The Accommodation and Housing Officer represents the needs of students living outside UCL and University of London Halls. They lead campaigns for adequate, affordable, and accessible housing for UCL students and play a significant role in working towards better standards for housing in London.
Frequently Asked Questions
- What are my rights in student halls?
Your rights in halls are guaranteed in law by the Protection from Eviction Act 1977. These are outlined here by Citizens' Advice, with further information for students living in halls provided here. If you live in UCL halls, your rights and responsibilities as an occupier are outlined in detail under the Accommodation General Regulations and the Licence Agreement, which you can read here. You may also want to contact your elected Hall Representative if you are having problems with UCL Accommodation regarding your rights.
In general, maintenance is the most common problem facing residents at UCL. You should not contact your Hall Representative about maintenance issues. UCL Accommodation has an online reporting system for maintenance faults, which you can access via the Accommodation Portal. For maintenance issues with what UCL considers 'essential amenities', that is water, electricity, or heating, I would also recommend sending an email to your hall team to get a timestamped record of your report. This is because the General Regulations state that you may be eligible for compensation if UCL Accommodation fails to provide a 'satisfactory alternative provision' for the failure of service that was not caused by yourself, your guests, or other residents, and that 'a period of 36 hours has elapsed to effect a correction of the fault'. These are outlined in Regulation 28 of the General Regulations, subject to the limitations in Clause 6 of the Licence Agreement.
- What are my rights as a private renter?
If you are not living in student halls, chances are you are either renting privately or lodging. In either case, your rights in private rented accommodation are guaranteed in law, primarily by the Landlord and Tenants Act 1985. These are outlined by Generation Rent here and cover a number of common issues you may face as a private renter. For those who are lodging, meaning if you rent a room in your landlord's house and share living space with them, your rights are outlined by Citizens' Advice here.
Maintaining a good relationship with your landlord does not mean you should let them walk over you. If you are having issues with your landlord, it is important that you know your rights as a tenant. The National Union of Students (NUS) has launched a Student Renters Hub that tells you everything you need to know about renting as a student. Additionally, you may want to join a tenants' union such as the London Renters' Union to further understand your rights and to organise collectively with other tenants.
If you are facing a specific problem with your landlord, you may want to contact the Students' Union's Advice Service, who may be able to assist you further.
- I missed out on UCL Accommodation. What are my options?
If you have missed out on UCL Accommodation either because you are not a first-year or have missed the application deadline, then here are your options.
You can apply to be on the waiting list for UCL Accommodation, but as the name suggests, you might be waiting for a while. Because UCL Accommodation allocates rooms based on availability, individual preferences, and maximum weekly rent, there is no way to guarantee when they will be able to make you an offer. The waiting list is also open for the entirety of the academic year, so they might make you an offer in a week, or it might take several months. Unfortunately, there is no way to tell.
Generally speaking, you are better off looking at private providers offering student accommodation, but bear in mind that these providers are often more expensive than UCL Accommodation or private rental. In 2022, the average rent at UCL Accommodation is £207 per week for undergraduates and £250 for postgraduates. In comparison, the figure is £274 at Unite, £399 at iQ, and £410 at Chapter.
Another option is to rent privately, but the cost of this may vary depending on your location and if you are sharing with anyone else. According to the ONS, the average rent in 2022 for a one-bedroom flat across London is £283 per week but £110 if you are in a flatshare. It also means you would have to think about energy bills, which will average out to £2500 per year, on average use, until April, when government support abruptly ends. You can find more information about renting privately on the NUS Student Renters Hub or on the Advice Service's dedicated page on housing and accommodation here.
- What financial support is being offered by the UCL or the Students' Union?
- UCL has set up a Cost-of-Living Crisis Hub which brings together the support and guidance offered by the university to those affected by the rising cost of living. In addition, there is financial support being offered by the Students' Union via its hardship funds and emergency grant. You may also want to speak to the Students' Union's Advice Service or a Student Funding Adviser from UCL.