Housing Expenses

Before you find housing, it’s important to know what types of expenses to expect and what you can work with. Here are some tips on figuring out your outgoings.

Housing Allowance

The housing allowance is approximately £175/week.

Per calendar month (pcm) rent calculation:
Multiply your weekly rent by 52 (number of weeks/year), then divide by 12 (number of months/year).
Formula: [weekly rent figure] x 52 ÷ 12 = [monthly rent figure]
Example: £175 x 52 ÷ 12 = £758.33


The cost of your deposit is not factored into your housing allowance. You are expected to cover this with your own funds.

Many landlords operate under the Tenancy Deposit Scheme, a scheme put in place by the Housing Act of 2004 to protect the interests of tenants (not landlords). Under the scheme, your deposit is held by a third party, and if there are charges that you don’t agree with, that third party deposit agency will make an independent ruling. If your landlord uses the TDS, you will have to wait approximately 2 weeks until your deposit is returned. Your landlord will probably need to make a bank transfer to return the deposit to your account.

Please note that students in pre-arranged housing also have to wait until they have returned to the US before their deposits are returned as this system is becoming more widespread.

Council Tax

Council tax is a universal tax paid by every adult in the UK, similar to property tax in the US. The rate depends on where you live, but £100 a month per household is a rough estimate.

As a short term student in the UK, you are liable for the council tax on your property unless it is already being covered in your rent. Whether or not you are required to pay currently varies council by council, but please note that it is becoming increasingly difficult to get an exemption. However, it is always worth trying, so make sure to visit the Program Office to obtain a Council Tax Exemption Letter. The council may waive the tax, but we cannot guarantee this.

When negotiating your rent, factor in council tax as an additional cost. If you’re lucky and the tax is waived, you’ll have extra money in your pocket at the end of the semester!

Utility Bills

In most cases, utility bills will be included in the monthly rent (or weekly rate). However, some providers will separate the rent from the utilities. Some things you may need to pay for, in such cases, are electricity, gas, water etc.

UK averages for energy and water are as shown below.

1-2 bed flat 3-4 bed flat 4-5 bed house
Gas £45 £70 £80
Electricity £55 £65 £85
Water £35 £40 £45

TV License
If you use a television, you must have a TV License. You are responsible for paying for and obtaining your TV License, which is currently £145.50 for one year unless this is provided by the landlord. Failure to produce a TV licence when requested by the licensing authority could incur a fine of up to £1,000.

Internet Access
It is difficult to approximate cost for this as there are always different deals out there and this is ever changing. The closest guess would be about £20/month.