Finding somewhere to live

Living in Europe | Accommodation | United Kingdom

Accommodation falls into several different categories. The colloquial names used for property types in the UK may not be shared elsewhere in the UK. Referring to the types of property you are looking for will be useful when completing your property search through estate agents or online.

Types of property available

Most generic accommodation can be found in the form of a house or 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

If 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.

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. UK studentlife.com also has useful information about finding somewhere to live in the UK.

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.