Finding Your Own Accommodation

Making your own arrangements

Some students prefer to find their own accommodation in Bristol. It is really important when arranging your own accommodation to check what is included. We also recommend you read the pros and cons of living in your own accommodation.


  • You can come and go when you want, and not have to worry about letting a host family know that you are going to be late.
  • You have the independence and freedom to decide what you want to eat, and can choose your own mealtimes.
  • You can decide when and for how long the heating is turned on.
  • You can do the cleaning as and when you choose. Or even pay for a cleaner!
  • There will be no school rules to follow.
  • You can normally invite as many guests to your accommodation, as late as you like and for as long as you like.


  • Most privately organised accommodation has a minimum rental of 6 months.
  • There will be extra bills to pay other than your rent. Gas, Electricity, Water, Council Tax and Internet are unlikely to be included in your rent.
  • If you choose an ‘unfurnished’ accommodation you will have to buy furniture for the accommodation.
  • If you have a TV you will also need to buy a TV licence.
  • You will miss out on speaking with native English speakers in a homestay.
  • It could be quite lonely. The larger residences have lots of students from all over the world living there, so they are a sociable place to live.


If you make your own arrangements, it is most likely that bills will not be included with your rent - so you will have to pay these bills and your rent. You normally get bills every month or every 3 months.

Council tax

Always check with the landlord how much Council Tax you must pay - it is sometimes a shock!  You can find more information about Council Tax below.

TV Licence

If you are living in private accommodation and have a television, then you will need to buy a television licence; for more information click the button below. The cost per year is £154.50 in 2019 which can be paid in full or over several months. Payment can be made by direct debit here, by cheque or in cash at any local pay point. TV licensing in the UK is strict and if you don’t have a licence you could be fined a maximum of £1,000. 

Other bills

  • Gas / Electricity
  • Internet / Telephone provision
  • Any parking permits you may require
  • Etc…

Deposits, fees and rent

Please also remember when you rent your own apartment/house, you will have to pay a deposit and probably also agency fees.

You will also have to pay the rent in advance. Make sure you find out how much it is before you sign a contract. Remember that contracts are legal documents. Be careful. Check everything before you sign. Of course, you can ask the school for advice.

Furnishings and equipment

It is also important to check whether the accommodation is furnished, and whether other equipment is provided or you will need to bring/use your own; for example:

Example of furnishings and equipment
  • Furniture
  • Furnished means that furniture (such as bed, drawers, etc.) is included
    Unfurnished is without any furniture
  • White goods (i.e. appliances such as a washing-machine, etc.)
    Semi-furnished means that white goods will be provided, but other furniture will not be – you will need to check what is and what is not included to be sure!
  • Cutlery (knives, forks, spoons)
  • Crockery (cups, plates, dishes etc)
  • Cooking equipment (such as pots and pans)
  • Bedding
  • Towels
  • Etc…

Scams and dishonest landlords

If you are searching for accommodation independently, please be careful. Some landlords are dishonest. They might try to ‘steal’ your money.

Never give out any bank details, or send money before you have viewed the property and signed a contract. Even if the person seems nice, or genuine and tells you this is normal – it is not!

Do not sign a contract if you are unsure of anything written in it or you are worried about anything it says.  You can bring your copy into school and ask one of the office staff or your teachers for advice.

Useful contacts

*Please note that ELC has no formal arrangements with any companies/sites listed on our website, so you must be careful as we are not responsible for the quality of the accommodation or the service provided. Please see below a list of agencies and useful contacts which may help you.

Websites (see below) and newspapers often offer slightly cheaper student accommodation in shared houses and apartments. Agencies usually offer more expensive, higher quality accommodation, often suitable for families or couples. Contracts are usually for a minimum period of  six months or more.

A really good and comprehensive accommodation website is Right Move.
You need to select the area (e.g. Clifton) and how far you are prepared to live (e.g. within 1 mile), how many bedrooms you want and the price maximum you are prepared to pay. Always check that the property is fully furnished.


Students of ELC Bristol can use a discount code for Clifton Short Lets : ELCBRIS. Please put this code into the 'promotion code' box on the booking page to receive a 10% discount on your booking. 

Clifton Short Lets are an option if you need somewhere to stay for more than a few days. Rooms are about 5-10 minutes walk from both the school and the city centre.

AgencyAddressTelephone No.Website
Andrews158 Whiteladies Road, BS8 2XZ+44 (0)117 9732551
Clifton Short Lets5 Westbourne Place, BS8 1RZ+44 (0)117 9237947
DIGSTriangle South, BS8 1EY+44 (0)117 9308750
Flatline182 Whiteladies Road, BS8 2XU+44 (0)117 9732004
Romans21 Princess Victoria Street, BS8 4BX+44 (0)117 9706119

Student Accommodation Websites

Please note that ELC has no formal arrangements with any companies/sites listed on our website, so you must be careful as we are not responsible for the quality of the accommodation or the service provided.

Other websites
    Gumtree is a website where people advertise all sorts of things. There is a section for Property, you can then choose Rent or Share (or Sale, i.e. buy), and set the location range - if you set the location to Bristol BS8, it will show properties in and around the Clifton area where the school is located.
    Airbnb is a website where people advertise rooms to rent in their house, or their whole apartment. In the section where do you want to go? enter Bristol BS8 - this is the Clifton area where the school is located.
Serviced apartments

These are a great option for people who like the service expected from a top class hotel but prefer the comforts of a home and want to be able to cook for themselves whenever they choose.   

Prices vary but we suggest that you say you are a student, or visiting a student, at the English Language Centre Bristol - if you are lucky, you might get a special price!