How to choose the right housemates and housing for you

The Advice Centre team have put together this guide to help you find student housing, and choose the right housemates for you!

If you have any questions, you can contact The Advice Centre. We have advisers trained in housing issues who can offer you independent and impartial advice, and check your housing contract before you sign it. You can contact us on advice@susu.org.

Who to live with

Choosing your housemates can be tricky; you want to live with people you enjoy spending time with, but not everyone will be someone you can happily live alongside.

It’s important that you get to know the people you’ll be living with. You will see the best and worst of your housemates and you need to feel comfortable around them. You can use the SUSU housemate finder tool to help you find housemates or to help you find a place in someone else’s house.  

Here are some things to consider when choosing your housemates:   

Are you studying a similar course?   

Some degrees are more intense than others and will require quieter households. Were you hoping for more parties and socialising, or more study time at home?    

What is their lifestyle like?   

Are they messy or organised? What is their approach to cleaning? These may seem like small details at the start, but this could cause arguments in the future.    


Are you all working towards similar budgets? Do you have similar ideas for how much rent and bills should cost?

The key thing to remember is that if you are living in private accommodation, you’re entering into a legally binding contract, and you will be living with these people for a year. Try as best as you can to get to know one another and see if you make compatible housemates.

Where to live

Where you choose to live will largely depend on which campus you are studying at. If you’re mainly based at Highfield, Avenue or Boldrewood campuses, good places to begin searching are Portswood and Highfield. These areas tend to have lots of student housing due to their location near the campus and local amenities.

For students studying at Winchester, you can live in Southampton and commute to Winchester using the bus or train, but you may also wish to look at accommodation in Winchester. Housing in Winchester is limited and more expensive than Southampton so do think about your budget when searching.

For students based at NOCS, you may prefer more central accommodation such as Southampton City Centre or Ocean Village. As with Winchester, this may be more expensive, but it will be closer to your campus. If you don’t mind a short commute, you could also look at Highfield and Portswood as more budget friendly options.

For those at Southampton General Hospital (SGH), you may find that you do a lot of your studying at Highfield so it can be worth looking at housing in Portswood and Highfield. There is a short commute to SGH from these locations. If most of your work will be at SGH, it may be worth looking for accommodation nearer the hospital. There are plenty of houses available, but they do get taken quickly.

You can search for houses using the SUSU housemate finder tool on our website if you want to find a space in house or find other housemates. You can also contact SUSU Lettings, who have a variety of high-quality properties available. They can help you if you’re searching alone, or if there’s a group of you searching together.

How to rent

Even if you have rented before, it’s important to understand that you are entering into a legally binding contract that you can’t easily back out of, so be sure that when you agree to rent a property that you are happy with it.

The UK Government have put together a guide on How To Rent which helps you to understand the types of tenancy available and what to look for in a property.

A second guide by the UK Government advises you on How To Rent A Safe Home.

Our Advice Centre Housing Support page also has advice on tenant fees, letting agencies and preparing to move into a property. 

Once you’ve found accommodation you are happy with and you are ready to sign an agreement, make sure to have your contract checked by The Advice Centre. We can alert you to any worrying terms and help you to understand your rights and obligations.

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