Student Survival Guide: Renting in Bristol

The prospect of moving into your new student accommodation can be full of excitement, however, it’s important to ensure your chosen property is suited to your needs and that you aren’t rushing into any decisions.

So, to help you navigate the myriad options for great accommodation in Bristol, we’ve put together a handy guide filled with all our top tips, tricks, and things to remember.


The location of your student accommodation can make a massive difference to your uni experience. As well as ensuring that it is close to your campus and lecture halls, it’s also important to consider your social calendar, as this will help you to maintain friendships and maximise your involvement with extra-curricular activities. So, you might want to be close to a particular area to take part in sporting or creative activities, or to the city centre to enjoy the nightlife and all the cultural activities that Bristol has to offer.

You may prefer to live outside the city centre in a location that is served by a regular bus route or has plenty of cycle lanes that will allow you to fly by that frustrating rush-hour traffic.

What Areas of Bristol Should I Consider?

City centre properties consistently get snapped up quickly, as residents have everything on their doorstep. Other nearby locations to consider are Redland, Fishponds, Bishopston and St Andrews. Areas to look at outside the city centre include Filton, Bedminster, Southville, Stokes Park and Frenchay.

If you’re less familiar with the city, ask landlords and letting agents about the areas you’re considering to find out whether they are popular amongst students. You may also decide that a cleaner, greener property in one of the many development initiatives appeals to your environmental concerns.

Your Housemates

Thinking about the people you will be living with should help you to get a good idea of the type of property that will suit you best. For example, if you and your housemates want to do lots of socialising, looking for a property with an open-plan layout will give you plenty of communal areas to enjoy together.

It’s also important to make sure that you gel with your housemates and won’t be left to deal with all the cleaning or be financially burdened by anyone who is perhaps less responsible.

One of the best ways to prevent disagreements is to create a set of house rules at the start of your tenancy, which may include:

  • Creating a cleaning rota
  • Asking partners who stay over a lot to contribute to bills
  • Labelling food and drinks
  • Being respectful of each other’s bedrooms
  • Keeping the noise levels down on weekdays

What Does Your Money Get You?

While the cost of bills is sometimes included in the rent, this isn’t typically the case, particularly when renting from a private landlord. So, remember to factor in the cost of things like water, electricity, gas, and Wi-Fi because you may find that a property becomes unaffordable with these added costs.

It’s also worth asking your landlord or letting agent whether there is any furniture included, which will help you to determine whether you need to bring or buy anything specifically to make your living space work for you.

Are Uni Halls Better Than Renting Privately?

Many students choose to live in uni halls for their first year before renting privately during subsequent academic years. However, it is possible to choose one over the other regardless of what year of university you are about to enter. There are pros and cons to both, so it’s worth weighing up your options carefully before making a decision.

Pros of Private Rented Accommodation

  • A more independent experience that is often more affordable than halls
  • You can choose your housemates and tailor your environment to suit your needs
  • You’ll likely have more space

Cons of Private Rented Accommodation

  • You’ll need to carefully budget your finances to cover rent and bills
  • Your landlord will still expect rent to be covered even if one of your housemates leaves
  • You and your housemates are responsible for keeping the property clean and tidy

Know What You’re Looking For As Early As Possible

Finding the right property is much easier when you know what you want, so it’s always worth organising your group of housemates ahead of time and creating a list of must-haves that will help you to grab those early viewing appointments.

The property should be in a good state of repair with no visible mould, which could be a sign that the landlord doesn’t keep up with appropriate maintenance and repairs as they should. Your landlord should always be willing to answer any questions you have, so if you get the impression they aren’t being upfront, this is probably a sign to look elsewhere.

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