual occupancy rooms available
- Spring Mews, Vauxhall - Single occupancy rooms available
- Quebec House, Kingston - Single occupancy rooms available
- Davidson House, Kingston - Single occupancy rooms available
- More House - Single occupancy rooms available
- One Penhryn Road, Kingston - Single occupancy and dual occupancy rooms available.
Things to consider;
- Check that the provider has signed-up to the ANUK National Code of Standards for Larger Developments.
- Discounts are sometimes available if you book early or pay all of your rent in advance.
- Places are offered on a first-come, first-served basis, but you might be able to negotiate a lower rent/shorter contract if places are still available near the start of term.
Looking for a place to live next year?
Flat or house shares are a very popular choice for students, where each student will generally have their own room with shared kitchen, bathroom and communal space. Students can either form a group and go house-hunting together, rent an individual room in a house share or find a vacancy in an existing house share.
Where to look;
- St Mary's Studentpad website
- Room Buddies
- Right move – Student accommodation
- You can also search for local letting agents on the Association of Residential Letting Agents website
- Find a Flatmate Facebook page and Studentpad messageboard
- You can search for vacant rooms in student properties on Student Spareroom
- You can find local advertisements in newspapers such as Loot, Kingston Guardian, Getwestlondon, Richmond and Twickenham Times, Surrey Comet
Contracts for houses/flats will generally be Assured Shorthold Tenancies and will quite often be for a full year. These are legally binding agreements so make sure you have visited the property and read through the contract before signing. We have produced a useful checklist for you to take with you when viewing a property and there is lots of useful advice in the ‘guide to off-campus accommodation' leaflet.
Things to consider: Smart Meters
Contact your energy provider to request a smart meter for your rented. It will allow you to see in near real-time exactly how much energy you're using and how much it's costing.
Once you have a smart meter you can get your energy bills under control by using the in-home display that comes with the smart meter to identify what in your house is using lots of energy!
Smart meters are available at no additional cost and if you pay the energy bill yourself all you need to do is contact your energy provider to express your interest in getting a smart meter.
If you get a smart meter installed you don't need to notify your landlord but it's good practice to do so anyway out of courtesy!
Check out the video here which provides information on the benefit of smart meters to students and also look at the Smart Energy GB website here which has loads of information on when each of the energy companies are rolling out smart meters.
Rooms in local homes or lodgings are ideal for finding somewhere more affordable, with greater flexibility over contract length, while avoiding agency fees and have proved popular with St Mary's students in the past. These are also advertised on the Studentpad website, www.stmarysstudentpad.co.uk.
Other useful links;
Homestay is a popular choice for new international students, who may want to practice language skills or experience family life in London. Host family accommodation can be booked through a variety of organisations such as;
You should check that a company is registered with the British Council before signing an agreement.
A similar option to lodgings or homestay is Homeshare, where people who are generally elderly or disabled, provide accommodation in their home in exchange for an agreed level of support such as help with shopping etc. It provides affordable accommodation in return for a little help, time and companionship and offers the householder security and peace of mind.
The team in the Accommodation Service have produced a useful Guide to Off-Campus Accommodation (PDF).
- The National Union of Students provide lots of useful information and free resources
- Shelter is a charity which provides useful advice and information on housing issues.
- Citizens Advice Bureau offers free, confidential, impartial and independent advice on housing amongst many other issues.
- London Student Housing Guide has some really useful information for anyone looking for accommodation.
- Be An Energy Shopper has lots of information on how to get the best deal when it comes to your energy bills.
- How much do you know about renting privately? Take Rightmove's Rental Quiz.
This page is for information purposes only. St Mary's University accepts no liability or responsibility for any of the external websites or accommodation providers mentioned or linked to on this web-page.