As a continuing student, you’re expected to live off campus in private sector accommodation for your remaining time at Royal Holloway. You can find out all the essential information that you’ll need to know when planning your move to the private sector below.

What is the private sector?

Private sector housing is accommodation that is owned and managed by a private landlord and is not owned or managed by Royal Holloway. To rent a property in the private sector you’ll need to sign a contract with the landlord and provide a damage deposit in advance (this is normally six weeks rent). For more information about the private sector, please visit the Student’s Union Housing website.

Contracts – what do I need to know?

When renting a property from a private landlord, you’ll be given a legal contract that both the landlord and you will need to sign to commit to paying the rent and abiding by the terms and conditions that are stated. Contracts can be any length but normally they last for 12 months.

I live in the private sector but want to move to Halls

If you have signed a private sector contract, you shouldn’t then apply to live in Halls . If you did you would be taking out two accommodation contracts at the same time and as a contract is legally binding, you’d be liable for the rent for both properties! If you’ve applied for accommodation in Halls and already have a contract in the private sector, please let us know so that we can cancel your application.

When should I sign a private sector contract?

You might find that you’re coming under pressure to sign an accommodation contract months before you’re due to move into the property. The main reason for this pressure is competition in the student-rental sector, but don’t worry, this is often exaggerated and in our experience properties can remain available as late as August. Please don’t feel pressured into arranging something as early as November or December for the next academic year, your circumstances may change, particularly over Christmas, and tenancy agreements are legally binding documents and are much easier to get in to than out of!

Make sure you check your contract carefully before you sign it. If you’re unsure, you can contact the Students' Union who run a Contract Checking service.

Does Royal Holloway check the condition, safety and suitability of private sector housing?

We don’t have any agreements with letting agencies in the local area and we don’t inspect private sector housing so can’t guarantee the condition, safety or suitability of the housing. It’s your responsibility to view private sector housing yourself to decide if it is suitable. You can download the Students' Union Looking Guide for a useful house-hunting checklist.

Got a question?

Can’t find what you’re looking for online? Contact the Students’ Union and their dedicated Housing Advice team will get back to you.


Students walking towards Founder's through Canada Copse

Living in the local area

Royal Holloway is situated in the safe, green and leafy town of Egham in Surrey. Find out all you need to know about living in the local area below.

Where should I live?

Many of our students choose to live in private sector housing just a short walk from campus in Egham or Englefield Green or in the neighbouring towns of Windsor and Staines-upon-Thames.

Cost of private sector housing

The average rent for a room in a shared house in the private sector is approximately £92 per person per week (£400 per person, per month) - this doesn’t include bills, which you’ll need to budget for on top of the rent. A wide range of properties and rents are available and it’s possible to find somewhere to live both above and below the average price range.

If you’re a full time student, living in a house with other full-time students you’ll be exempt from paying council tax and can prove this to the local council by presenting your Student Status Certificate.

Are you an international student? Do you know about the Right to Rent scheme?

All private landlords in England are required by law to check that any tenant entering a residential tenancy agreement has the right to be in the UK before renting out their property. The Government Right to Rent scheme has been introduced to deter individuals who are in the country illegally from remaining in the UK.

As part of Right to Rent checks, your landlord may ask to see identity documents that show you’re legally allowed to live in the UK. If you hold a visa, these checks will need to be conducted within 28 days of the start of your tenancy contract. The checks have to take place in person and the landlord is required by law to take a copy of your documents and retain them for at least one year following the end of your tenancy.

For more information, please visit the UK Government’s website on the Right to Rent scheme.

I’m living in the private sector, what support is available for me? 

We have a Community, Wellbeing and Student Outreach team that are here to support and advise you if you have any concerns throughout your time living in the local area and our Community Wellbeing Officers are available to provide advice on settling into private sector housing and help you with any issues you may have. We also liaise with local residents and community partners to ensure Royal Holloway students are welcomed into the neighbourhood. 

The Students’ Union Advice team are also available to discuss a range of private sector queries from contract information, problems with house mates and landlord disputes.

Safety and security

Royal Holloway is one of the safest university campuses in the UK and we have an on-campus 24/7 security team who work closely with the Police Neighbourhood team to support students living off campus.

Take out possessions insurance

Your landlord's insurance is unlikely to cover your possessions should anything happen to them, so make sure you take out possessions insurance. Our Students' Union's recommend that you visit the Endsleigh insurance website for more details.

Got a question?

Take a look at our accommodation FAQs to find useful answers to a variety of questions.

Smiling students on a balcony

Where can I find private sector accommodation and someone to live with?


Where can I find private sector accommodation?

There are a number of ways in which you can look for accommodation to rent in the private sector:

  • Use a letting agent
  • Check online – there are websites advertising spare rooms/properties
  • Facebook groups

For more support on looking for housing in the private sector, please contact the Students’ Union. Why not take a look at the Students’ Union Housing Guide for more information.

Annual Housing Fair in the Students’ Union Main Hall

The Housing Fair is a great way to learn more about renting, whether you're already in a property off-campus or moving to the Private Sector for the first time.  You can speak to advisers from the University of London Housing Services, Support & Advisory Services, the Students’ Union Advice & Support team, Runnymede Borough Council and Surrey Police. The Housing Fair takes place every year in January.

How can I find someone to live with? 

If you haven't found other people to live with, you can find housemates or flatmates in the following ways:

  • ask amongst friends to see if they know anyone who is looking for housemates
  • post a message on the Campus Noticeboard
  • look for one or two bedroom properties to rent
  • look for larger shared properties where the landlord will let the rooms individually (so you’ll share with a larger group, but wouldn't know your housemates before you all move in)
  • attending the Students’ Union Housemating events
Find out more by reading the Students’ Union Looking Guide and Housing Guide.

Top tips

Check out our top tips when thinking of changing where you live.


Going away over the Christmas or Easter vacation?


Tell your landlord or agent if you’re going away for the holidays and when you expect to be back

This will make sure that your landlord doesn’t get into difficulties with his insurance company and he can keep an eye on the property, especially if the weather conditions are a cause for concern.

Leave your heating on to avoid burst pipes

If your heating is off while you're away your water pipes could freeze and split, resulting in flooding and damage to your home.  Worse, if you're responsible for turning the heating off, you could be liable for the cost of repairs and clean-up.

It's best to leave the heating on continuously and not on a timer, as a few hours of heat a day might not be enough to stop your pipes freezing.  Your central heating may well have a 'frost setting' (often represented by a snowflake icon) which will keep your pipes above freezing but your energy costs down. Some insurers require properties to be kept warmer, though, so check with your landlord what temperature setting to use.

If your central heating isn't working, contact your landlord or agent immediately and ask them to repair it.

Contact us

Can’t find what you’re looking for online? Contact the Students’ Union and their dedicated Housing Advice team will get back to you.