my-cumbria-logo, my-cumbria-logo Toggle navigation

The University has a range of accommodation options for international students. 

The Accommodation Services team are committed to helping you find accommodation that best suits your needs, budget and lifestyle. Our dedicated team are responsible for managing University Accommodation both on and off campus, offering multiple facilities and room type options. 

You can find information about the Student Halls on the Accommodation website. Click on the campus (Ambleside, Carlisle, or Lancaster) to see prices or to send an enquiry.



  • Book your accommodation

    You can not book accommodation at the University of Cumbria until you have firmly accepted your offer.

    If you would like to apply for student accommodation in Halls of Residence, please check what is available on the Accommodation website. Click on the campus (AmblesideCarlisleLancaster) to see prices or to send an enquiry.

    Once you have accepted your offer at the University of Cumbria you can apply for accommodation. If you would like to apply for accommodation in halls you will need to submit an application via our online portal. You should have received the link in your acceptance email but if you have not received this please contact the International Admissions team

  • Looking for private accommodation

    If you are searching for private accommodation, a good place to start is Cumbria Student Pad for private accommodation in Ambleside, Carlisle and Lancaster. Through partnership with Lancaster University, you can also try the Lancaster University Homes website.
    It is important that your private accommodation is within a 1 hour commute from your campus of study. Please use Google Maps to check the distance.
    Other useful links to search for private accommodation:
    Rightmove –
    Zoopla –
    Open Rent –
    Gumtree –
    Spareroom -
  • Looking for family accommodation

    Unfortunately, we are unable to offer family accommodation. 

    We do however partner with Lancaster University to provide an accreditation scheme for student housing in Lancaster, this scheme is called Lancaster University Homes.  You can use the Lancaster University Homes website to identify approved landlords and choose from a selection of houses, apartments and studios.  When you land on the home page you should select the “Everything” tab, this will then take you to a page where you can apply filters to refine your search by using the “suitable for” filters in the menu on the left hand side of the page.  There is usually a good range of options of accommodation for couples, however, please note that due to housing regulations in the UK most student landlords do not offer family accommodation. 

    Therefore, if you require family accommodation it is likely that you will need to look in the private sector. Family accommodation is likely to cost at least £700 per month.  There are a number of letting agents in the Lancaster area and we have listed links to local agents, and their contact telephone numbers below: 


    Mighty House  Telephone number:  +44 (0)1524 548 888 

    Entwistle Green Telephone number +44 (0)1524 566039   

    JDG Sales and Lettings Telephone number +44 (0)1524 843322 

    Northwood  Telephone number +44 (0)1524 590490  


  • Useful vocabulary

    Finding a new place to live when you go away to university is stressful. It becomes even more difficult when you need to learn new vocabulary to describe accommodation. Here’s a list of useful words and expressions: 

    Word / expression 



    A feature or service that makes a place pleasant, comfortable, or easy to live in. For example – dining hall, cafes, gym. 


    Fridge, washing machine, microwave. 

    bed linen 

    Sheets and pillowcases for a bed. 

    bills / utilities included (inc) 

    The cost of gas, water, electricity and maybe internet are included in the rent. You don’t need to pay extra for them.   

    communal bathroom 

    A bathroom that is shared by a group of people living together. 

    deposit  / security deposit 

    Money that is given as the first part of a larger payment. This is to cover any unpaid rent or damage to the property. 


    A bedroom that can fit a double bed in it.  

    energy charges 

    Cost of gas, water, and electricity. 


    A private bathroom that is joined to a bedroom. 


    A place, building, or equipment used for a particular purpose or activity. For example – gym, laundry room. 

    fully furnished 

    Accommodation that includes all the furniture. 


    This is someone else who agrees to pay your rent if you don’t pay. This person can be a parent, relative or friend. 


    The person who owns the property and who you pay rent to.  

    laundry room 

    A room for washing and drying clothes. 


    A legal agreement between the tenant and landlord. 

    non-refundable deposit 

    The deposit you paid will not be returned to you at the end of the contract. 

    private bedroom 

    A bedroom that you don’t share with anyone else. 

    private halls 

    Like university halls of residence but these are not on campus. They are also more expensive and usually a better standard. 


