How to avoid housing scams in your search for student accommodation

A hand holding a bunch of keys, in front of a white front door with the handle a
A hand holding a bunch of keys, in front of a white front door with the handle and lock visible
If you suspect that potential housing could be a scam, you are encouraged to contact the UCL Crime Prevention and Personal Safety team or the University of London Housing Service before sending any money.

At UCL, we understand the concern around securing safe, reliable, and legitimate accommodation. As your housing search begins, you will see plenty of great options. However, it is important to keep your wits about you in the London housing market!  

With the rate of scams across the housing market rising, it is important to understand the resources available to you as a UCL student and to be able to recognise trusted, legitimate places for long and short-term accommodation. 

To assist you throughout this process, we have compiled a comprehensive list of resources to help you secure trustworthy housing outside of UCL Accommodation.  

UCL is committed to understanding your worries in a safe, non-judgemental environment. If something in your housing search doesn’t feel right at any point you should raise your concerns with the support network available to you.   

UCL Crime Prevention and Personal Safety  

The Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Team will support you with any concerns you may have regarding your safety and security.  

Sophie Bimson, Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Advisor, has stated that:  

"At UCL, my team and I provide students with the highest quality care and support for their personal safety and security. No matter the problem, big or small, we will be available at any stage to assist in your concerns". 

Any issues raised by UCL students will be addressed in a non-judgemental, confidential, and supportive way. You can contact the UCL Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Team to discuss your situation or concerns. The team will be able to inform you of the options available to you, whilst giving advice to keep you safe. 

University of London Housing Service 

The University of London Housing Service , offers guidance on private housing providers and portals, options for short stay accommodation in London, as well as information about the Rent Guarantor Scheme. 

The University of London Housing Service also offers legal advice with an experienced team of housing advisors offering appointments exclusively to students at UCL.  

Students’ Union UCL 

Students’ Union UCL offers a range of resources for students.  

The Advice Service for Housing and Accommodation offers free and confidential advice on housing matters. They can also advise on what to look out for in a tenancy agreement and can even check your housing contract for you before you sign. 

The Flatmate finder can be used to find other UCL students to live with, or spare rooms listed by other UCL students. Perfect if you are looking for a room or a new flatmate. 

The team are available throughout the summer and academic year to offer advice to students on how to secure private accommodation. Check out the Students’ Union UCL Guide to Accommodation to find out more information on private housing and finding accommodation for the next academic year.  

Housing Advice for UCL Students video 

Current UCL students George and Erik tell us about their experiences renting privately in London. This podcast covers the full journey of privately renting, from thinking about who you might live with all the way through to moving out and tips on getting your deposit back! 

The Housing Advice for UCL Students video is available on the UCL Accommodation YouTube channel. 

Alternative Accommodation   

UCL Accommodation is pleased to provide a webpage that highlights alternative accommodation options to students who are looking for housing outside of UCL Accommodation.  

Finding Short Stay Accommodation in London 

The University of London Housing Services offers trusted short stay accommodation. You may need to find short-stay accommodation when you first arrive in London or when leaving UCL Accommodation or private accommodation. 

Find Short Stay Accommodation in London  

Accommodation and Housing Scams 

UCL can provide advice regarding accommodation and housing scams, but there are other money and housing advice websites available with guidance and information on how to be safe and secure while renting accommodation in London.  

Sites such as ’ Which? ’ have partnered with experts in housing markets to provide advice on how to proceed if you have fallen victim to a housing scam.  

Additionally, the London Trading Standards: Lettings agents and property management are working to tackle rogue landlords and letting agents who don’t comply with the law. 

Resources 



Don’t hesitate to seek out guidance from other trusted student accommodation resources, too! You can also contact UCL’s Crime Prevention and Personal Safety Team if you have fallen victim to a scam, your concerns and problems will be handled with complete confidentiality. 

  • University College London, Gower Street, London, WC1E 6BT (0) 20 7679 2000