You’ve secured your university place in Clearing, and now you’re searching for your new digs. But how on earth do you find somewhere to live? 

When it comes to clearing, the majority of accommodation provided by the university will probably be booked already. Fortunately, there are a range of private-sector housing options for you to choose from (so you don’t need to start panicking yet!). 

Before we go into detail about the housing options available, there are two main categories you should familiarise yourself with when deciding where to live:

  • Private student halls - also known as Purpose-Built Student Accommodation (PBSA).
  • Shared student housing - also known as a House of Multiple Occupancy (HMO).

If you already know what you’re looking for, you can start your accommodation search below. For those who are still unsure of where to live, we’ve put together a quick explanation of the differences between each accommodation type and their pros/cons.

Private Student Halls

If you’re looking for the University Halls experience, but you cannot secure a room, then private student halls is the best choice. They’re generally a similar setup to university halls (sometimes even better), but they’re provided by an independent company rather than a university.

Private student halls are tailor-made student living complexes, and they're becoming more and more popular across the UK. You can expect some fantastic amenities such as onsite gyms, flat screen TVs and other luxuries.

You'll mainly find them in big cities where there are multiple universities in one place. They're particularly popular with clearing students who want the university halls lifestyle and want a similar experience.

  • Higher quality of living: halls are usually much better equipped than housing.
  • Bills included: bills are included in the total rent price, so you don't have the hassle of sorting them out.
  • Sociable living: you’ll be living near hundreds of students so it’ll be very easy to meet new people.
  • Easy introduction to renting: All you need to do is pay a monthly bill to live in a hall which will cover everything.

  • Price: you may end up paying a bit more to live in a halls compared to a student house - but you should factor in that you will have access to onsite amenities and bills are included.
  • Flatmates: you’re assigned a room within the hall, so you won’t have much choice on who you live with.

Shared Student Houses

If you’re looking for cost-effective independent living, private student housing might be the better choice for you. 

It might be a little confusing when searching for this type of living, as it's referred to in different ways: shared student housing, private student housing, privately rented accommodation, private house share, house of multiple occupancy - the list goes on. But one thing to remember is that they all mean exactly the same thing. 

A private student house is as the name suggests: a residential property, owned by a private landlord and rented by students. You’ll find that these properties usually have three, four or five bedrooms and you may be able to secure a room as an individual. Some landlords may request that you are part of a group to secure the whole house, so you may need to get together with some housemates before you book.


  • Flexibility: there’s a wide range of properties on the market, packed with different living options to suit exactly what you’re looking for.
  • Independence: you're in charge of where you’d like to live and with who you're living with.
  • Local area: student houses are usually in student-specific areas within your university city, so you won’t struggle to meet new people.
  • Accommodation suited to your budget: you can find a house to suit your budget and it's often cheaper than halls.


  • Managing bills: you'll need to budget for the different types of bills, especially if you've never lived away from home before.
  • Dealing with admin: you'll be dealing directly with a landlord or letting agent, bills companies and the council.
  • Distance to university: you may find yourself further away from the main university campus compared to halls.
Sound like something you’re interested in? Find out what it’s like to live in a shared house!

If you’re still unsure where you’d like to live, you should check out our in-depth comparison of halls of residence, private student halls and shared student houses. You should also check out our tips for finding student accommodation to make sure you choose the best place for you!