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Advice and Counselling Service


Before you start your studies at Queen Mary University of London, you will need to find somewhere to live, unless you are staying at home. There are many options to consider such as cost, location and whether you want to share with others. 

Queen Mary Housing Services can advise you on all the options available to you both before you start your search and if problems arise after you have moved in. 

The NUS has produced useful guidance called Ready to Rent which includes information about looking for accommodation, moving in, and also ending the tenancy. 

Before you contact Queen Mary Housing Services, you might find it useful to read the information below.

Can I get a place in Queen Mary Residences?

Queen Mary has over 2,000 bed spaces to offer new and returning students, most located on or near the Mile End campus.  See the Queen Mary Accommodation section of the Residential Services and Support Website for details of residence fees and how to apply for a place. Not everyone who wants to live in Queen Mary accommodation is eligible. The Applications page of the Residential Services and Support website explains the eligibility criteria. 

Queen Mary also has around 30 places reserved in University of London Intercollegiate Halls for certain groups of students including first-year undergraduates and first-year postgraduates, Pre Masters students, full year associates, IFP and SEFP students.

Can I bring my family?

Queen Mary has five family flats at the Whitechapel campus. As demand is high, you need to apply early for one of these. The Family Accommodation section of the Residential Services and Support website also lists alternative providers of family accommodation.

I can’t get a place in Queen Mary Residences

If you will not be living in Queen Mary residences, you can register with Queen Mary’s Studentpad to look for accommodation with other Queen Mary students or advertise a room to other Queen Mary students. Studentpad can alert you to any possible matches to your requirements. Landlords can also register on Studentpad to advertise rooms and properties once they have signed up to the Queen Mary Code of Practice for landlords. Queen Mary Housing Services also produces a Private Rented Accommodation Housing Guide [PDF 318KB] full of useful advice including where to look for accommodation, inspecting a property, tenancy deposits and disrepair.

The University of London Housing Services also has a flatshare database where you can advertise for flatmates or search for available rooms in existing flatshares. They also produce Housing Guides (to Private Accommodation, to different areas of London, and helpful tips about finding accommodation).

You can consider alternatives such as private rented accommodation, privately built halls or Homestay accommodation. See the Alternative Accommodation section of the Residential Services and Support Website for more information on these options. There are also many hostels in London offering accommodation to students.

I can't afford expensive accommodation

London rents can often be high, making it more and more challenging to afford the cost of living on a student income. Many students are now considering alternatives types of accommodation including:

‘Live in’ jobs

One way of renting cheaply could be to do a ‘live in’ job such as a nanny or au pair where you are provided with accommodation free of charge in return for work you carry out, usually in the accommodation. You can find many online agencies which specialise in au pair and nanny jobs. You would need to carefully research any employment offered and always check the terms and conditions eg. hours, pay, holiday entitlement before signing a contract of employment.

Homeshare/Griffin Community Trust

One way of renting cheaply could be to share accommodation with an older homeowner such as the Homeshare Scheme. In return for your own room and a much reduced rent, you would be expected to perform 10 hours per week light cleaning and shopping duties. 

The Griffin Community Trust offers reasonably priced accommodation to medical students who volunteer a certain number of hours per week to work with older people. 

Property Guardians

You might consider becoming a property guardian where you pay a reduced rent or management fee in return for living in an empty property. You might also need to carry out basic maintenance of the property or other duties as a condition of living there. If you search online, there are many organisations running such schemes but, as with any accommodation, you would need to check the terms and conditions carefully before signing an agreement.

Living at home/Outside of London

Many Queen Mary students have realised that it makes better financial sense for them to live at home/outside of London and commute into university on a daily basis. This is because paying higher travel costs can usually work out much cheaper overall than paying a high monthly rent and lower travel costs.

I have a disability

If you have a disability, for example you are a wheelchair user, contact Queen Mary Housing Services for advice about your housing options. It would also be helpful to contact  to find out about the general pastoral and academic support Queen Mary offers to students with a disability.

I am a carer (or former carer) who needs to move to new accommodation 

Move On Up is a unique flatshare option for young adult carers (18-24) who are looking to live independently in affordable flatshare accommodation, while building life skills and focusing on achieving aspirations. If you were recently a carer but no longer are, you can still be considered for this accommodation. Housing is available in Tower Hamlets and Move On Up have contacted Queen Mary to invite eligible students to apply. For more information please see the Move On Up website and contact the Advice and Counselling Service if you need help applying. 

I have been asked to provide a guarantor but I don't have one

Many private landlords ask you to provide contact details for a UK based guarantor. This is a person, often a parent, who signs a document to agree to pay the rent for you if, for any reason, you cannot pay it. If a landlord requires a guarantor and you don't have one, they may instead request several months’ rent in advance. Housing Hand is a company which offers a rent guarantor service. Be aware that Housing Hand does require you to have a co-signer, who will also sign the contract you have with Housing Hand, however a co-signer doesn't need to meet the same requirements as a UK guarantor and they don’t need to be a UK resident: the Housing Hand website explains what the requirements are of a co-signer.

Can I get local authority housing?

Most students cannot get local authority housing as they do not meet the eligibility criteria. However, if you are homeless and have children or a disability/long term health condition or you are a careleaver, you might qualify. The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places new legal duties on English councils so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have access to meaningful help, irrespective of their priority need status, they need to access each individual caes and create an active plan. 

Get advice from the Shelter website information on homelessness or ring their advice line.  

I have a housing emergency

If you experience a housing crisis and are homeless, for example, if you have been evicted from your accommodation without notice or you are fleeing violence, contact  for advice.

You can also contact your local authority’s homelessness department for assistance. The Homelessness Reduction Act 2017 places new legal duties on English councils so that everyone who is homeless or at risk of homelessness will have access to meaningful help, irrespective of their priority need status,- use the tool on the website to find your local authority. If you are homeless outside of office hours, contact your nearest police station. 

You can also consider arranging temporary accommodation with a shortstay provider or a hostel or a hotel.

My family would like to visit me – where can they stay?

If your family would like to visit you for a few days or a few weeks, the Residential Services and Support website lists a number of shortstay accommodation providers and hotels

I am having problems in my Queen Mary accommodation

If you are having problems in your Queen Mary accommodation, first read the information in the Queen Mary Residents Handbook. If you cannot find the answer to your query in the handbook, contact Residential Support in the Housing Hub, Westfield Way on the Mile End campus.

I am having problems in my privately rented accommodation

If you live in privately rented accommodation and are experiencing problems, contact Queen Mary Housing Services. For example if you have issues with disrepair or mice or bedbugs, Queen Mary Housing Services may be able to liaise with your landlord or with Tower Hamlets Council departments such as the Environmental Health team to resolve issues.

If, however, you are having financial problems such as not being able to pay your rent, contact a Welfare Adviser  as we can check any funding you may be entitled to, consider your eligibility for hardship funds and help you with budgeting.  

If you want to move into private rented accommodation but are worried about how you can pay the deposit or rent, contact a Welfare Adviser .

If you are having problems getting your housing deposit back, see our Tenancy Scheme Deposit webpage for advice.

The Advice and Counselling Service’s Housing Advice webpage explains who you can contact depending on what your housing query is.

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