    Made to look new again after being repaired, painted, and cleaned. 

    refundable deposit 

    The deposit you paid will be returned to you at the end of the contract. 


    A building that has been repaired and improved. 


    Someone you share a room or a flat with. In the UK the more common expression is housemate or flatmate.  


    A shared kitchen for you to cook your meals. 


    A small flat/apartment where the bedroom, living room and kitchen are in the same room.  


    An area where people live that is outside the city centre. 


    The person who is paying money to live in the accommodation. 


    Something you use to dry your body after a shower. 


    Accommodation that does not have any furniture. 


    Gas, electricity, and water bills.  

    walk-in shower 

    A shower that is large enough to walk into.  


    A small room that only has a toilet and a hand basin in it.  

  • Finding accommodation advice

    If you have not yet arrived in the UK you are strongly advised not to travel with your family unless you have found suitable long-term accommodation.  Short-stay accommodation tends to be very expensive and is also difficult to find, particularly as a family.  Once in the UK, if you are unable to secure family accommodation quickly, having to stay in short-stay accommodation will have a serious negative impact on your finances.  

    The advice below details alternative ways to search and hopefully find family housing for students studying in Cumbria.

    If you have been unable to find accommodation through the university or StudentPad website we advise you to use alternative popular search engines to look for accommodation outside of the area in which you are studying (but within 1 hours commute). This should provide more search results and although it is further from the University campuses, you should have more success in finding accommodation in these areas.

    The most popular websites for finding accommodation in the private rented sector are:

    Rightmove –
    Zoopla –
    Open Rent –
    Gumtree –

    Other considerations when looking for accommodation

    Although it might be disappointing not to be able to find accommodation close to your university, it is important to find more permanent accommodation so you can settle in to your studies quickly.  This is likely to mean living in an area which could be located a significant distance from your university.  Please consider: 

    • If you are a Postgraduate student you may find that you have a low number of contact hours at University and this would therefore limit the days you would need to commute in to campus. This would enable you to look further afield for your accommodation.
    • When you are looking in the non-student private rented sector most rental properties are likely to be unfurnished. This will mean you will need to find furniture for the property such as beds, sofas, a desk etc.  There are a number of outlets where you will be able to find affordable secondhand furniture, which you will then be able to sell or donate when you leave the UK.  You should also look in to whether any white goods are provided, such as a fridge, washing machine etc. 
    • You could be asked for a guarantor, or a large deposit, some landlords will ask for 3-6 months’ rent in advance if you are unable to pass a credit check.
    • Please bear in mind that the cost of utility bills has increased greatly in the last 12 months. Further increases are expected in January 2023. Always ensure you are able to meet the cost of these bills as well as your rent.
    • Warning: There have been several incidences of students being victims of contract scams.  This has involved signing contracts for properties that don't exist and sending and losing money after trying to secure a property. 

    Types of Accommodation Available for Students with Families

    Accommodation suitable for you and your family is likely to be of one of these types:

    A house may be detached, ie a stand-alone building; it may be semi-detached, one of a pair of houses which together form a single building; it may be terraced, one of a number of houses which each share a side wall with the neighbouring house(s), together forming a row of houses in a single building; or they may be back-to-back, where the house, as well as being terraced, shares its back wall with the house behind.

    Self-contained apartments / flats are generally arranged over a single floor within a larger building containing similar units. None of the facilities in a self-contained flat are shared: it should have its own bathroom, toilet and kitchen, in addition to bedrooms.

    Maisonettes are a type of self-contained apartment in which, generally, the rooms are laid out over two floors and which have their own exterior entrance.

    A bedsit is a room which contains some form of self-contained amenity, normally a small kitchen or separate washing facility. Bathrooms and toilets are usually shared with other residents. Bedsits are usually for one person, but larger ones may be suitable for a couple. They account for only a small part of the accommodation for students in Leeds.

    A studio flat will typically have a kitchen-diner with sleeping accommodation fully integrated into the living space, plus a separate bathroom / WC. Although usually for one person, larger studio flats may be suitable for a couple. You need to be aware that studio flats are normally the most expensive type of accommodation available to students and you should think seriously about the cost before renting.

