Contract length

First year students

Returning students

First year students

For first years signing up during the summer, most owners will offer a contract to run either from the time of signing or from the start of the following month. At that time of year a lot of owners start their contracts from 1 September. But if you are considering renting through the summer, landlords may make rent concessions or settle for a retainer. Raise this with them – it’s always worth trying to negotiate with an owner about the precise date you start paying rent. But, as ever, patterns vary from year to year and from place to place, so check for local details.

Returning students

In recent times about half of all returning students have rented properties over a 52-week letting period – commonly from 1 July to 30 June the following year. If you do opt for a 52-week let, try negotiating – before you sign – for a summer rent concession.

Other returners choose to delay signing up until the late summer. Again, their contracts are likely to run to 30 June. However, if you do delay, be aware that most accommodation services get very busy at this time of year and finding accommodation during this period can be extremely stressful and time-consuming. It's best to look for a house before the third week of August or leave it until just before the start of term. (In Bradford, Leeds and Nottingham this isn't a problem because of the prevailing accommodation surplus in all three cities.)

If you are looking for a house as a group, it's important you make a definite arrangement with each other to meet up before the end of summer, as you will all need to agree on the property and to sign a contract. There will, however, still be a good choice of accommodation right through until the beginning of October.  Remember, some owners will often be willing to negotiate with prospective tenants about when they should start paying rent from.