Many students are accommodated in College for the duration of their time at Cambridge. Living in College can be a convenient, affordable and sociable way to spend your time at Cambridge, however there are some important points to be aware of:
- KFC: In some Colleges, all students are liable to pay an additional 'Kitchen Fixed Charge' every term as a contribution toward the overhead costs of catering. This may be additional to your basic rent.
- Vacation costs: If you are staying in College accommodation beyond your termly-rent agreement, it is important to check the vacation rent prices. They may be significantly higher than prices for term-time rent.
If you have to live out – or if you think you might – this section provides some useful starting points. With house-hunting, monthly rent, bills and deposits, moving into privately rented accommodation can seem very daunting. However, if you're happy with the people you're sharing with and have time to plan ahead, it can be fairly relaxed and even fun.
Most undergraduate and some postgraduate students live in College whilst they are in Cambridge, but you may want to live out. If so, you should consider when to look, where you want to live, who you may want to share with, and hidden costs such as furniture, the deposit, monthly bills on top of the rent, TV license, and broadband/phone. The most important thing is to know your own responsibilities and rights in relation to your landlord or agency.
If you do decide to live outside of College you will also need to consider the University’s regulations relating to ‘keeping term’ and the University precincts. It may be you will need to ask your College for permission to reside outside of the College and/or University precincts or, for postgraduate students, apply to live outside of the precincts. Read more about the University’s precincts and keeping term.
Seeking Information and Advice
University Accommodation Service
The University Accommodation Service is run by the University to provide information on accommodation including University owned properties as well as those in the private sector. Register online at www.accommodation.cam.ac.uk. Once registered, you will be able to search a regularly updated website. The office is located at Kellet Lodge on Tennis Court Road if you need further information or advice.
When using external websites, it is important to be careful as many of them have no quality control and therefore not all adverts are necessarily genuine. Fraudsters will often target students; if a property sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Please use your common sense and never agree to send money as a deposit to the advertiser without having viewed the property first. We recommend that you get advice from the University Accommodation Service.
Visiting the property
If you find a property that suits you, try to view it as soon as possible. When working through an agency, ensure that one of the agents goes with you so that they can answer any questions that might arise. A potential checklist for things to look out for could be:
- Traffic noise: visit at peak traffic times to ascertain noise levels.
- Security: check for a burglar alarm, smoke alarms and window locks – if you can't see them, ask.
- Utilities: bear in mind that even a 'furnished' property may not include all the furniture you see at the time of viewing, so clarify as soon as possible. Check that a current gas safety inspection certificate exists.
If possible, have a chat with the current tenants about their experiences of the property and of the landlord (preferably without the proprietor standing over you).
Badly fitted and poorly serviced gas appliances can cause gas leaks, fires, explosions, and carbon monoxide poisoning. Gas Safe Register is the official list of gas engineers who are qualified to work safely and legally on gas appliances. It has replaced CORGI registration. If you are in private accommodation, it is important to be aware of Gas safety. For more information visit Gas Safe Register? or download this handy information leaflet.