If you are coming to study at Sussex and have dependants, you will need to find accommodation for your family in the private-rented sector. Before you arrive, find out where to look, including costs to consider and advice on renting for UK and international students.

Housing advice for families

We are unable to provide University-managed housing (on or off campus) to students who have dependants. If you are coming to study at Sussex and have dependants, you will need to find accommodation for your family outside of the University by renting privately. The University is not able to find this accommodation for you. You can look for accommodation in Brighton & Hove and the surrounding areas.

Finding accommodation as a student with dependants can take several weeks. There are temporary places you can stay alone while you search. You must have secured your family accommodation before starting your course at Sussex.

If you are an international student, do not bring dependants to the UK with you until permanent accommodation is secured. Find out more about bringing your family with you to the UK. 

Tips for renting in the private sector

Sussex student Abira explains the main things to consider when looking for somewhere to live, especially if you’re thinking of bringing family with you.

View video transcript.

Where to look

Do an online search for family-sized properties in the first instance. You can search for properties of different sizes and price ranges to see what is available for your budget. Make sure you filter by properties to rent (not buy) and de-select the option for student properties as this will generate results for student house-shares rather than family homes.

Some suggested sites to search include:

We would strongly recommend getting in touch directly with letting agents to ask about properties they have available, as not all are advertised on these sites. This will also allow you to sign up to a letting agent’s mailing list to be notified when a property matching your needs becomes available. You can read reviews for agencies via Google reviews.

Don’t forget to ask letting agents about their policies for international renters with children and guarantor schemes for international students.

Property types and sizes

There are a number of different property types in the local area, ranging from studio flats to houses. Keep in mind the number of people who will be occupying the property and the property size. It may not always be possible for occupants to share rooms, so you may need to look for a larger property. This can affect your budget and possible council tax payments.

Viewing a property

We recommend viewing at least three different properties and considering other towns outside the Brighton & Hove area, which may offer properties at a cheaper rent.

When viewing, you can follow our tips and download a checklist of questions to ask and see specific advice for what to ask while looking for a home for you and your family.

Temporary accommodation

When you start searching for, or viewing properties (without your dependants), there are several places you can stay while looking for permanent accommodation.

Budget and upfront costs

Rental prices can vary so it is really important to research current rates as you start your search for a property. Brighton & Hove is one of the most expensive cities in the UK, and East and West Sussex are both also well above national average prices for rental properties. You can check prices using the websites suggested above.

Before you come to the University you must understand the cost of renting in Sussex. You also need a realistic budget. You will need to provide evidence to any landlord or letting agent that you can afford the rent for the entire period of the tenancy and many will require the full 12-months’ rent, or a portion of the rent, in advance to secure a property. Find out more about paying rent as an international student.

Guideline monthly costs are about:

  • £1,300 upwards, for a two-bedroom apartment
  • £1,800 upwards, for a three-bedroom apartment or house
  • £2,100 upwards, for a four-bedroom house.

Factors that affect the price include:

  • the location
  • whether a property is unfurnished or furnished
  • whether utility bills are included or not.

Tip: Don’t budget for the cheapest option as properties of this price are rare and it could limit the number of properties you are considered for. Instead, take the median price and use that as a starting point for your monthly rental budget. 

Rent is typically charged per calendar month. You and your landlord/letting agent will agree a date for the rent to be paid each month. If you are paying via standing order, you should transfer funds two to three days prior to your rent due date each month in case of banking delays.

You will be expected to pay at least your first month of rent in advance of moving in.


You may be expected to pay a holding deposit and/or a security deposit as part of your upfront costs. Find out more about deposits.

Living costs

Before taking on a property, your monthly living costs will need to be considered so that you can be confident that you can afford the property and support your family. Costs to consider include rent, utility bills, council tax, wi-fi, childcare, travel, food, clothing and toiletries, hobbies and clubs and any academic materials/books.

University of Sussex students have access to Blackbullion, a free online platform that provides money advice and helps to plan weekly or monthly budgeting. You can also see who to speak to if you have financial or cost-of-living worries.


You will most likely be asked to have a guarantor. This is someone who agrees to pay any costs that tenants are supposed to but for some reason do not. These include rent, bills and damages.

Usually, the guarantor will not just be responsible to pay for each tenant’s individual share but the whole amount owed.

Read more about guarantors when signing a tenancy or get advice about guarantors for private renters by the charity Shelter.

Deciding to rent a property

If you decide you want to rent a property:

  • if you are sent bank details by email to transfer money to, check verbally with the landlord or agent that these details are correct before transferring money
  • always ask your landlord for a copy of any tenancy agreement to take away to have checked before you agree to sign it
  • make sure your landlord has protected your deposit in a Government-approved deposit protection scheme
  • when moving into a new property, take time to thoroughly check the inventory and make sure that it matches the condition of the property.

Moving in

You should arrange a date and time to meet the landlord or letting agent on the first day of your tenancy to be inducted to the property and receive keys from them. Find out more about what to do on moving day.

Getting advice

If you have any questions during your accommodation search and would like some advice, our private sector housing team (based in Housing Services) can help, however they will not be able to find accommodation for you and your family.

It is your responsibility to budget for your family accordingly before bringing them to Sussex, then take all steps required to secure a property on the rental market.

Other support

Find out more about living with your family at Sussex or bringing your family to the UK if you are an international student.

See more from Living in private sector housing