Some students will spend time outside of London during their course – this includes those on Study Abroad schemes, or medical or dental students on placement or undertaking an intercalated year outside of London.

If that’s you, you might be thinking: will I need to keep paying rent in London?

These are some of our most common queries and questions:

Take a look at our information - we've outlined a range of options for you to consider.

I already have a contract in London but will not be spending the whole year here

One money savvy solution could be to sublet your room – but be careful, not all contracts allow it and you carry additional risks as you become the landlord for the person you are subletting to.

Important to know:

  • Make sure your contract allows subletting and get permission from your landlord. Subletting without permission is a breach of contract and your landlord could evict you and your subtenant
  • Becoming a landlord through subletting means you have the legal obligations of a landlord. For example, you will need to check that your subtenant has the right to rent in the UK. You could be fined if you don’t carry out these checks.
  • You also become responsible for certain repairs to the property but will be limited in what you can realistically carry out due to not being the property owner. This means you are reliant on your landlord fulfilling their obligations but if they do not this could cause problems for you.

An alternative to subletting is assignment. This means that someone takes over your contract through a deed of assignment and this removes your legal liability to the contract.

Important to know:

  • You may be asked to pay a fee for assigning a tenancy but following the Tenant Fees Act 2019 this should not exceed £50. If your landlord or agency charges more than £50, you should ask for evidence to demonstrate that their charges are reasonable (for example, if the costs to them are higher than £50).
  • Make sure you, the landlord, any joint tenants and the new tenant sign a deed of assignment to ensure that you are no longer liable for the contract.
  • If you have a joint tenancy, the other tenants (your flatmates) will need to be happy with the replacement as they will be required to sign the deed of assignment.

Finding someone to sublet or assign my contract to

  • Ask people you know (friends and course mates) who might be looking for housing
  • You could use the Flatmate Finder groups run by the University of London Housing Service and KCL to find other interested students
  • You could advertise on websites such as Spareroom
I am looking for housing in London, but not a full 12-month contract

You could sublet a room from someone
You might find people looking to sublet a room to someone.

Important to know:

  • Check that the landlord who owns the property is aware of the situation
  • Check that your deposit is properly protected. Your landlord should protect this within 30 days of you paying it.

You could take over someone else’s contract (assignment)

Important to know: If you are taking over someone else’s contract as they leave, we advise that you:

  • Make sure your deposit is properly protected. Sometimes outgoing tenants will request that you pay the deposit directly to them, but this can cause problems if your name is not added to the deposit protection scheme.
  • Be especially careful to check that there is no damage to the property, or you could end up paying for the damage they caused if this is not dealt with before you sign the deed of assignment.

You could use a break clause
A contract with a break clause means that you could end your tenancy early. Your contract will give specific requirements for using the break clause, so make sure you read carefully and follow the instructions if you want to end your tenancy.

Important to know: If you have a joint tenancy, all the tenants will need to use the break clause for it to be valid.

Other options

  • Lodging with a landlord can be more flexible than other contract types but check the tenancy agreement to make sure.
  • Be careful with flexible ‘licences’ offered by some landlords and agencies. These can be risky with poor conditions and repairs not carried out, so please contact the Money & Housing advice team for further advice if you are offered one of these contracts.
  • Student accommodation may offer contracts shorter than one year, but the availability is variable – try King’s Residences or private halls; for more information you can also check University of London Housing Services.
I'm ending my tenancy

If you’ve ended your contract through a break clause, assignment, or have simply decided not to renew, there are a few things you need to bear in mind when you leave a property.

We have more detail available on moving out but these are the headlines –

Moving out - key things to know:

  • Get your deposit back: It should be returned to you within 10 days of the tenancy ending. Expect any deductions for damage or non-payment of rent to be explained in writing by your landlord. If you have any issues, get in touch with the Money & Housing advice team.
  • Take pictures to show the state you left the property in and email them to the landlord on the day you leave.
  • Finalise your bills: Switch off the utilities and take photos of the meter readings (electricity / water / gas). You need to provide a forwarding address, close the account with the energy and water providers or let them know you are moving out.
  • Redirect your post!
  • Change your address with your bank, phone, the DVLA, and any companies with whom you have direct debits.
Are there any other resources for information on this?

KCL Advice & Guidance offers:

Flatmate Finder groups:

Student Accommodation:

You can also get advice from outside of King’s from Shelter.