Finding somewhere to live

Living in Europe | Accommodation | United Kingdom

Accommodation falls into several different categories. Referring to the types of property you are looking for will be useful when completing your property search through an estate agent or online.

Types of properties 

Most commonly accommodation offered for rent is a house or a flat, of which there are different types:

  • Bedsit: Bedroom and living room combined. Normally smaller than a studio flat and often has cooking facilities either within the room, or as a separate shared facility. Often has shared bathroom with other tenants.
  • Studio flat: Bedroom and living room combined. Often there is a separate kitchen. Should be self-contained and not require sharing with other tenants.
  • Flat/Apartment: Self-contained accommodation, with a separate living room and at least one bedroom. Often on only one level and part of a larger building. Most commonly there are flatshares available where you rent out a bedroom and share the kitchen, bathroom and living room with the tenants occupying the other rooms.
  • Maisonette/Split level flat: Apartment/flat on two levels with internal stairs.
  • Bungalow: House with only one level
  • Terraced house: House sandwiched between two other houses. Often in a row of houses.
  • Semi-detached house: House that shares one wall with another house
  • Detached house: A house that does not share any walls with other buildings

When renting in the UK you can often enter into 'house/flat share' agreements. This means that you will have your own private bedroom but will be sharing the other communal rooms such as the living room, kitchen and bathroom with other tenants in the property. You could be a lodger or have a live-in landlord, which means you will rent your own room and the landlord will live in the same property in their room.

Where can I search for accommodation?

There are plenty of online search engines for finding private rental accommodation in the UK.

The National Association of Estate Agents (NAEA) allows you to search for property type and price within a particular area. If you do not want to rent through an agency, you could search for advertisements found in locally distributed areas to rent directly from the owner. 

Many universities offer accommodation to international students (including PhD students) at a reasonable rate. Some may also be able to arrange accommodation for international researchers.