Leeds House Hunting - our comprehensive guide

You are in the right place to get the best advice from the student housing experts.

Before you start looking

Help in finding the right accommodation for you

The house hunting season

Doing a thorough search

Using the support that’s available

House mixing and house hunting events for new and for returning students

Student to student notice board and individual lets

Housing myths and rumours

In short …

 

Before you start looking

First, make sure you have read our advice on things you need to know before you start house hunting. Taking a bit of time to arm yourself with some sound knowledge pays dividends: you’ll make better decisions and are more likely to be happy with the deal you get, the price you pay and your living arrangements generally.

Help in finding the right accommodation for you

Finding accommodation that is right for you is an important part of college life, in both the first and subsequent years of study. It is vital you get the right support to help you explore the options fully and make informed decisions.

The key sources of support are your institution, your students’ union and Unipol. Universities and colleges clearly play the central role for students wanting to get into institutional accommodation.

For students interested in other forms of accommodation, Unipol is the main resource. Students in this category are mainly returners, but include a sizeable number of new students – and significant among these are new postgraduates and students with dependants.

Institutions and students’ unions will provide advice and information on accommodation. Unipol offers advice, information, a letting agency service and house mixing and house hunting events.

Click here for Unipol’s help and advice pages, including contact details.

Homeshare - an alternative to the shared student house or room in a hall.

The house hunting season

Every city with students has a different time and method for finding student accommodation. It is estimated that in Leeds over 27,000 students will live in privately rented accommodation. Most will be second and subsequent year students (returning students).

In Leeds there is an administrative start date to house hunting. For next year’s houses (those available from July) this is normally the first Saturday after the examination period. The start date of house hunting is there to increase choice and transparency in the letting market; to ensure that there is a decent amount of comparable property for you to choose from; and to allow you to plan your house hunting.

Don’t let the start date panic you into renting something you don’t want. There remains a surplus in Leeds and good quality accommodation is available throughout the year. Don’t rent before the start date unless you are staying with your existing landlord. Those that do often pay more. Unipol and the universities and colleges will provide you with information before the start date to help you make sound, informed decisions.

During each year Unipol advertises over 16,000 bed spaces in off-street properties and new properties are added daily.

Doing a thorough search

Take your time and look at a good selection of properties. If you rush in and sign up for one of the first properties you look at, you may be lucky and land a good one. But the chances are that a thorough, more measured search will get you better accommodation at a better price. Be wary of landlords or agents applying undue pressure to make a decision on a property.

Using the support that’s available

You can’t do better than using Unipol as a resource for supporting you in your search for private rented accommodation. Our services include:

  • information and advice
  • provision of a letting agency service
  • administration of highly respected accreditation schemes

Extensive information and advice is provided on this website. If you want it in even more detail, call in and pick up a copy of our Housing tabloid. The latest issue has special features on Le Tour Yorkshire and guiding you through moving home.

We offer the widest choice and largest number of accredited properties and bed spaces in Leeds. Using this website, you can browse advertised properties and book viewings. Through us, you can get access to over 16,000 advertised bed spaces, displayed in a way that ensures transparency and no hidden bias.

Unipol is a sector leader in student property accreditation

Unipol has pioneered accreditation schemes in the student housing sector. Innovative in design, set-up and operation, the Unipol Code offers tenants a high level of assurance about what they are renting and how it is managed. It makes real sense to rent a Code property – look out for the badge on advertised properties. You can check whether a landlord is registered as a Code owner by clicking here.

As a measure of the popularity of Unipol and the leading services we offer, it’s worth noting that annually our website received:

  • over 200 thousand property searches
  • over 106,400 visits

To supplement what we offer, you may wish to make the most of the support of your students’ union advice service and your institution, with whom we work closely. In doing so, you can be confident of making the right decisions at the right time.

House mixing and house hunting events for new and for returning students

Unipol works closely with the universities and colleges to organise house hunting mixing days where students can meet each other and look for properties together.  The events are organised to help a number of different kinds of house hunter:

  • individual house hunters
  • existing groups of students wanting to share together
  • new students
  • returning students
  • undergraduates
  • postgraduates
  • students attending different institutions

Account is taken of these different categories and their differing needs and interests when designing and tailoring events. Unipol has longstanding expertise in running and managing house mixing and hunting events for students new to Leeds. We have now applied this expertise to a series of events tailored specifically for returning students house hunting on their own.

For individual house hunters, these days things are made easier by the larger number of owners willing to offer individual lets – now readily searchable and identifiable on the Unipol housing webpages. Nonetheless, house hunting in these circumstances can be daunting, for returners as well as new students. But we can support you through it. Events provide a space where students can meet each other. Staff are on hand to give one-to-one assistance. If enough people attend together, Unipol staff helps facilitate mixing to enable participants to look for houses together, if that is what they want to do. Unipol has staff available throughout the day to offer support and advice on all aspects of house hunting in the private sector. Staff help house hunters search the web, contact landlords and arrange viewings. Events run throughout the year.

We help students make informed decisions about their choice of property and the people they are happy to live with.

Student to Student Notice Board and single lets

If you can’t come to a house hunting event or you’d rather house hunt on your own, we can help you. Because there’s a surplus of accommodation in Leeds, many owners are happy to sign students for individual lets rather than insisting you sign for a joint contract as part of a group. Where the owner’s willing to do this, their advert will state “will let individually”.

You can also use the student to student notice board on the Unipol website. This is a great way to:

  • meet other people to form a group and look for houses together
  • advertise that you are looking for a room in a shared house
  • see what others who have free rooms in houses they have signed for have to offer.

Just select Notice Board 

Housing myths and rumours

Every year some students fall foul of various housing myths and rumours such as:

  • There is a housing shortage – this is simply not true. In Leeds there is a surplus of good quality accommodation. Students who leave their house hunting until the summer before they return to university still secure good houses.
  • All the best places go first – often students who sign up for houses too early are actually signing for properties left over from the previous year! Wait for the official house hunting start date when over 12,000 bed spaces are released on to the Unipol website for students to view.
  • Everyone pays sign up fees – many owners do not ask students to pay admin or sign up fees. If you don’t want to pay, choose an owner who doesn’t charge them. Unipol will not expect you to pay for setting up a contract. Ask what you are paying for.

In short …

  • work out who you want to live with
  • explore different areas of Leeds to decide where you want to live
  • calculate how much you can afford (don’t forget gas electricity etc)
  • discuss the amenities you want in the property. 

Finally, it’s a good idea to seek advice on the legal aspects of renting, on, for instance, your own contractual responsibilities and your landlord’s.  Contact your Students’ Union Advice Centre and also look at the Unipol Code for further information.