This page is intended to answer some of the most common questions we have been asked by letting agents. If your question has not been answered here, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
1. Who is ULHS?
University of London Housing Services (ULHS) is a department of the University of London, dealing with accommodation for students. The department has several teams, dealing with private housing, the Intercollegiate Halls and the university-run Student Homes (more about these departments here).
More information about the team responsible for private housing can be found here.
Our primary aim is to help students living in the private sector; whether through providing a housing database in order that they can find somewhere to live, giving talks and providing guidance on how to find somewhere to live, or providing legal advice.
We’re able to provide support to students from all of the universities who subscribe to our service. In total, 140,000 students are eligible to use the service.
2. How does the scheme work?
Details of how to register can be found here.
3. What are the benefits for Letting Agents?
The main benefit of the scheme is unlimited property listings, allowing agents to upload as many properties as they would like.
In addition, all registered agents will receive an invite to our annual Housing Fair held in the spring of each year. Only registered agents are able to exhibit at the fair, which has attracted over 2000 students in recent years. All registered agents will be contacted in early 2015 with more information on the event and stall prices.
Furthermore, as a registered agent, you will be affiliated with the largest university student accommodation office in London. You will receive a public listing on our website, and members of the standard and premium membership tiers are invited to use our logos on their website and in publicity materials.
4. Letting to students; what do they look for?
The student lettings market is as diverse as any other section of the private rented sector in London. With almost 375,000 students studying in London at the last count, with the majority renting their accommodation, they form a large part of the private rented sector.
As with other sectors of the market, the student market’s demands are varied. As ever, the demand for affordable accommodation is very strong, and is something which we continue to look for. There is also a growing market for higher end accommodation, particularly among international students.
It’s impossible to say exactly what the student market looks for, with the importance of factors such as price, location and quality varying from person to person.
Affordable accommodation is always in demand, particularly as the cost of living is increasing faster than income from student loans and other income. Below is a table showing the 20 most popular postcodes and the average prices in each.
Average Rent Price
Percent of People Surveyed
Prices are per person, per room excluding bills.
This information is provided as a guideline of averages, and isn’t intended as a definitive guide.
We’re asked often where our students live. As we cover various institutions, the students who are able to use our services tend to live all over London. Most of our colleges are based in central London, so locations with good transport links will always be popular. Some of our constituent colleges also have campuses in South-West and South-East London.
We have students approaching us for help looking for all sorts of accommodation. With an average budget, the majority would be looking either at entire rented houses and flats to share with others, or individual rooms in shared houses. Those with higher budgets also tend to be interested in studio flats. Students expectations of quality vary, but most will be aware that quality varies depending on price and location.
Expectations of contract length vary from student to student. Some will prefer a longer contract for security, with others preferring shorter contracts. We find that many like to have the option of a break clause.
5. When should I be advertising properties?
Our service operates all year round, and you can add properties at any time. We find that students use our service throughout, as quite a few will move during the year. There are also students studying postgraduate courses which do not stick to a September start date.
Our busiest period is the summer. The first date on which properties for the summer onwards are displayed on our site is the date of the Housing Fair event in early May. From that point, demand increases with the highest demand in August and September, following which demand decreases again.
6. Why let to students?
Contrary to some stereotypes, students are a great group of tenants to work with. Similar in many ways to other groups of tenants such as young professionals, they benefit from being intelligent and conscientious. With tuition fees now up to £9000 per year, students are motivated to attain the highest grades possible, and don’t carry the same reputation as they used to. Through our programme of talks, stalls and distributing information at our member institutions, we aim to educate student tenants on their rights and responsibilities; this means that they are well-informed about their obligations and responsibilities.
Many students will be studying on three year courses, which means that it is not uncommon for groups of student tenants to remain in a property for longer than 12 months. Indeed, some will choose to remain after graduation, meaning that there is potential to build a strong relationship with long-term tenants.
In addition, demand is always strong. With 140,000 students studying at our colleges, all of whom can access our database, it is likely that even during quiet periods there will still be some demand for certain types of properties.
7. Complaints against agents
If a student has a complaint about a registered agent, we will always take the time to speak to the student and offer advice. Where the situation requires, we may then need to take action against the agent. In most cases, complaints by students can be resolved by speaking to the agent directly. In cases where the matter is too serious, or the agent does not respond appropriately, we will then consider suspending the agent. If we decide on this, we will inform you in writing of the reason for the suspension and the amount of time before the agent can reapply. Should the agent be unhappy with the reason for this, they are welcome to complain through our official complaints procedure. We may also need to pursue the complaint further through other means, such as through a redress scheme/ombudsman, Trading Standards or court.
8. Advertising opportunities
We offer advertising on our website and in emails to students. The rate card is published annually in Autumn. There are also opportunities to sponsor some of our events, such as the Landlord Forum, Flatmate Finder Event and Housing Fair.