    The type of contract you will be invited to sign is unlikely to vary according to the type of provider and the type of accommodation you choose – the contract that the vast majority of students have is called an Assured Shorthold Tenancy. There is some variability on whether or not utility costs are included. (Utility costs are the costs for the energy you use, and the provision of water and internet services.) Always check before signing anything. For most accommodation let by private landlords, water charges are included. You will need to check whether internet services are included as part of the offer: whether these are included in the rent; or whether it is up to you to sort out and pay for this service with an internet provider directly.

    See the section on Costs for more information on money – rent, bills and hidden costs.

    Property standards

    If you can always look to rent with an accredited landlord.

    In Cumbria, as elsewhere, standards in rented accommodation are variable, so you need to be alert to sub-standard properties, amenities, fixtures and fittings when you are looking for somewhere to live. If problems emerge once you have moved in and the landlord is reluctant or slow to put things rights, you should think about contacting the Council, which is the statutory authority for these purposes.

  • Cost - Rent and bills

    Rent Levels

    It's difficult to generalise about what you can expect to pay in rent. You’ll need to look carefully at a number of adverts online to get an idea of rent levels in particular areas or streets. If you're on a budget, try doing a property search by rent level. Rents are set by owners who take into account 'market forces'. In theory, the better the quality of the property and the better the location of the house, the higher the rent. Please treat the information below with caution because with the current level of demand for family accommodation higher than supply many of these factors will not be relevant.

    But this is complicated by the following factors:

    • There are always some bargains
    • There are always some houses which are overpriced
    • If you are looking in the mainstream private rented sector for students, the time of year and the pressure on the student housing market affect rent levels
    • Owners are willing to accept lower weekly rent levels in the student market, if the letting period is for a complete year
    • Average rents are useful in providing a rough guide to student housing costs, but remember: rent levels should be based on the quality of each individual property. It's also worth bearing in mind that if you're paying rent monthly, this is slightly more than four weeks' rent.

    Scope for Negotiating on Rent

    Some owners will vary rent levels and offer to improve the house or install more facilities. Whatever is agreed should be written down and signed by the owner, so there is no room for 'misunderstandings' or 'confusion' later. Often their willingness to negotiate will be determined by overall market conditions.As family accommodation is in short supply the liklihood is that this will give you less room to negotiate on rent but you should still try or ask for additional/ new items in the property.

    Many returning students are away from their university town over the summer and are reluctant to pay “dead rent” on time not spent in their accommodation. Standard contracts for private student rented housing – running from 1 July to the following 30 June – treat the summer months no differently to other months. What many students want to know is whether there are contracts available which make summer concessions or whether there is any scope for negotiating full rent down for the weeks during which they are going to be absent over the summer.

    Some owners offer summer rent concessions where tenants have a rent-free period or pay half rent for July and August. These concessions are made clear 'up-front' by the owner. If you are not offered one, it's always worth trying to negotiate with the owner to get a rent-free period.


    Hidden Costs (Not Covered in the Rent)

    We are aware that, even more than for many other students, students with families are anxious about hidden costs, in particular how high their fuel bills are going to be if they are not included in the rent.

    In the private sector, rent does not normally cover gas and electricity and never covers telephone bills. For gas and electricity, value-for-money heating and hot water can make a big difference to your bills. There are two other important areas where you need to be clear what the position is for a particular property: water charges and Council Tax.

    If you are renting from a university or college, it is likely that energy charges are included in your rent. But you'll need to check, as this is by no means always the case. Water charges are always included in the rent in universities and colleges.

    1) Heating

    You need to look at what you're getting for your money.

    • A good quality, well-heated house (particularly where the heating is a recently installed system) will be much cheaper to run than a lower-priced property in poor condition with electric heating
    • Large rooms are more expensive to heat than smaller rooms
    • Instant hot water is also something to look out for: not only does it give you hot water on-tap whenever you need it (in contrast with a tank system) but it means that you're not paying to heat water you don't use.
    • Some houses that look cheap can turn out to be expensive when you add up the running costs. Others that may look more expensive could end up costing you less.
    • Gas-fired central heating with instant hot water is common in properties in Cumbria. However unstable rises in energy costs in the UK makes it difficult to give an approximate cost of this.
    • Some owners have efficient gas combi central heating and if the house is also well insulated, this will reduce your costs.
    • Other owners may include a washer or dryer in with the rent.

