Student life

What will I be paying for?

Last reviewed: December 2020

If you've never rented before, here are some outgoings you'll probably need to consider!


Work out your budget before viewing houses so you are confident on the amount you and your housemates can spend each month on rent and bills.

It’s a good idea to pay your rent direct to the landlord using a traceable method, such as direct debit, rather than paying in cash.


Utility bills

Your tenancy agreement should state which bills are your responsibility and which, if any, are included as part of your monthly rent. Usually tenants are responsible for the gas, electricity and water bills.

Make sure you keep a note of the readings on your energy meters on the day you move in to ensure you are paying the correct amount and are not charged for the previous tenant’s energy usage. You should do the same when you move out and arrange for the landlord or letting agent to read the meters with you at the same time.

TV licence

A standard colour TV licence is £157.50 a year. You can set up a monthly direct debit to help spread the cost. If you have a joint tenancy you only need to pay for one licence for the house, no matter how many TVs you have. However, if you have separate tenancy agreements you will all need your own TV licences. The law changed on the 1st September 2016 and you must be covered by a TV licence to download or watch BBC programmes on iPlayer – live, catch up or on demand. This applies to any device and provider you use.


Council tax

Full-time students are generally exempt from paying council tax, but you need to let the council know by sending evidence of your student status. More information about council tax can be found on the website.



Whilst away at university, it’s highly likely that you’ll have one or two items of some value, if not more. Whilst your halls may provide insurance cover for your contents whilst inside your room, it’s worth taking the time to understand what is included within this policy – does it cover your phone and laptop? Does it cover accidental damage? Does it cover your items whilst outside your room? And how will you make sure you're still covered when you're out of halls?

Find out more about insurance for your contents and gadgets whilst away at university.

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