    2) Water Charges

    Some owners include water charges within the rent; others exclude them. These then become the responsibility of the tenants. The message is: if it's not clear from the agreement, ask

    3) Council Tax

    Student families may or may not be liable for Council Tax, depending on the status of family members. Please note that anyone over 18 who is not a student will have to pay Council Tax. The amount is dependent on the property taken. Ask the landlord or letting agent which band the property is in, then check on the Council’s Council Tax web pages for the amount due.  If there is only one person over 18 in the household, a 25 per cent reduction is applied. If in doubt, you should seek advice from your local Council Tax office, your Students' Union Welfare Office or your Accommodation Service Office.

    Lancashire Council (for Lancaster)   Cumbria Council (for Ambleside and Carlisle)


    Upfront Payments (Other than Rent).


    Owners will expect you to pay a deposit when you sign on the dotted line. If you are renting from a university or college there may well not be a deposit, but remember: they are in a position to bill you for any damage as a member of their institution. 


    You may be asked to supply a guarantor as part of your contract signing process.  A guarantor is someone who will guarantee that your rent is paid if you do not.  There is a legal requirement for a guarantee agreement to be in writing. The agreement sets out the guarantor's legal obligations.  In most cases the guarantor needs to be UK based.  This can cause problems for international students.  If you can't get a guarantor who lives in the UK, you might be asked to pay more rent in advance.   If you are unable to do this you may wish to use a rent guarantor service. 

    Tenant Fees Act 2019 and Consumer Rights Act 2015

    Following the introduction of the Tenant Fees Act in 2019 all upfront fees and charges related to the signing of a tenancy agreement were abolished.  

    The Consumer Rights Act 2015 looked to update the law on unfair terms in consumer contracts; legislation that also extends to tenancy agreements.  The Act also contains provisions requiring letting agents to publicise their fees.   The legislation encourages transparency, fairness and reasonableness. The new law makes it easier for the average consumer to learn and understand their rights. The strengthening and development of the unfair contract terms provisions is a positive step in dealing with the imbalance in resources and knowledge between tenants and landlords.  


    Council Tax

    What it’s For

    Local authorities – including Lancashire and Cumbria Councils – collect Council Tax to help fund local services including education, police, fire and refuse collection. The charge is based on the value of the property as determined by the authorities according to a set of value bands. Council Tax is billed on an annual basis, but is payable in instalments for ten months of the year (April to January).

    Indicative Level of Full Cost

    If you are liable for Council Tax without any discount, the typical annual bill for a household is currently somewhere around £800 - £1,300 (ie £80 - £130 for each of the ten months it is payable), depending on how the authorities have valued the property you are living in. Because Council Tax is significant enough to have a real impact on your budget, you are advised to research in advance whether you and your family would be liable for Council Tax payments.

    Lancashire Council (for Lancaster)   Cumbria Council (for Ambleside and Carlisle)

    Possible Exemptions from Paying Council Tax

    There are some exemptions to liability for the tax, in full or in part. Generally, full-time students are eligible for Council Tax exemptions or discounts. For full-time students sharing accommodation exclusively with other full-time students this is usually straightforward. However, the position for full-time students living with their families is more complicated. Your eligibility for Council Tax exemption/discount will be determined by your student and visa status (and that of your partner – and co-resident dependants if they reach the age of 18 while in the UK), course duration, number of study hours per week and your living arrangements. To find out more about eligibility and how to make an online claim for exemption/discount, visit the Council’s web pages. If you are unsure about the guidance given, contact the Council and speak to someone who can help.

    Lancashire Council (for Lancaster)   Cumbria Council (for Ambleside and Carlisle)


    If you are liable for Council Tax and you are struggling to pay the bill, contact your Students’ Union. It is important that you don't ignore a Council Tax letter as there may be legal implications.

    It is your responsibility to inform the Council if your circumstances change and you are no longer a full-time student or your living arrangements change. There could be legal implications if you fail to notify the council of any changes. 

See the International Student support page or the International Student Guide for more support specific to International Students.

Contact the Accommodation team using the Student Enquiry Point.

Edit page